Still Banging the Drum

Still here! Still doing the things and the stuff and juggling all the hats. Still banging the drum for getting busy by getting busy. Some of you have said that it helps you when I tell you what I’m doing, so I’m going to keep doing that for want of anything better to say at the moment. If it soothes you to know that someone is running around like a demented hamster on a wheel, good. If it inspires you, good. If it just gives you five minutes to sit down and not have to think about your own life, or the news, good.

One of the things that is really helping me target what I do is my community page on Facebook. I’m lucky in that I live in a very community minded (in the best way) area, where we still have local shops, local tradesmen and people are keen to keep it that way. There is a lot of investment by people who live here in the area they live in. The community page on Facebook encourages that. There is a constantly growing list of local tradesmen, local businesses are allowed to advertise (not too frequently), and people are always asking for advice on things like good bars and places to eat, etc. There are also posts that are more community action focussed. People making people aware if they’ve found a lost purse, or some keys etc, and bigger things like events, projects, etc. Don’t get me wrong, there are arguments and misunderstandings too, but the moderators are good at their job and keep the peace really well.

This week I’ve used the site to get feedback from people about how they feel about school nurse provision in the area for a meeting I have next week.  I’ve also picked up on a message from a friend whose PTA are looking for books to restock their local primary school library. That’s something I have experience of and can help with, so I was able to get back to her, and now, with very little effort on my part I can do something positive to directly benefit my community.

I’ve also been made aware of the potential closure of local playgrounds and serious cuts to funding for the ones that are not being closed. Someone is organising a protest. It’s in my diary. If I can go, I will. As it is, I’ve spread the word on my own Facebook feed so that other people in the city can see it if they haven’t, and they can start spreading the word.

So, if you want to do something, find out if you’ve got a community page and join it. It might well be 95% selling stuff from Ikea that seemed like a good idea at the time until you got it home and realised it wasn’t. We have that on our board too, but you can start posting ideas, questions, suggestions, and help change it into a valuable resource if it isn’t already. If it is, get in there, and see what you can do. If you haven’t got a group like that, why not start one?

I’ve probably mentioned it before, but I recently became a member of our local newspaper’s patient panel. We meet once a month to talk about and share stories that affect the health of the people in our city and county. We get to sit in on meetings with people who make decisions and press for changes where we feel things are not serving patients best. Some of the work we do goes into newspaper articles. A lot of it doesn’t because most of it is very boring and acronym festooned, but as ever, there is always the capacity to make change, and knowledge is power.

This week I have been preparing for a meeting we have next week with the Care Quality Commission to talk about the link between NHS care and social care. Basically, our job is to highlight and make the case for the stuff that falls through the cracks. At the moment this is just about everything. I can’t do everything though, so this week I’ve been looking at school nurses from the point of view of the nurses themselves, students and parents. I’ve also been looking into addiction and the services that are supposed to be there to support addicts, and finally dementia care, or the lack of.

You might think. Gosh, I couldn’t do any of that. I don’t know anything about that. Guess what? Me either. When I started our GP campaign in January I knew absolutely nothing at all about the NHS except how to go to the Dr and cry on their desk. Now I know a lot. I also know I need to know a lot more. I know about addiction because I used to be married to an addict (who has been clean for 20 years. Well done) I know about school nurses because a) I used to go to school and b) I now have children in school. I know nothing about dementia care except it is terrible. But I can find out.

Don’t let not knowing stop you from doing. Be cool with saying. ‘I don’t know, but I can find out.’ It’s amazing how far that gets you.  In the last two days I’ve learned a lot about social care in one way or another. Next week, when I go to the meeting I will be able to represent people who cannot go, and that will be a good thing. And I will undoubtedly learn a lot more, and I can take that learning back to the people I represent and help them learn a lot more too, so next time, our questions will be better, we will be more prepared, we will be one step nearer towards making the differences we want.

And on that note, I am interested in micro-lending sites like Kiva. I think I need to do a bit more research before I decide where to invest my money, so if someone has any experience of it either with Kiva or another body, please let me know in the comments.

And right now I’m not doing anything worthy. I’ve bought a fantastic picnic from my wonderful friend Simon at our local deli, and I’m going to load it into the car and hit the road with my great friend Alex and we’re driving to London to see a play and have a high old time. I can’t wait.

19 responses to “Still Banging the Drum

  1. Just started with lend with care lent 12 times £15 to entrepreneurs in developing countries seems legit so far will let you know how it goes enjoy your road trip

  2. Intrigued to see that hat juggling

  3. Where the heck do you get the energy!?!?😳😂

  4. Hi – good post Katy! Makes me want to do more! I’ve been lending via Kiva for a few years now. Seems like a very good thing to do: I just leave the money in the fund and re-lend it when it’s been repaid. Or almost repaid! Occasionally I’ve topped it up as the minimum you can lend is $25 and I haven’t wanted to wait until I had $25 in the paid back account! I’ve also given Kiva accounts (with $25 in the account) as Christmas presents. Haven’t had any defaults – seems to work well!

  5. Vis à vis your last paragraph: don’t kid yourself — you are doing something very worthy if you are buying food from a local supplier, supporting the arts, and replenishing your energy (not to mention your joie de vivre!). You are an inspiration, but even inspirations need a bit of down time. : )

  6. I don’t have direct experience of Kiva myself but do have a friend who invests there and also gives Kiva investment certificates as presents to her nieces and nephews. She thinks it is great. The only reason I haven’t done it is that when I went looking I couldn’t find a match for what I wanted to do, and then I forgot the name! Having been reminded I will make sure I do something before Christmas, a little Christmas gift of hope to someone, somewhere.

  7. Chris Boddington

    Can recommend Kiva, have been banding together with others to lend the equivalent of $25 Australian to women in out of the way countries to start a up business usually a small grocery or food shop. They have over the last two years all paid the loan back often a $ at a time.
    Heart warming stuff.

  8. I wouldn’t say that – supporting your local deli and patronising the arts are pretty worthy pursuits in my book 😉

    Our community facebook page is rather a mixed bag, which probably makes it fairly representative of the area come to think of it!
    We renamed it Buckingham Mutters due to the number of posts moaning about something or other (often road related) but in fairness there are positive posts too.

    Unfortunately some threads end up resembling a Trump rally and you start to understand how, back in the day, a number of them might have resorted to marching through the town with flaming pitchforks. The moderators do try to keep it as non confrontational and public spirited as possible but, between the people who like nothing better than to ‘name and shame’ anyone guilty of parking without due care and attention and those who have a very elastic notion of what constitutes matters of local interest, they can have their work cut out.
    You would think that (unlike most social media forums) the very real possibility of bumping into the person you are berating in Tesco would act as a moderating influence in it’s own right, but apparently not for some.

    It’s a measure of how divisive certain issues are (and why some of them are arguably not suitable for a community page, in my opinion) that when they allowed people to post about the referendum for the days immediately before and after the vote, I started to develop a profound dislike for certain strident leave supporters and would have gone to some lengths to avoid meeting them – in the interests of maintaining public order. Which is not particularly helpful when you run a local business….

    However it can be a force for good, plenty of people promoting local events and amenities, recommending tradespeople and businesses, giving advice to newcomers, supporting charities and local causes or just praising the town as a great place to live.
    Not to mention encouraging more people to report potholes and faulty street lights and press for new lane markings on THAT roundabout and find out who is responsible for cutting back the verges on the estates and debate the benefits of more double yellow lines/one way streets/free parking in the town centre….. well I did mention they are a bit obsessed with the roads round here 😀

  9. If you want any help in learning about dementia care, you have my email address and must feel free to ask. That and teenage onset epilepsy have been my two specialist subjects in recent years and we’ve had to be largely self-sufficient since the system hasn’t been much help on either front. Fortunately I’m the self-sufficient type but it’s been a lonely business racked with heartache, so I’m always keen to make it easier for others to navigate. x

    I enjoyed Gerry’s comments on his community Facebook page as it sounds just like mine….! 😂

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