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A message from Executive Director, Helen Jones 22 July 2020

23 July 2020

There’s been much talk of resilience in recent times. The resilience shown by our key workers or the need to create a resilient economy to survive this pandemic. The resilience shown by our communities pulling together through the last few months. Resilience against infection.

Author Elizabeth Edwards said:

"Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it's less good than the one you had before. You can fight it, you can do nothing but scream about what you've lost, or you can accept that and try to put together something that's good."

Across Derbyshire we’ve seen loads of examples of people creating something good – whether that’s neighbours supporting each other or our staff working two jobs to help in our care homes

You can read loads more here on the Derbyshire Spirit website or watch the Choir of Derbyshire Carers who have come together on-line to promote wellbeing. Some of us have found it hard and it’s important that we look out for our general wellbeing and that of our colleagues. You can find out more here on the Our Derbyshire staff website.

The dictionary definition of resilience says:

"The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness".

It's this last word "toughness" that makes me wonder about the overuse of the word in some situations.

When we talk about community resilience are we looking for toughness? Or are we looking for sensitivity, openness and kindness where people reach out to each other and connections are made like those we’ve seen with our Community Response Unit? Surely it’s kindness and human connection that makes and sustains communities alongside their wonderful diversity?

And that brings me to consider the nature of resilience when we see it in people or in ourselves. We all know people who have been through terrible life situations who "turn their wounds into wisdom" as Oprah Winfrey once said.

I watch in awe at the mental resilience of colleagues for whom it is never too late in the day to grasp the complexity of some new piece of government guidance long after my brain feels full and unable to take in new facts without a good night's sleep.

There are also those who demonstrate incredible physical resilience – not just marathon runners but people with long-term conditions where every day actions can be physically demanding or painful.

Resilience isn’t just one thing and we all demonstrate different elements of it. When we doubt ourselves we should consider where our strengths lie.

This leads me to wonder whether our individual resilience is what matters or whether it’s the whole community effort that counts?

It’s no good washing my hands and social distancing if everyone else just dons their face covering – mandatory in shops from Friday as well as on public transport and when visiting hospitals or your GP – and forgets to do the basics! Resilience against infection requires a team effort.

And we will need to continue to be resilient in our jobs over the months to come. Our success at handling the challenges ahead needs to be a team effort requiring mental, physical and emotional resilience - not a toughness that excludes humanity - but all of our intellect, our stamina and our heart.

Bring what you can.