Explore the world at your fingertip, with a friend!

Keeping people engaged and in touch

There’s no doubt that it can be easier to try new things if we do them together with a friend. People all over the internet are busy sharing what they’re up to at the moment, from dressing up as famous paintings or perfecting dance routines, to learning a new craft or exploring the world - all from the comfort of their own homes. Are you trying to encourage your members to use the internet to stay in touch with each other?

If you are not sure how popular a digital offer might be, or whether it is for your members, take a look at the fabulous and informative blog from Cross Gates and District Good Neighbours Scheme on Virtual Coffee Mornings, and get inspired.

There might be online activities you know your members would love, some that they haven’t tried before, or even ones that they’ve never even thought about. Just because they can’t meet up in person, it doesn’t mean that members can’t try these together. If they have access to a smart phone, tablet or computer of some sort, here are some ideas they might explore with a friend.

Looking at art

I heard Claudia Winkleman revealing in an interview how she gained her love of art from being taken to the National Gallery by her father when small, just to look at one picture at a time. We can’t visit just now, and they may never have looked at much art, but now might be the time to give it a go - virtually.

Making art

  • Why not encourage people to try the Isolation Art School on Instagram? You don’t need to login to see the artwork, and it comes from artists of all ages, abilities and backgrounds. There are free tutorials from professional artists too – it might just inspire your members to pick up a pencil!

There are lots more ideas for keeping people engaged, in touch and working our brains. People will need internet access, but not necessarily lots of skill in using the web. There are things to do separately, but they could come together with a friend or group to discuss. Here are some more great examples:

Travel the world though museums and galleries

Travel the world’s places of interest

A trip to the cinema, at home

  • British Film Institute - some films are free, some you subscribe to but can have a free trial. Friends could choose a golden oldie and watch it ‘together’.

Theatre in your living room

Or a bit of variety

  • Explore creativity with Skillshare, which has lots of online courses. You have to sign up, but your first two months are a free trial.

You can search for other ideas online - a good place to start is with MindWell, the mental health website for Leeds. They’ve created a Coronavirus Mental Health Information Hub, which includes links to help people try something new or get creative, with more museums, galleries, local organisations and fun things to explore.

Remember as well that you can only do what you can during this crisis and that although a digital offer won't reach every member, it will help you to keep some people in touch and talking to each other, leaving you with some time and energy to spend on other ways of working.

Jessica Duffy
Time to Shine Learning Facilitator

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