As the Digital Coordinator at Age UK Cornwall and team lead on Cornwall Link, my world revolves around digital. It’s not surprising that many others feel the same, too, with social media being an ever-present part of our lives. As the lockdown heads into its fifth week, we have relied even more on digital to connect with others, find out crucial information about the COVID-19 services in Cornwall and feel a sense of belonging within our community. It has been remarkable to see the wealth and strength of community ties during this devastating pandemic and how digital can be a lifeline, as well as a complementary tool to vital services across Cornwall. I continue every day to get involved in conversations with community leaders via email, Zoom chats and social media. I help people spread the message of their goodwill via a purpose-built platform. I see new volunteers offer their help in charities, including our own and a significant number of people rally together to support their community with kind words and well wishes.
But, as we celebrate World Book Night, I want to encourage people to pick up the book that’s been waiting on your bookshelf to be opened. I have found strength, resilience and ideas from books, ever more poignant with life in lockdown. On my evenings, I turn off the laptop, the TV and put the mobiles (yes- three!) on mute, so that I can enjoy an hour or two of silence to gather my thoughts and recharge. My brain focuses on the words in the books. It has been my saving grace through this turbulent time. I have laughed, cried and found inspiration, all in the words that would have remained left on the shelf for many months - years even - collecting dust, if the lockdown hadn’t occurred.
I want to implore people to do the same, to find comfort in stories. On World Book Night, I want to open the floor to my story-loving neighbours across Cornwall:
- What books are you reading?
- Are there any books you’ve neglected at home that you might give them a go now?
- Do you know of any resources that can help people access ebooks that we can add to our resource page?
- What books would you recommend, and why? Share them via #ConnectedCornwall on Facebook or Twitter to let people know.
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Alternatively, connect with us on Cornwall Link: https://cornwall-link.madeopen.co.uk/profile/CornwallLinkDigital
Lastly, and most importantly, I want to share stories happening around Cornwall on Cornwall Link’s community blog- just like I have shared mine - so that many can share in your experiences, have those relatable moments and feel less alone. I want to share stories on here that inspire others or show how you have connected or helped others in your village or town. It is through stories that we learn, grow and heal. If we can do that together, we work to tackle social isolation - one chip at a time.
Digital doesn’t always have to be action; it can also be a space for reflection.