The power of hope

16 April 2020

Our CEO, Matt Jones, reflects on a trip with his father and how he has hope in a crisis.

‘Where has my bubble child gone?’ my father said to me a few years back. I was busy making our evening meal, using camping gear, up a Swiss mountain in a small alpine town called Adelboden (real Heidi county). We had ridden our motorbikes to this place, which is where my aunt came from. She had succumbed to cancer and Dad and I wanted to ride to the place of her birth to meet folk who knew her and see where she grew up. The question from my Dad was because I have always enjoyed using my imagination, to play out fiction and fantasy in my mind. I have been a ‘bubble child’ all my life – I still am even at 47. I made Dad a perfectly good curry that night up the Swiss mountain using basic camping gear. (How much fun is a ‘spork’, to eat with?! I would probably use them at home if I could get away with it as it cuts two thirds of the amount of cutlery you have to wash up.) 

I mention this ‘bubble child’ because I have relied upon this ability to escape over the past five weeks as I have been working in self-isolation at home. I have only ventured out to drop emergency medicine and food to vulnerable folk. I have relied upon my imagination to provide mental escape from the situation we are all in; to provide a safe place to dream, to create and to give birth to hope. It doesn’t mean I can’t live in the real world nor thrive in it. But it is a really important mental gift I enjoy and it has enabled me to deal with the seriousness of this pandemic.

Routine and coping

How are you coping with COVID-19? Do you dream, imagine, stimulate your mind to be elsewhere or to be provide an alternate reality? How do you give yourself hope? Are you getting DIY project finally completed? Are you learning a new skill like piano? Or reconnecting with old friends and taking time to help neighbours?

Routine has become so important for mental wellbeing. This pandemic has so many bad things about it, sometimes for our own mental health, we need to escape, to dream of a better world post pandemic, to garner hope that our time on this planet can be meaningful and purposeful.

I also get huge energy and hope from others. We have been conducting a daily conference call with our whole team to make sure the charity is doing all it can to help as many vulnerable people as possible. The teams’ commitment and dedication to keep the mission going provides me, and us all, with such hope and positivity. I look forward every day to finding strength in their feedback, anecdotes and stories of hope and support they are achieving daily.

Keeping our mission going

Our main objective is to keep our mission going, ensuring vulnerable people who would normally access vital support through our many community services still access it, continue to feel connected, included, maintain good mental health and wellbeing and limit the risk of breakdown or crisis. 

Central to this work is supporting carers. Today, we are once more reminded that their role shouldn’t be taken for granted or forgotten and how vital their role is in supporting their vulnerable loved ones – day in and day out. I helped my mum care for my gran for 14 years. Gran had dementia and living through this part of her life journey taught me so much about resilience, selflessness of caring and the power of love and hope. But that isn’t to say carers can keep going without needing support themselves. That’s why every day, everyone at Guideposts is walking alongside carers, albeit at a distance, helping them take the steps to rein in stress and regain a sense of balance, joy, and hope in these challenging times.

A four letter word

Hope is such a small word. Only four letters. Yet when it is with two other words ‘faith’ and ‘love’ it represents the fundamental purpose of life. Why we are here, what we do and why we do it.

We now turn to hope, as our founders did 47 years ago. It is what continues motivating our action so that our charity and mission can survive the financial turmoil. It keeps the effort going for those who need it most, continues providing support programmes that give people hope. Hope for a better world, in which they can be supported to reach their potential and in turn provide support to others. Hope the world learns from this nightmare, that coming together and supporting each other is the key to threats like COVID-19.

It is not going to be easy to ensure we can keep our vital work running; however, we know that your support, will be what keeps us going. Thank you.