For me it feels like it has been a dark couple of weeks. Looking with optimism has led me to look more closely at family, nature and good friends. I think, however, Anne Frank was a wise young woman when she said “I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains’ (The Diary of a Young Girl).
Acting on these words, this blog is dedicated to all those who continue to inspire me and give me hope. What do I mean when I say ‘inspires’? This is my personal list of reasons people might inspire me:
- Passion – they are themselves inspired
- Tenacity – in the face of adversity
- Imagination – They engage my imagination
- Optimistic – They make me feel optimistic
- Togetherness – They make me want to join in
- Purpose – They work on things that I think matter
- Moral compass – they have a clear moral compass that they operate from
The list below is not an exhaustive list – there are many people who inspire me – these were the first examples that came tumbling out:
Night Scout – #wearenotwaiting @nightscout
I find the story of Night Scout inspiring because it took the tenacity and togetherness of a group of parents whose children have T1 Diabetes to do this. Can you imagine being told that your child has a serious, potentially life threatening condition? Wouldn’t you want to do as much as you could to help them to secure a healthy and fulfilling life? That’s exactly how I think the parents who set up the Night Scout Foundation must have felt and the system just couldn’t keep up with them. Waiting for technical solutions that might help takes an age in health systems, decades sometimes. This group of parents decided that #wearenotwaiting and have gone on to develop some technical systems that help the monitoring of blood glucose for children despite of the system. I love their slogan ‘Be Impatient’. I love that they used their collective skills and did it anyway, despite being told, I suspect, they shouldn’t.
Read more about the Night Scout Foundation
The power of community and the drive of wanting to make things better is inspiring.
The Hen Power Project – @equal_arts
Sometimes things are so simple they have a beauty that comes from that very simplicity. We know that social isolation and loneliness can lead to poor health
Dealing with loneliness is a complex social issue, as my personal experience tells me. This is why I think the Hen Power project is so inspiring. It is creative and optimistic and make me want to join in and indeed one day I might!
The Hen Power project is a project from Equal Arts, a charity in the North East of England. They work with some of the most disadvantaged people who are in their older years.
‘Our work focuses on giving people the opportunity to explore their imagination and live in the moment.’
I defy you to watch this video and not feel inspired!
We Nurses – @agencynurse
Many of you will know some of the story behind ‘We Nurses’ but I think I am lucky enough to know most of it. I believe Teresa Chinn is the key reason for their success – what is it that so inspires me about Teresa? It is her values. She is focused on community, sharing and collective value, sometimes at her own personal cost. I think she has a clear moral compass that is inherently the reason why We Communities continues to thrive.
Dr Sue Black – @dr_black
Sue inspires me being a feisty and passionate woman. I remember meeting her in London and being inspired by her story about Tech Mums. But not only that then she helps to save Bletchley Park. I won’t try to replay her story here, Sue tells it so much better than me, you can read most of it from her blog.
Sue is a great example of someone with tenacity and determination to do what she thinks matters.
Playbox Leeds @emmabearman
A sample of the lovely tiles the Playbox team created with the community to improve the benches in the park
A shipping container and a whole lot of courage, inspiration and belief in her community is what it took, I suspect, for Emma Bearman to set up Playbox. In an area of Leeds that is less well known than its city centre cousins, Armley now has a great focus for people and play. Emma is like a force of nature and I admire her passion but also how well her projects encourage people to join in. Watching the development of Playbox has been great to see and is a great antidote to much of what the media would lead us to believe was our current society and communities.
You can read more about Playbox here and follow Emma on Twitter to be inspired.
Michael Seres @MJSeres
Michael is another force of nature. I have been following him for quite a number of years now and have been lucky enough to meet him. I won’t try to tell his story here as you can listen for yourself here as part of the Spark the Difference Exhibition (there are also many other stories here that will inspire)
Michael is one of the humblest men I have met but his particular inspiring skill for me is, that despite the odds, he has an air of optimism and hope which makes me feel that things will work out and that all is possible.
This list is not exhaustive by any means and I may write about more people in due course but what inspires each of us seems to be more poignant and potent in darker times than perhaps when the sun shines perfectly down. I hope they help you feel inspired too.
Who and what inspires you?