*this is a paid post in partnership with The Big Thank You
I think there’s comfort to be found in the fact there’s not one of us who is experiencing nor facing this history making epidemic alone. When the world stutters to a stall, through our cabinet of differences, people are still there. Smiling. Laughing. Cooking. Reading. Exercising. Gaming. Creating. Conference Calling. Interacting. Working. Helping. Gifting. Rallying around the clock to keep us safe, to make our lives endurable and to conserve that morsel of normalcy in the unknown.
One thing we can all take away from the chaos is that human connection is integral to our wellbeing. More than ever before we’re appreciating the true value of unity; the purpose, the shelter and the faith it brings. Community is the heart of our country and together – bundling through the haze hand in hand with kindness and fortitude – we’ll overcome this new territory of challenges and find our compass.
As the days go on, I can feel my emotions on overdrive. Whether that be from a FaceTime call, a heartwarming anecdote, a rainbow on display, a light joke or a song designed to pick us up from a slump, an entertainment show played to boost our spirits, videos and messages of gratitude, news of donations given to those who need it most, and moving moments brought forth to applaud our phenomenal frontline grafters. It’s those undivided actions and the mobilising of mankind which are providing a splinter of hope and it’s that which shall keep me going.
When The Big Thank You got in touch to introduce me to their NHS campaign which celebrates all the incredible deeds carried out by the people of Leeds, I couldn’t say no at a time when uplifting positivity is the palliating plaster to the distended wound. The Big Thank You project began in winter 2018 to raise the morale of the seasonal saviours and it’s carried on to current times, to commend those who are going above and beyond to help others during the Coronavirus situation – and whilst wading through the submissions with love overflowing, I have never been prouder to be a born and bred citizen of such a wonderful, close-knitted city.
Standing on our doorsteps every Thursday with a lump in our throats to clap and whoop and bow down to our extraordinary health service guiding us through with their relentless support and commitment is a beautiful way to salute how lucky we are as a nation but The Big Thank You is an opportunity to say those two simple yet weighty words to all of our everyday unsung heroes and acknowledge charitable gestures from selfless individuals citywide. From key workers and essential and emergency workers of all types – carers, drivers, volunteers, supermarket staff, security, refuse collectors, postal workers, pharmacy assistants bringing medication to our doors, to friends, family, colleagues, neighbours, companies, strangers and anyone else you think deserves a big thanks for something they’ve done for you or for others. Afterall, our community as a whole plays a vital role in getting through it. Without humanity clubbing together and looking out for each other, we’d be a sinking ship in choppy waters.
I’d like to dedicate my Big Thank You to the people on my street. Young, old, new residents, long time habitants, neighbours of all nationalities and those I’ve never really spoken to before; a shared group was set up on Facebook in this time of need by a lovely lady named Nicola who I’ve known since I was a child and we’re now all on call for whenever anyone needs a favour or requires supplies. This week Nicola offered to order groceries for anyone who wanted some as she managed to get an Asda slot and another man left bottles of juice at the top of the street for people to collect. We’re also introducing our families, reminiscing on all the good times we’ve had over the years, and organising a street party for when we’re able to resume the ordinary life we’re so desperate to get back to. All it took was a click of a button but now we’re joining forces and providing that light in the darkness. A worthy Big Thank You for giving me and my loved ones such a warm sense of belonging!
The aim for the Big Thank You is to get 4000 Thank Yous by the end of May and that can only be done by virtually shouting from the rooftops about those who have made an impression during such unprecedented times. Thousands of people across Leeds go the extra mile to help others and it’s up to us to give them the credit and showcase this city for its collective community spirit and togetherness.
If you’d like to tip your hat to the notable actions of that certain someone, you can submit your Big Thank You via the website or share on social media with the hashtag #BigThanksLeeds where it will be added to the previously collected Thank Yous in the exclusive gallery.
Maybe you’re grateful for the driver who delivered your shopping, a phone call that lifted your spirits, or for the hospital staff who cared for someone close to you? Whether it’s a small something that’s made your day, or an exceptional act of bravery that made a world of difference, you never forget the time that someone was there for you when it mattered the most. However big or small the act, if you have someone to thank, thank them here: bigthankyouleeds.co.uk/say-a-big-thank-you.
Let’s get those fingers typing and hearts melting!