Our third guest blogger, Rachel Green – Director of The Ripple, reflects on taking on new roles to meet need in the pandemic.

The last 3 months at the Ripple has been like watching an acoustic set of your favourite band.  Without the usual layers of backing tracks, music editing and smoke we have been stripped bare.  Without the usual ‘chatter’ of plans, policies or conferences, meetings and consultation events we have been left exposed.

And what we at the Ripple have been left with is no surprise.  We are working within communities and alongside people who do not have access to basic human needs. Food, sleep, security of resources, family, respect, lack of prejudice.

What we have done in the past few months has not been our ‘normal’ job, our purpose, our responsibility – but then who’s was it? 

We have delivered meals, made food parcels, bought top up cards for phones.  We have created ‘jobs’ such as writing postcards so that one person could see one person once a week.  We have cycled with people who called us late at night and it kept them going for another day.  We bought a microwave for a son who died two days later.  We have paid rent, we have bought someone a bike, we have asked someone to paint our walls, so they have a reason to get up in the morning.  We have done these things because this is what people told us they needed.  They told us because they trust us, they know us, and we know them.

We haven’t had our usual amount of time or energy to navigate the structures, or find the right person, or department to make phone calls.  To try and sort out crisis loans, to help people sort out their rent arrears or their PIP.  We have washed people’s clothes rather than reminding relatives to wash them.  We have called GP’s and then gone to the pharmacy to pick up the tablets the person should have had rather than the ones they asked for because they’re confused.

We have been able to do this because the additional funding we have received has allowed me to.  It has allowed me to do this by contributing to my organisations core costs and it has allowed me to do this because I have been able to actually buy things and not just pay staff salaries.  It has allowed me to do this because I haven’t had to fill out a thirty-page application form to disproportionately justify my organisation’s worth, track record, achievements and successes, outcomes and numbers.  In this new stripped out world it has been done respectfully, trusting me to know what our community needs and valuing my organisation’s contribution. The acoustic set has been hard to watch but I would rather stay in this place and get the set right, than go back to the one that uses backing tracks and smoke to make it look pretty.

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