Back in February, I wrote a blog about the meditative properties of painting the edges when meditation is not your thing. Today I want to take those feelgood factors one step further, and consider the benefits to all of helping out in your community.
Recently Joyce discovered that a local museum, RAF Manston History Museum needed a bit of help. The museum had closed because of Coronavirus and had taken the opportunity to give it a bit of an overhaul. The average age of the volunteers there was, at that point, 72, and slow but steady progress was made. Now that the restrictions are lifted, the race is on to get the place re-opened as soon as possible, but there was the small matter of re-painting all the hangars and raising money for urgent repairs, including the renewal of electrics to deal with.
I’m not sure how many of us gathered to paint, and Joyce and I certainly didn’t put in the greatest number of hours that weekend, but the atmosphere was not the same colour as what went on the walls – Tornado Grey. No, the atmosphere was bright and bubbly. The amateurs among us painted up as far as we could reach with rollers and BIG brushes, while the professionals (all giving their time and skills for free) almost literally ran up and down enormous ladders.
They painted around and what felt like over us completely safely, with speed and dexterity. Importantly, complete strangers worked together almost without needing to talk about what the plan was. The leadership from Jeannene Groombridge was flawless, which is not really surprising when you understand her background in management and her current role on the Civilian Committee of the local Air Cadets.
Outside, others swept up the external exhibition area and experts laid new block paving. There were probably many other things going on that I did not see or did not understand. Meanwhile, lovely ladies and those too young to wield a paint brush made regular circuits with hot and cold drinks, cake, and other delectable items.
Joyce and I left physically exhausted (Joyce really needs to admit that her neck is not fit for painting high any more), but mentally and emotionally energised. We have committed ourselves to helping out where we can. In terms of turning up, that can be a challenge when we have such busy business and family lives, but there are other ways we can help. One is by encouraging you, our clients, visitors and friends to donate to the urgent repair fund here. I’m also in the early stages of investigating writing an article about downtime on the base when it was operational.
Since we were last onsite, I’ve had chance to reflect on the experience. I can honestly say I gained mental energy, engaged with the area that is my home in a new way, and found a new sense of community, all in 2 hours. If you want to explore doing the same, but are a bit shy about it, why not contact us to see how you might get started.