How are you doing? – our latest newsletter

It’s a strange time for us all… So we thought we’d check in with you and share how we’re coping during this coronavirus pandemic.

We hope you’re beginning to find a new normal in the craziness and are accessing all the support you need to get you through this outbreak. We’ve been working from home and using online platforms to keep in touch – often sporting a more relaxed ‘lockdown look’ in meetings than we have at work!

We thought we’d check in with you now to let you know some important information for problems you might be facing and also share with you some of the things we’ve been doing to help us through the lockdown.

Keep safe and well,

Michael, Shamsher, Kat and Jo.

Self-isolating and need support?

We’ve known the importance of community spirit for a long time, so it’s fantastic to see so many people coming together to support each other in the current crisis.

If you’re self-isolating and don’t have anyone to check up on you or to get food and medicines to your door, don’t worry. There are lots of organisations ready and keen to help you.

See support for:

Witnessing or experiencing an increase in hate?

You may be well aware that the Chinese and Asian communities have been experiencing a marked rise in hate incidents as a result of COVID-19.

If you have experienced this, please remember that you are not alone, there are organisations ready to support you and that even if you think the police are busy with other issues right now, it is still important to report it.

If you witness a hate incident against someone else, it is equally important that you report what happened and support the victim, from a safe distance of course.

You can find more information on what a hate crime is, how to report it and support you can access by clicking on the button below.

Considering volunteering?

Of course, it goes without saying that we think volunteering is a great way to help your community and make the days in lockdown go faster – from delivering food for your local food bank to making phonecalls for the NHS volunteer army.

This is not appropriate or possible for everyone though and we just want to reinforce that this is also okay. Volunteering takes many forms anyway – it can be something as simple as giving your self-isolating relative a weekly call or looking out for your elderly neighbour.

If you just want to feel like you’re doing something to help others, our community-based See, Report, Support message (above) might give you a few ideas.

Coping with lockdown

So you’ve got everything in place to deal with lockdown but you just need to stop feeling like every day is groundhog day?

Of course, if you’re struggling with your mental health there are many support networks to help but if it’s just some light relief you need, maybe one of our team’s recommendations can help…

What we’re reading

“Postmodernism for Beginners by Richard Appignansi and Chris Garatt because I’ve never got my head around the whole postmodernism thing and I thought now might be a good time to find out about it.”

“Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo is set in the slums in Mumbai. It’s brilliantly written and reminds me of my journey through India many years ago.”

“Inside Game Outside Game Writing Strategies for Saving Urban America by David Rusk. I bought it about 18 years ago after visiting Richmond, Virginia. Although I’d flicked through several chapters over the years, it’s great to have the time to read it properly. When I’ve finished it, I’ll probably read some lighthearted fiction. “

“I’m trying to complete some of the larger work projects I started last year, so when I have a moment, I read Copywriting made simple: How to write powerful and persuasive copy by Tom Albrighton and Social media for social good: A how-to guide for nonprofits by Heather Mansfield. 

What we’re watching

Moone Boy (Sky/Now TV), based on the childhood of actor and comedian Chris O’Dowd. It’s hilarious and quite familiar to me!”

Inside No. 9 (Netflix/IPlayer) by the people who did League of Gentlemen. It’s so funny and a great escape from all the stress.”

Kat: “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness (Netflix). It’s a documentary following the life of Joe Exotic, a quirky zookeeper, and it’s quite unbelievable – you couldn’t make it up!”

How we’re relaxing

“I make the most of my one daily exercise. I started a couch to 10k programme, which I alternate with walks by the river.” 

“I’m doing a 1,000 piece jigsaw but it started to stress me out as I’m not convinced that I have all the pieces!”

I relax by either going for a short walk (obviously sticking to social distance guidelines)  and by reading a book.

“I do a lot of creative writing already, especially poetry, and I’ve been spending more time on that. Poetry has become more popular than ever recently and there’s lots of poems and poetry workshops available online.”

(Find out more about Jo’s creative writing at

You need more?!

If you manage to get through all our suggestions and are still looking for things to do, how about accessing the many free videos, interviews and information downloads we have on our website?

Here’s a few to start you off:

WATCH our interview with Matthew Todd, author and former editor of Attitude Magazine on his book about Pride and his views on hate crime against the LGBTQ community.

READ our latest Dialogue Debrief (No. 9) on the problems we face from the rise of the far-right narrative and how we can tackle it.

LISTEN to local writers Bridie Squires’ and Shreya Sen Handley’s poems on why we should all stand up to hate.

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