5 Reasons Community Groups are Optimistic about 2021


January is a time when we are invited to look forward with optimism for what the upcoming year has in store for us. After plans for 2020, and now early 2021, were steamrollered by a certain pandemic, it’s definitely tempting to avoid jinxing things by getting excited for what 2021 will bring.

Surely it’s just safer to not hope for anything, after all, it’s the hope that kills you, right? Wrong! Optimism is actually a key part of what makes us happier, healthier, and better leaders.

So, we asked 5 brave community leaders why they are optimistic about 2021, and they did not disappoint. In fact, what impressed us the most was how many of these community groups have drawn lessons and opportunities from the hardship of 2020.

Once you’ve heard what they have to say, let us know what you are looking forward to – even if you have to cross your fingers, touch wood and hang a lucky horseshoe to do it!

1) Going into 2021 with the knowledge that when we ask for help, our community steps up

Alchemic Kitchen, Knowsley

‘Here at Alchemic Kitchen we have been inspired and motivated by the wonderful work being done right on our door step during the difficult times that last year brought us. 2020 taught us all that we shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help, we all need a hand up sometimes, and that people will offer help to those who need it, this is a lesson that we are ready to carry through to the new year.

‘We are excited to keep working with our wonderful neighbours to tackle food waste and continue to support our community in Knowsley’

Want to learn more about Alchemic Kitchen? Click here.

A young chef smiling and chopping vegetabels wearing an Alchemic Kitchen apron

2) Finally getting to see our service users face-to-face and keeping up our online support

Birmingham Wheelchair Basketball, Birmingham

‘2020 has been a challenging year for everyone and like other organisations we have had to think outside the box to support our participants, looking at online activities and other ways to motivate and inspire people in our community.

‘It has been hard but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and we’re getting ready for when we’ll be able to return to face-to-face session for the first time since the pandemic hit the UK. This means we can reconnect with our players and start to rebuild on their confidence and inspiration to get active again. We’re also excited to continue to promote online activities to keep building up our community.

‘It has been a challenge. However as our motto states: Positive action inspires positive outcomes.’

Want to learn more about Birmingham Wheelchair Basketball? Click here.

Five people in sports wheelchairs in a sports hall. Image from Birmingham Wheelchair Basketball.

3) The promise of new life, new ventures, and new starts

Clitterhouse Farm, Cricklewood

‘At Clitterhouse Farm we planted bags and bags of bulbs over the last few weeks and cannot wait for an explosion of colour early next year.

‘We’ve also got some exciting news from our coffee shop and workshops coming soon as we get ready for our opening in the springtime – watch this space!’

Want to learn more about Clitterhouse Farm? Click here.

Image of bright purple, red and yellow wildflowers in bloom in a greenspace at Clitterhouse Farm

4) Getting to reach even more people because of the collaborations that we made in 2020

Grimethorpe Activity Zone, Barnsley

‘2020 was a tough year for Grimethorpe Activity Zone (GAZ) and the people we support, but it brought our community together. During the year we started working closely with a community group, the Grimethorpe Residents Group. We shared our resources with them, and they brought new volunteers to help with our work. This coming together was very successful and is gathering support and we have plans for joint projects when problems associated with Covid ease.

‘Because of this partnership we look forward to 2021 with a great deal of optimism, especially if we can continue to bring in funding for our work. We hope to be able to deliver our regular projects in full and we have new projects planned. These include a free tutoring programme to help children catch up with the education they have lost and craft groups for the elderly, which will bring them together in a warm place, where they can meet up with friends, make new ones and help to ease the problems that isolation has caused them.’

Want to learn more about Grimethorpe Activity Zone? Click here.

Two children make a fruit salad together at Grimethorpe Activity Zone

5) Connecting even more people in our community

Liverpool Cares, Liverpool

‘Liverpool Cares wants 2021 to be a year of connection so we are looking for older and younger Liverpudlians to join our programmes. We’ve got plenty of  programmes lined up for new volunteers to get involved with, like Social Clubs that bring the community together with activities like craft clubs, movie nights or dance workshops.  We’re also excited to continue our one-to-one friendship matching programme Phone a Friend that connects older and younger people for weekly chats on the phone over a cuppa.

‘Anyone in Liverpool who wants to join us and make connecting with their community a resolution in 2021, can find out more on our website: www.liverpoolcares.org.uk.’

Want to learn more about Liverpool Cares? Click here.

A young adult shows an older woman how to use a phone at a Liverpool Cares social club

Now tell us, what are you excited for in 2021?  Perhaps you are excited to get your story out this year? Perhaps the perfect grant fund has come up for you to apply to? Maybe you are just excited for 2020’s community action to continue? Whatever it is, we’d love to hear from you!

About the Author:

Keen to make the world a kinder place, Josie supports the campaigns and community teams at Semble to help bring people together. She has worked with migrants, taught sex education and is a lover of all things Latin America. Her interests include food, reading, and dreaming of being a beekeeper.