The Community Wellbeing event brought together TWCP staff and steering group members, staff and volunteers from the Red Cross, local residents, and health and wellbeing professionals to listen and comment on related topics. The event also provided an opportunity for a general update on TWCP and the Red Cross’s work for interested residents and partners. It was particularly beneficial that the event consisted of a good mixture of different groups and organizations, which reflected the diversity of the Thames Ward and wider Barking area.
Lai Ogunsola introduced the theme of ‘the new normal, working from home and the importance of social connections’ within the context of lockdown and social isolation. The discussion extended to the wider group and practical examples were shared with regard to how people cared for their mental health.
The evening continued with a recital from local spoken word performer Romeo Murisa and a music set by TWCP Co-Chair and DJ Josiah. The spoken word piece was biographic and touched upon many self-reflective themes evoked by the pandemic, social isolation and offered some thoughts on wellbeing. The music set was a light-hearted compilation of the participants favourite songs that had been shared during the introductions earlier.
Participants were then able to choose from a selection of four breakout room sessions: the first led by award winning artist Laura from At Gallery CIC who presented the work of Joshua Lance focusing on the importance of art in health; the second breakout room was led by Natalia from Early Years Cocoon and was centered on simple exercises to deal with uncertainty in our lives; the third room was led by Amtul from Community Health Champions to promote Health Champions, Covid-19 vaccinations and mental health; the last breakout room was led by Katherine from the British Red Cross, which was about building resilience and wellbeing, where themes of engagement, awareness and cooperation were considered, in order to build community to prevent disaster.
Opportunity was given to share clubs and social groups with each other to widen options for safe social interactions during and after lockdown. Links were shared to activities such as: LBBD volunteering opportunities, local artists’ work, community hubs such as the Bromley By Bow Centre, early years support, TWCP events and health groups, links to events on black leadership, relevant articles, music, digital classes for adults, wellbeing and loneliness support, and sports clubs.
Participants who spoke up during the event stated that they enjoyed the workshop as a fun, interactive forum to engage with relevant local issues.