In her regular column on life at The Mill community centre, Helen Bigham finds reason to be cheerful in 2018
What’s struck me most working at The Mill has been the many random acts of kindness that I witness every day.
A friendly smile and ‘good morning’ to anyone that walks through the door. Betty in her mobility scooter, dropping off a box of teabags for our refreshment table. Donations for the ‘honesty library’. Pumpkins left in our reception with a note that reads ‘help yourself’. All small drops of generosity that oil The Mill wheel and keep it turning.
The list is endless. The Mill is more than bricks and mortar; it’s the volunteers and visitors that make it their home from home. Volunteering is one way of being kind. In 2018, why not think of a cause you care about or a group in your community that could use some help? Schedule a day to support them, you’ll be appreciated and you’ll feel better for doing it.
One small act of kindness could be to support Eat or Heat, an organisation that endeavours to help local people struggling financially to enjoy a decent meal. The Mill is one of their collection points and they welcome donation such as cans, packets, cartons, and other long-life food.
The world needs more people who are willing to step out and have the courage to be kind. I intend to be more of that type of person in 2018. Each day, I plan to compliment the first three people I talk to. I’m going to beautify my surroundings; rather than tutting and complaining about people dropping rubbish while walking my dog I plan to spend ten minutes each day picking up litter. I’m also going to smile more. According to an article from Psychology Today: ”Each time you smile, you throw a little feel-good party in your brain. The act of smiling activates neural messaging that benefits your health and happiness.”
Finally, each week I intend to carry out some self-kindness by doing something I love and rarely make time to do. Maybe go the cinema or finish a book. And I’ll be joining a dance class - I’ve been told I ‘dance to a different drum’ but I do love it.
If art is your passion this could be the year you exhibit at one of our art shows or come along to an art class. Starting in January on alternate Sunday mornings there’s a new drop-in drawing group for adults. Working with pencils on still-life, all abilities are welcome. Basic materials are provided along with tea and biscuits. Teaching will be available from David, or work on your own. David is one of our volunteers that runs after-school Thursday art classes for children and I’m always impressed by the creativity and encouragement shown in the sessions.
Whatever you decide to do, don’t forget if you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours!