Salisbury's Got Talent: Eradicating loneliness

Anna Spear, of St Peter’s Church Great Cheverell used her talent from the inauguration to make a difference to lonely individuals in her village. Anna has written about how she put her plan into action: 

It was with great joy that I was able to use my £10 to support mums and tots in our village. 

Despite feeling so much happiness when we welcomed our first grandchild to this world, on Christmas Day 2020, I soon realised during the Covid lockdowns how much isolation comes along too - especially for new mums and babies, and parents and tots. There were no routine health visitor checks – new parents really were on their own. 

In the village of Great Cheverell, where I live, I talked to new parents and it soon became clear that they were isolated; some having no car and no close family nearby; some having just moved to the village and not knowing anyone. 

A Christian friend and I were sharing our concerns and both of us felt it was tough bringing up little ones in isolation; we reflected on our times with little ones when there was more freedom and a choice of groups to join. 

We set about talking to every person we saw with a pushchair to ask them if they felt setting up a parents and toddler group would be something of interest to them. We only had positive feedback, so the next step was to put a note on the village Facebook page to notify people that we were going to be pro-active. We also spoke to Hannah Tarring (one of the diocese’s Community Hub Development Advisors) who gave help when we were planning what to do. 

We sent out invitations in July, offering various forms of play in my garden; free drinks & snacks which I used the £10 for. This social event for the under-fives and their parents/carers was enjoyed by those who attended; some lived only a few doors from each other and didn’t know it! Love and companionship was shared on a dry sunny morning. It was so successful that we put on another session in an afternoon so my £10 was matched and the funds stretched further…… We shared ideas of how we could move this group forward. 

On their behalf, I have made some enquiries about the local forest activity centre in the village; also the hiring of the village hall and we have set up a “Cheverell Tots” WhatsApp group and encouraged all to invite others in a similar situation. We have 17 participants so far! So much is shared just by using social media - upcoming events; invites to come to round to each other’s for coffee and play; meet at the play park also equipment to give away to a good home. New friendships were made so quickly and look like they will last. 

We plan to meet up in September to make plans for the Autumn and Winter. We will be asking Church members if they can make refreshments for parents at future events as required. We may plan regular meet-ups depending on what is preferred. I will be inviting our vicar to come along once the group has been established. Ideas of their own Harvest/Christmas service come to mind. 

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