May 22, 2020

Recognising kindness for Mental Health Awareness Week



Fanclub has always recognised the importance of being kind and it’s rooted in our company value of ‘playing nicely’

Fanclub has always recognised the importance of being kind and it’s rooted in our company value of ‘playing nicely’. Kindness has also been chosen as the theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week. The positive impact that being kind can make on both our physical and emotional wellbeing is extraordinary; everything from protecting your heart to reducing stress and anxiety - kindness has it covered. In these uncertain times a small act of kindness has never been more powerful. With this in mind, in this week’s blog we felt that it was worth highlighting the acts of kindness we’ve witnessed in our own lives recently to share the kindness around.


I’m part of the not-so-lucky bunch that’s been forced to celebrate their birthday in lockdown. While at first it seemed dull, I’m lucky enough to have some brilliantly creative friends that helped me celebrate from the comfort of my own home. My friend Liddy, a graphic designer, has been creating ‘Stay at Home’ inspired prints, designing and sharing one-a-day since lockdown was announced, and she created a special birthday edition print for me that really put a huge smile on my face! Check out her prints, they’re sure to make you smile too.


I think we all know how awful the pandemic has been. So rather than indulging in my usual pessimistic thoughts - who doesn’t like to complain? - I’ll instead focus on one of the biggest positives the coronavirus has brought us; community spirit. Despite my extremely approachable resting bitch face, you’ll be surprised to learn that I haven’t ever really engaged with my neighbours beyond doing an awkward nod in the street in their direction.

Since the lockdown began, I’ve joined the local community WhatsApp group, sharing local things to do and resources we’ve found online to help with pandemic-induced anxiety. But the best part of it all is my next door neighbour. At least 3-4 days a week she’ll share home baked goods, her first attempts at maki rolls and even strawberry daiquiris! Unfortunately, my house’s culinary skills leave something to be desired, so in return we’ve been helping her on shopping trips and bought her a hamper of snacks and wine.

So to Yasmin; thank you! And may the pandemic leave behind this brilliant sense of community spirit.


Stories of people’s little kindnesses have been endlessly uplifting during these past two months, and I’m lucky enough to work on a client that rewards its own employees for the kind ways in which they help their customers. Every week I write a summary of these actions for the client newsletter and am always warmed by the various acts of kindness. One that sticks out in recent memory are the two employees who made sure that one woman, isolating alone with her vulnerable elderly mother, received not only a full food shop but also flowers and chocolates for Mother’s day (unasked for)!


Since being stuck at home, I’ve relished the doorstep bundles of pick-me-ups and support from kind friends and neighbours. I’ve had all manner of useful, edible, fun and sentimental gifts dropped at my door in times of emotional and practical need- from cake, to boardgames, to potting soil; most have been unsolicited. Knowing that people are thinking of you and are kind enough to go out of their way to show it, even if they don’t know you well at all, has literally made all the difference to my mental wellbeing over these last few weeks


Watching the pandemic unfold was nothing like the movies. In the main, there was no rioting in the streets; no overbearing policing of lockdown; no ‘iron fist’ of governance. Instead, we were stood on our doorsteps applauding key workers. The spirit of generosity and collaboration to ‘get through it’, extended to the corporate world. It’s been uplifting to see companies step up the COVID challenge, whether that be by re-allocating resources to create ventilators or hand sanitiser, providing free bikes to NHS workers or countless donations of time and goods.

In the 1950s there was a management theory called ‘Stakeholder Capitalism’. Its protagonists put forward a view that companies should serve society as a whole, rather than its shareholders. 70 years later, the one positive thing that could come out of this pandemic is a kinder version of the economy. And after centuries of wrecking ourselves and the planet to serve the old economy, boy do we need it.

Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric said it best when he said, “On the face of it, shareholder value is the dumbest idea in the world”. Life in a pandemic has provided a glimpse of a smarter and kinder way to live and work.


My mum is a teacher in a West London primary school and when lockdown hit it quickly became clear that the school had many already struggling families where parents had now lost their jobs, with nothing to fall back on many of the pupils faced going hungry within the week. The school sent out a plea for help and within 3 days we had gathered enough donations from our friends and neighbours to fill our car twice over.

The generosity of people towards complete strangers was overwhelming and it’s great to know that what may have been a small act of giving for one person made a huge amount of difference to someone else.


I live in South East London not far from Lewisham Hospital and the speed at which the local community galvanised behind the vulnerable and key workers has been nothing short of amazing.

More often than not it has been the local independent retailers and restaurants who had to shut up shop that gave their time and resources for free.  From the florist delivering free bouquets to the self-isolating elderly, to the Indian restaurant that has cooked and delivered over 1,800 free dinners to frontline staff,  this has truly been a time where neighbourly spirit has been reborn.


Since moving to London from Canada 3ish years ago my parents, who still live in Canada, every year embark on a journey across the pond to visit me in the Big Smoke. Unfortunately this year, due to Covid-19, they had to cancel their travel plans. Being in lockdown, this has been particularly hard on me as at the moment I don’t know when I will be able to see them again.

In usual parent fashion, when my parents do visit they usually bring me a load of Canadian goodies, which can be chocolate, chips (yes chips, not crisps), cooking products, etc. We tend not to send other large items in the mail due to the high costs involved- but as they knew I was feeling a bit down they thought they would surprise me with a little package from home to cheer me up! The package included my favourite ranch dressings, seasoning salts, and cheezies (a better Canadian version of a wotsits). Needless to say, I will be stocked for a while.

So, to my lovely parents - thank you for brightening my day and hopefully we will be reunited soon!

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