Branching out to generations via telephone trees

Generations are being brought together in Suffolk village communities in a show of unity throughout the coronavirus pandemic.  Churches throughout the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich are using creative approaches to reach members of their communities ranging from food parcels and prayer trees to livestreaming worship services.

One community, part of the North Samford Benefice, has connected the youngest members of the generation to the older generation thanks to telephone trees.

The Revd Annette Shannon, Rector of the North Samford Benefice comprising six villages south-west of Ipswich, said: “Before the lockdown, we ran a regular toddler group for the benefice for mums, followed by an afternoon tea for the older members of the community.  When lockdown happened, the mums started calling up the older generation who mainly live alone to see how they could help.  The children have painted and drawn pictures to post through their letterboxes to cheer them up.”

Annette added: “The older members of the community have been getting involved by setting challenges for the children to take part in – whether it’s baking biscuits, painting, or making a spider out of a cardboard box.  Pictures of their creations are then shared on our Facebook page in return for a certificate and a little present such as stickers or a tattoo transfer. Those older members of the community who are on Facebook have been thrilled to see some of the creations and be even more involved. It has been wonderful to see how this community outreach project has flourished.  Everyone talks about how powerful social media is in allowing everyone to keep in touch, but if you’re not on it and rely on phone calls, then the telephone tree is a really important way of reaching out.”

As well as the telephone tree, people in the North Samford Benefice have created parcels of soaps to distribute to those who are isolating, the knit and natter group have been making headbands for face masks and villagers have agreed to light a candle and all pray at 10am every day.

The Revd Shannon also knitted several rainbows to hang on a tree at the end of her drive so passers-by could take one. “Parents and children have taken the rainbows and replaced them with artwork or their own rainbow creations,” she added. “My tree has become a beautiful work of art.”

Picture caption: Daisy Preecey with one of the knitted rainbows. Credit: Amy Preecey.

Thursday 14th May 2020

Page last updated: Thursday 11th June 2020 2:55 PM
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