We were first introduced to the International Day of Friendship in 2011 by the UN “working to promote kindness and togetherness every July” Greeting cards were introduced by Hallmark in the 1930’s and took center stage. To this day, many acknowledge their special relationships with a card or note. We know from research that friendship and kindness is good for our mental health, both when we give it and when we receive it, so we wanted to take the opportunity to mark this day.
For us, this meant extending the hand of friendship nearer home, by sharing time with our valued peer supporters and volunteers.
With face to face meetings out, we used the now-familiar Zoom meeting online to get together properly for the first time since restrictions came to be in place.
The invitees said they were happy to be there and were ready to go, with their preferred beverage (and a biscuit or two!) in hand.
We saw some familiar faces and had a brief chat about what the day meant to each of us, and why we thought it was important to us. A common theme was how the difference between us was of small importance when we all had to face the Covid pandemic together.
Our shared chat came around to our own experiences at home, of keeping well, asking each other about how each of us had experienced lockdown, the people we missed the most and the impact of the pandemic on what we were able to achieve.
The peer supporters and volunteers talked openly about this and how they had found it being at home.
Despite the difficulties we faced, and are facing now as we gradually ease out of lockdown, we all agreed that sometimes events take you to somewhere you never expected to be, and this could be a positive thing even if at the time it often doesn’t feel like it.