Pearl-like eggs lay on a leaf
Moonlight sparkling on the dew beneath
As the sun rises in the sky small head emerges
by and by
Small and green with a bristly skin moving
quickly he starts tucking in
Leaving lacy patterned leaves swaying in the
Through the nicely ordered row he munches cabbages as he goes
He’s not the gardeners delight
He and his friends are considered a blight
But, this has no effect on him
He keeps on growing and tucking in
While sunny days are rolling by
He looks up to see a butterfly
‘Blimey,’ he says ‘just look at those wings
You’ll never get me up in one of those things’.
It’s a moving little story about a caterpillar but for me it has a more serious message, because if the caterpillar didn’t get into that thing it would never become what it is intended to be. It would never reach its potential.
My job for the churches is to work with and for the community and to assist them where appropriate to gain a better quality of life – to help them reach their potential, to start releasing some of their butterflies. And this is where Timebanking has proved a great resource. Timebanking was set up as a skills swap organisation – I do your decorating and someone can do my gardening, that sort of thing – but interestingly something else has happened. It seems to be able to help people who have been very isolated, lacking in confidence and self esteem, to blossom and flourish so that they can become part of the community and feel as if they are doing something worthwhile. Our work seems to dovetail so well.
Let me give you a few examples.
The churches run a charity shop in Newsome called the Together shop. We have over 60 volunteers involved in all sorts of tasks, from selling the goods, sorting them, making sure the shop is fully stocked to collecting donations and the window dressing. We have seen people grow and develop because it has alleviated loneliness and isolation for many who work there and also those who buy things.
It’s a bit of a chitter chatter shop because people who live alone will call in and have a chat, get things off their chest, have a bit of a laugh and go away smiling – it doesn’t really matter if they don’t buy, the main thing is they go away feeling better.
One of our volunteers is young lady who was introduced to us through Timebanking. She helps in the shop and the manager tells me that over the months she has been there she is more confident, she is so reliable and always on time and willing to do anything.
Every year we have a party to thank the volunteers for the time they give us and this young lady came this year. She hardly knew anyone there but she walked in, took her place at a table and enjoyed her supper. She laughed and sang along with the entertainer and do you know it’s not that long since I could only get a very shy “Hello” out of her. And I wonder, is her butterfly beginning to be released?
Every two weeks I help run a Social Dance for older people in Newsome. Here again we have been able to work together. Rachel Taylor, the Timebanking co-ordinator, has introduced us to several people who have attended the dance. One lady (who has a learning difficulty) started coming to help us wash up when we had had our cup of tea. She was so shy and reserved when she started. Her support worker even brought a pot towel to encourage her into the kitchen No such luck. She wants to dance and that’s what she does. She has a great time. Laughing, giving us hugs and telling us about where she is going on holiday. What a change in her!
About 18 months ago the churches and the community organised a weekend event at Newsome High School. The aim of the weekend was to celebrate all that is good in the Newsome area. It was a huge success with over 800 people attending. We saw friendships develop. Some of the people who helped hadn’t been involved in things for a long time. They gained in confidence, and wanted to get involved in other things and a real feeling of camaraderie grew.
We would have found it much more difficult to do the job if it hadn’t been for Timebanking. We had so many volunteers willing to help and make the event the success that it was. I have a lot to thank Timebanking for.
We have other projects in the pipeline and I look forward to sharing the work with Rachel but what I look forward to as well is seeing how people blossom when given the chance to do something that makes them feel useful and cared for.
So long may Timebanking reign and we work together to release many more butterflies.