The first meeting of people interested in doing Give a Day took place in November 2019. People came from Ayr, Dungannon, Falkirk, Kendall, Longtown, and Oxford to a two-day convening in Carlisle. People came under their own steam, and stayed with local people, an indication of the interest in and commitment to the idea.

There was a lot of energy in the room. As one person said, “When I was there, I felt I could do it and make a difference.”

Then there was a pandemic.

As the country emerged from the health crisis, we re-connected with this foundation group.

They were exhausted. Everyone has been fully committed to tending to the sick in hospital or supporting the shielded in the community. They were physically and emotionally spent.

But they had an energy to re-engage with Give a Day. They identified obstacles to action, and reasons to act.

The pandemic produced a kind of paralysis. One of our group referred to the ’societal grieving’ needed to process the pain of loss, actual and anticipated. The many, who gave so much to keep society working, often struggle to find space to look beyond the pandemic.

On the other hand, the pandemic broke time. There was life before the pandemic, and life after the pandemic. Life after the pandemic can be re-imagined. It needn’t be constrained by the past.

There are new crises emerging, cost of living for example. We can tackle these challenges together, and in different ways.

The values of Give A Day are directly relevant to a re-imagined future.