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Shoulder to shoulder

A Way Out charity normally stands shoulder to shoulder with our staff, with volunteers and with supporters – reaching out, supporting and transforming the lives of some of the most vulnerable women, young people and families in Teesside.But whilst social distancing, homeworking and ‘lockdown’, shoulder to shoulder is no longer a safe position.The organisation has made weekly food parcel deliveries maintaining the required distance, and sustained contact, support and safety planning with clients remotely via phone, text or social media, but doing this shoulder to shoulder has not been permissible or safe.

We have all struggled with the 2m rule putting space between ourselves and friends and family. But one thing can still happen personally between 2 people at a safe 2m distance… it can happen with those we are well acquainted, with those we love, with colleagues, with those we support professionally … even with strangers we pass on the street. One thing that we can do is meet their gaze, eye to eye, and give a nod or a smile… a friendly encouragement that we are all in this together no matter who we are, or where we are.

When we distributed crisis parcels this week, our staff did not just deliver food and toiletries, they delivered a strong and valuable message to our clients who are battling with very real, challenging and tough impacts of social isolation. A message delivered eye to eye, meeting their gaze, giving assurance that they are not invisible, that they matter and are loved.

For Christians Easter is a time when eyes gaze upon the cross and then turn to the empty tomb with a message that we all matter and we are all loved.

Especially at this time we encourage you to meet someone’s gaze, share a smile – it’s permitted even when you are more than 2 metres apart!


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