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Five ways to be a community builder

calendar04 May 2018

Gemma Pask's avatar Gemma Pask

Five ways to be a community builder

Right now, there are people living just a stone’s throw from you for whom poverty has trapped them in a prison of isolation and loneliness. At CAP, we’re working hard to break this isolation and show people that they’re not alone, no matter how desperate their situation may feel.

You can play your part too. Whether you’ve got ten hours or ten minutes, you can be a community builder and help break the grip of poverty and isolation in your area.

I have half an hour or less per week
Check in with someone you haven’t heard from in a while
Even if you’re really busy and don’t have much time to spare, you can do your bit to beat isolation by ringing or messaging a friend or relative that you’ve lost touch with and listening to what’s going on in their life. Never underestimate the power of a text message asking, ‘How’s it going?’ – it shows you’re thinking about them and that you care. Offer to pray for them and let them know that they’re loved, valued and not alone. It might be helpful to set a reminder on your phone to check in now and again if you’ve got lots going on!

I have an hour per week
Set up a prayer group or chain
Get a group of people together from your church to commit to praying for the isolated and lonely in your community. You could meet regularly every week, after your Sunday service or one evening. If you’re strapped for time, perhaps set up a text message chain or Whatsapp group to remind people to pray and communicate any specific prayer requests.

If you have a CAP service set up in your church, be sure to pray for the frontline workers. Whether it’s a Debt Help team visiting a client’s house, or a Job Club, Fresh Start or Like Skills team meeting with group members, they have a unique and powerful opportunity to smash down the walls of isolation in these people’s lives and even invite them to join your church community.

I have three hours or more per week
Volunteer for your local CAP service
If your church has a CAP Debt Centre, you could become a befriender (accompanying the Debt Coach on client home visits). Not only will you be a massive help to the Debt Centre team, but you’ll be in a position to offer the client invaluable support and friendship. Take them out for a coffee, invite them to church events, or just be ready on the end of the phone when they call – it’s that simple!

If your church runs a Job Club, Life Skills or Fresh Start, more volunteers means more time for the group manager and coach to spend one-on-one with group members, supporting and coaching them. Again, this is a really easy way to help break isolation and build community in your area – all you need to do is show up!

Type your postcode into the search bar at the top of this page to find your local centre and details for getting in touch.

I have one evening per week
Bless your neighbours
How well do you know the people that live next door to you? As Brits, we’re used to keeping ourselves to ourselves and may never really get to know our neighbours. Stepping out of your comfort zone to break the ice is a great way to build community. Pop round with some baked goods or a hot meal and get chatting. You never know, they could be a single parent family, battling an illness or going through any number of struggles, and your small gift could be the most relieving end to a hectic, stressful day for them.

Once you feel you know them well enough, you could even invite them to church and introduce them to a new community there too.

I have one afternoon per week
Remember the elderly
According to Age UK, 3.6 million older people live alone in the UK, and 1.9 million feel invisible or ignored. Could you pay a visit to an elderly neighbour or relative? A cuppa and a chat could be enough to brighten their whole week. If they struggle to get out and about, could you help them with a food shop? You could make this a weekly commitment and really change their life.

CAP is drawing thousands into the restoring community of the local church. All of our poverty relief services are delivered face-to-face, ensuring that vital community link is forged and isolation is wiped out. Your financial support will allow us to answer more cries for help and show poverty that it has no right to lock anyone up alone. Click here to donate.

Got another community building idea to share? Leave us a comment below - we'd love to hear it.

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