Life has inevitably slowed down for most of us during Lockdown and it has given us a chance to reflect. For the final week of our Well-Being and Positivity campaign we are focusing on ‘Gratitude, Appreciation and a Silver Lining’.
The pandemic is unprecedented and has caused an upheaval in our normal way of life. For some of us we are getting used to the ‘new normal’ and finding the positives within it. Whilst there has been loss and sadness, there have also been positive things to come out of the pandemic.
The pandemic has a silver lining - it has given us the possibility of shifting our mindset and behaviour. We have seen how our planet can thrive in our absence and therefore it might encourage us all to live more consciously and take better care of the planet.
It might also encourage us to take better care of ourselves. Without the regularities of normal life there has been time and space to reflect and find gratitude and appreciation in life. We have had time to reflect on who we are, and society, life and the people around us. There has been more time to think. With our normal way of life we had taken away due to Lockdown, we can reflect on what we used to enjoy and will one day enjoy again – perhaps a coffee in a café with a friend, going to the gym or round to a friend’s house for a catch up.
You may realise what you appreciate about Lockdown. This might be being with family or video calling friends, spending more time with your children, or finishing the books you never got around to reading. It might be time spent in the garden, or mediating and doing yoga. Whatever it is, for many there has been time to appreciate and find gratitude in these acts.
Some suggestions of ways to find gratitude and appreciation are to be proactive and look for small moments of happiness each day. You might take a photo of things that make you happy, or take some time to reflect on everything you appreciated at the end of the day. You might look for the good in others - and there has been plenty of this during Lockdown. Communities have come together to help one another and charities are still fighting for their causes.
We are coming to the end of our Well-Being and Positivity campaign and we hope you have enjoyed it as much as we have. It is a difficult time for us all but we hope this campaign has brought you joy and positivity. As J.K. Rowling says, ‘Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light’.
This week, take time to find gratitude, appreciation and a silver lining. We would love to hear about the silver linings you have found during the pandemic. Leave a comment on our Facebook page or tweet us at @peacepartners_ and use the hashtags #PeacePositivityWellBeing #LetsFocusThePositive #PeacePartnersSilverLining
It's Volunteers' Week!
According to new research 10 million adults have been volunteering in their community during the Coronavirus outbreak and most say that they will carry on when the lockdown ends. The impact and importance of volunteering is evident.
Peace Partners would like to thank our incredible volunteers who continue to go the extra mile to support our work and make a difference to the lives of many individuals across the UK and around the world. The team are currently helping to secure funding to support vulnerable people in the society, working with Foodbanks to continue to provide vital supplies, and assisting international frontline work during COVID-19. This month our team has produced many heartfelt and peaceful projects to inspire wellbeing, including poetry and children’s activities. We have also hosted our first virtual Peace Education Programme. We would like to say a massive thank you to our team for all of their passionate work and dedication.
Thank you to our trustees who work hard in the background, guiding our team and projects: To ensure that the charity stays focussed on our main goal of raising awareness, improving knowledge and developing expertise in order to increase sustainability in water, air and food solutions, leading to individual peace.
Would you like to volunteer with us?
To find out more please see our current opportunities here. We look forward to hearing from you.
.Author: Louise Ingham
Life moves fast - it can be too easy to rush through only seeing a never ending cycle of to do
lists and worries. Finding a moment of stillness to reflect can seem difficult but it is so
rewarding. This week we are focusing on how we can all stay centred and calm with the
theme of Feeling Peaceful During Lockdown.
Lockdown has brought many additional strains upon us. We are bombarded with constant
news updates which can be stressful and scary. We have been confined indoors with no
normal freedom of movement or socialisation. Many parents have been trying to balance
full time jobs with schooling children from home. It has been a stressful time for everyone,
especially key workers and their loved ones.
Therefore, this week Peace Partners wants to look at ways we can all stay centred, calm
and peaceful during lockdown.
It is important that we look after ourselves both physically and mentally. One suggestion of how to do this is to practice mindfulness and mediation. Mindfulness can help you pay more attention to the present moment and your feelings and so improve your mental wellbeing and help you find peace.
Mediation has been proven to increase blood flow and energy and to reduce stress and
feelings of anxiety, depression, anxiety, anger and confusion. If this is something you might
be interested in trying there are plenty of YouTube videos that provide guided meditations
as well as apps such as Calm and Headspace.
Yoga is a wonderful way to help you achieve a peaceful body and mind. It connects you to
your body and breathing and often combines mediation and practices of self-love and
gratitude. Since we cannot attend yoga classes at the moment if you would like to try yoga
there are lots of free phone apps with yoga classes or videos on yoga. The 30 day challenge
Yoga with Adrienne on YouTube is very popular.
Other suggestions on ways to feel peace during lockdown is to exercise or take walks in
nature, be creative and take up new hobbies such as cross stitch or playing an instrument.
You could also take part in the Peace Education Programme, a The Prem Rawat Foundation
initiative: www.tprf.org. The programme provides a focus for exploring your own inner
resources such as appreciation, choice and inner strength and the opportunity to discover
personal peace. Check it out here: www.peacepartners.co.uk/peace-education-uk. Plans are underway for Peace Partners to host this course virtually, via videoconferencing. Interested? Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This week, we hope you stop to find a moment of stillness to find some inner peace. We
would love to hear any ways that you are finding to feel peaceful during lockdown. Leave a
comment on our Facebook page or tweet us at @peacepartners_ and use the hashtags
#FeelingPeaceful #PeacePositivityWellBeing #LetsFocusOnPositivityandWellbeing
How Covid-19 Has Had a Positive Impact on the Environment
The environment is getting a much needed break at the moment, and our theme of this week’s Wellbeing and Positivity campaign is ‘Our Environment Is Thriving Right Now’.
While everyone around the world is working together in the fight against the coronavirus, the planet is recuperating. The Climate Crisis is a huge challenge to our future and it seems the world is finally taking notice. We have seen rallies across the world urging more to be done to protect our planet, including Extinction Rebellion and the inspirational Greta Thunberg, speaking on behalf of the next generation.
The corona virus has seen a dramatic drop in travel and activity and as a result the environment is improving. With less traffic on the roads and airplanes in the skies, air pollution levels have dropped in the UK, China, Italy and all across the world. For the first time in decades, people in Indian can see the Himalayas in the distance.
It is not just the skies – the water is cleaner too. Venice’s canals have begun to run clear for the first time in many years due to the reduction in tourists and travel on the water ways. More fish and birds have returned to the canals, enjoying the space for themselves.
Other animals are enjoying having the run of the place, too. In Phuket, there is the highest number of turtle nests in the past 20 years and a herd of goats took over an empty town in Wales, pottering around gardens and across roads. Wild boars are roaming the streets in Barcelona and an alligator sunbathed on a deserted beach in South Carolina, US.
Whilst the environment is thriving, we too seem to be thriving in the great outdoors. It is wonderful to see so many people enjoying nature and going walking and cycling (all properly socially distancing of course.) It has been the perfect time to get into gardening and watch bees, butterflies and birds enjoy the garden. Charities are continuing to do their part, too. Conservation groups around the UK are still fighting to restore habitats and improve biodiversity.
It is wonderful to see the planet thriving in our absence. It is heartening to know that with a little breathing room the planet can start to heal and flourish.
Once we are over this battle with coronavirus, it is likely travel and pollution will increase. It is important that we all remember the positive impact we had on the environment during this time. Together, we can all focus on keeping this positivity and love for the planet, even when life speeds up again.
This week, keep the environment at the forefront of your mind. We would love to hear about how you have been enjoying nature or helping the environment during lockdown. Leave a comment on our Facebook page or tweet us at @peacepartners_ and use the hashtags #PeacePositivityWellBeing #LetsFocusOnPositivityAndWellbeing
A little kindness goes a long way, especially during such uncertain times. This is why Peace Partners have chosen to start the Wellbeing and Positivity campaign with the theme of The Power of Love and Kindness. Helping others is beneficial for everyone. Love and kindness will not only support those around you but it will also improve your own wellbeing. It can have a hugely positive impact – it can combat fear and make us all feel a little less alone.
It has been proven that being kind and taking positive action is good for our mental health. These loving acts reduce stress and can activate the ‘pleasure centre’ of the brain. Hugging your loved ones is great for your health too; it produces Oxytocin - the ‘love hormone’ – and helps to bond us together. Even though we might not be able to see or hug loved ones right now, Dr Michelle Sands suggested some wonderful hug alternatives. Hugging or petting a pet produces the same hormones - what a great excuse to allow the dog to sleep on the bed!
Listening to music and finding ways to be creative can also effectively relieve stress. There are so many different ways to be kind. They can be the smallest of actions, or the largest. You could drop food round to a vulnerable neighbour, call a friend who is struggling or donate to a charity. Online #ViralKindness Facebook groups have been created to spread care and kindness in communities.
It is also vital that you are kind to a very important person right now – you. We suggest that you take time for yourself doing things that make you happy, whatever they may be. That might be doing yoga, reading, watching your favourite show or gardening.
This week is also Mental Health Awareness Week and The Mental Health Foundation has chosen kindness as their theme. Our mental health and wellbeing is always important but even more so right now. The pandemic is making it more difficult for those struggling with their mental health. It can be scary when there is so much change, isolation and uncertainty. But love and kindness can help us come through this. It is normal to feel anxious right now and it can help to share your worries with people you trust.
The world feels uncertain right now and it is only natural to feel worried. Peace Partners wants to be there for our supporters during this time and provide some positivity to help everyone cope a little easier. We are happy to announce that we are launching a Peace and Positivity campaign this month; we want to focus on the idea of new beginnings and lightness, even when the world seems a little dark.
Over the next month we will be posting a couple of times a week to this page. Our posts will focus on three themes: Wellbeing, Peace and Environment. We know there are so many contributing factors to supporting your wellbeing so we have selected a few themes we believe are important and will be focusing on these.
The campaign kicks off on 18th May and this week it will address the themes of The Power of Love and Kindness. We will be looking at how love and kindness can have a positive effect on those around us and ourselves too, especially now.
Keep an eye out for videos, recordings, articles, photos and much more. We will be including material from all over the world; sharing positivity worldwide during the pandemic. There should be something for everyone to enjoy! Please do leave your comments and feedback – we would love to hear how you are getting on.
Peace Partners hopes you will enjoy our Peace and Positivity campaign. We hope that you will laugh, feel inspired to make positive changes and continue to support.
Written by: Sean Morrissey
The global outbreak of coronavirus has changed the way we define community, for now. Many of the traditional fundraising channels have all but dried up, as regularly scheduled events and social gatherings are wiped off the calendar in accordance with social distancing guidelines. These fundraising events are about more than philanthropy; it is a chance to shake hands and share ideas with likeminded, charitable people and to show our greater appreciation for the important work they carry out every day.
But we have also seen, over these last few months, a tremendous outpouring of support and solidarity from communities around the world. The hashtag #alonetogether continues to circulate the globe, as the clang of pots and pans are heard from neighbouring doorsteps each evening to celebrate the brave work of our health care professionals.
The year has certainly brought out our better angels; from Alibaba CEO Jack Ma’s donation of 5.4 million masks to the whole of Africa, to Captain Tom Moore’s incredible one-man fundraising campaign which, at time of writing, has raised more than £30 million for the National Health Service. The story of then 99-year-old “Captain Tom”, who pledged to walk 100 laps around his garden in support of the NHS before his 100th birthday, stands as an inspiration to us all in our ability to make a change.
This Tuesday 5th May, the world comes together for #GivingTuesdayNow in support of charities impacted by coronavirus and to recognise the tireless work of all those on the frontlines, from medical staff to public transport workers.
There are a myriad ways to show your support this giving Tuesday, here are a few:
This coming Tuesday, Peace Partners encourage our friends and supporters to go one step further and share their support and solidarity by starting your own #GivingTuesdayNow Facebook Fundraiser. All funds raised through your Facebook fundraisers will directly support Peace Partners’ coronavirus response partnerships with The Trussell Trust and St Mungo’s .
To help you create a successful Facebook fundraiser we’ve developed a ‘How-to-Guide’ and range of supporting images. Click the file at the end of this article to download.
Now more than ever, we have an opportunity to stand united in our support of community groups and caseworkers, of area food banks and homeless shelters. Together we can make history, with gifts of gratitude and hope around the world this #GivingTuesdayNow.
Written by: Louise Ingham
Today we are celebrating the 50th annual World Earth Day!
The theme for this year is Climate Action. Climate change is one of the biggest challenges to humanity, wildlife and the planet and we all need to work together to combat it. Due to COVID-19, Earth Day has organised plenty of digital events through their website, visit www.earthday.org to get involved.
Here at Peace Partners we are focusing on how to keep positive and maintain our wellbeing during this challenging time. Despite the many difficulties and losses the crisis has brought, there have been noticeable benefits to the environment. We have seen significant drops in air pollution and carbon emissions across the world, due to decreased travel and industrial production.
In addition, the air and water is becoming cleaner and there have been surprising wildlife sightings, in places where they haven’t been seen in decades. For example, dolphins in the Venice canals and deer roaming the streets of East London.
There are plenty of ways you can help the environment from home and celebrate World Earth Day this year. Practical work that has a positive impact can be fantastic for improving your well-being. Simple things can help such as letting your grass grow wild in your garden – this encourages wildflower growth and protects wildlife that might live in your garden, such as dormice. and newts. You can put out bird food to help the bird population thrive, or place some moss and water into a bowl to provide a drink to the busy bees. Eating more vegetarian meals whilst at home can also have a hugely positive impact on reducing carbon emissions.
As Earth Day celebrates its 50th anniversary, and with millions practising social distancing, we celebrate the resilience of the environment and its capacity for recovery.
With whole countries going into isolation, we have seen some uplifting developments in the major areas affected by mass tourism: the Himalayas are visible for the first time in decades thanks to a drop in air pollution, the waters in the canals of Venice are at their clearest without boats crowding them daily, and closer to home UK lockdown has resulted in an air pollutants dropping significantly.
The fight for equal access to clean air, water and nourishing food is more essential than ever, to ensure that more positive changes can be registered in time for 51st Earth Day in 2021.
Written by: Sean Morrissey
The news of late is pretty grim. You wake up every morning to the TV over tea and toast to news that’s solely focused on coronavirus. You comb your hair, you brush your teeth, you make a plan for yet another day in isolation - but it’s okay. You call a friend, walk the dog, and otherwise abide by all social distancing guidelines, after all your home is the safest place to be.
However, not everyone is so fortunate to wake up in the warm bed of a safe home. An example of a typical story is someone like Davy - who didn’t always sleep rough but he does now. In fact, not so many months ago, Davy woke up every morning in his modest one-bedroom, fit for Davy and his partner to afford on a retail wage. Things were tight but they made it work until they couldn’t and as the relationship dissolved so too did Davy’s home security. He would spend the next several weeks hopping around local hostels, commuting to and from work until the cost of his stay outpaced the money coming in. Overwhelmed, he took leave from work and has been living rough through most of 2020; just one of the more than 4,200 people sleeping on the streets of London every night.
The challenges besetting rough sleepers, be it the need for personal safety or disease prevention, are well understood and have been further exacerbated by the outbreak of coronavirus across the UK. Recent research published through WPI economics finds that while rough sleeping throughout London alone has increased by more than 150% since 2010, related funding for homelessness aid has been cut by £1 billion annually (read the WPI 'Home for Good' briefing below).
With millions self-isolating at home, limiting outdoor time and activity, rough sleepers like Davy go without refuge, increasing their risk of exposure to this highly contagious disease. There is also added concern that, as many rough sleepers make periodic use of group homes and community hostels, overcrowding will invariably clash with NHS social distancing guidelines.
As a leading voice for human rights and one of the largest homelessness charities in the UK, St. Mungo’s dedicated volunteer network is working tirelessly to provide safe means of self- isolation and medical care to those in need. At the time of writing, St Mungo’s outreach teams have placed more than 600 individuals into self-isolating spaces, providing a safe and stable foundation from which to explore options for long-term accommodation.
These figures are a testament to the brave men and women at St. Mungo’s who are working around the clock to protect the most vulnerable members of our community. With our support, they can continue to help provide the means necessary to safely house and care for those experiencing homelessness. There is an immediate need to assist individuals in harm’s way, and help them on a path toward permanent housing. The end goal remains the same, by empowering individuals back into a life of dignity and to protect them from harm.
Your support of St. Mungo’s, through Peace Partners’ fundraising appeals not only serves the immediate needs of outreach teams during the crisis, but provides a foundation on which to build a new future.
Read the WPI 'Home for Good' briefing:
Written by: Sean Morrissey
“I just never thought I’d see something like that here”, he says, “shelves are just naked, you know? Just gone, like they can’t keep up with demand.” He stops. “Never seen anything like it before in my life.” Mark, Food Bank volunteer
A barman by trade, Mark spends a good deal of his free time walking in nearby Wandle Park and working as a warehouse volunteer for his local Croydon food bank. He sees first-hand the impact of coronavirus on vulnerable people.
These wide-scale panic purchases, while disturbing, do have a way of settling back into the familiar, and often sooner than later. As the UK settles back into a relatively familiar routine, we are starting to see the ongoing effects of food shortages and panic buying across the UK food bank network. Food banks across the UK have been forced to reconcile their diminishing stock, leaving many to pay for the difference. For example, the North Paddington food bank, whose donation rate is down 25% in the wake of coronavirus, reported spending an additional £200 each week to cover the needs of vulnerable local families.
At a time when millions are self-isolating at home, or otherwise unable to secure the means they need to feed their family, now more than ever we must ensure that food banks across the UK are able to provide a fully reliable service to their clients. With the UK’s largest network of food banks, The Trussell Trust is leading the fight against food scarcity during this delicate period, garnering vital support from local merchants, like minded charities and community leaders.
Thankfully, organisations like Tesco and XTX Markets have pledged generous sums to mitigate the drought in donations, while members of British Gas will be providing door-to-door parcel delivery for vulnerable clients. These are incredible gestures to be sure, but the unprecedented demands that are facing area food banks cannot survive on corporate charity alone.
Your support of The Trussell Trust, through donations to the Peace Partners fundraising drive extends far beyond the immediate needs of recipients, providing much needed financial support for months to come.