Celebrate and Replicate! Building Community through the New Bank for Community Solutions and Ideas

Photograph of people sitting on a dock
Picture by Sabine Sautter; Source: http://www.ecpa-online.com/new-bank/

Submitted by: Ashley Simons-Rudolph


The New Bank for Community Solutions and Ideas highlights community action as we collectively respond to COVID-19.
Submit your stories now!

The New Bank for Community Solutions and Ideas shares stories, experiences, pictures, and moments which lift up our humanity and encourage us to think creatively about how to build community. The European Community Psychology Association (ECPA), Community ToolBox, and Society for Community Research and Action (SCRA) are collaborating on this new effort to showcase how communities, groups, and individuals are responding to COVID-19 in creative and sometimes surprising ways.

Collectively, communities are facing unprecedented challenges…and a galvanizing experience during COVID-19. Together, we feverishly monitor infection rates and the rising death tolls. We care for the ill. We pause to adjust to the growing shelter in place restrictions placed by local and national governments. We praise our “essential” neighbors, from the health care provider on the front lines to the grocery stocker who replaced the toilet paper supply at the market. Yet in the midst of such preparedness, fear, and loss, we discovered how truly important our community connections are to our well-being.

It is a shame that it has taken something like this to be a valid excuse to cold-call neighbours. Many of our residents are elderly and socially isolated and making contact with people nearby has been a real bonus. It has also been a great reassurance to their family who would normally visit to know they have a whole street ready and willing to connect and support.”

-New Bank Participant

The banked stories reflect a beautifully patched quilt of communities. Local officials in Juneau Alaska in the U. S. re-invigorated a hiking hotline to provide a moment of levity in the form of a pre-recorded joke. In the U.K., a community action group for teenage girls in a disadvantaged community, Girls Gang, created uplifting original posters that are included in food packages being sent to families experiencing poverty and hardship during lockdown. Messages in the posters include words of hope and tips for coping with lockdown as well as serving as a visible reminder that recipients were loved in their community.

More stories abound in the bank –from invitations to meet your neighbors via “six feet at six pm” in Boston to a 48 hour “hack-a-thon” to combat the consequences of COVID-19 through a collaboration between 40,000 German “techies” and the German government.

“Now, during a global crisis we never experienced before, many of us start wondering on ‘What is waiting to be changed once we go back from a feeling of emergency towards a ‘new normality’? What kind of life could we imagine after the pandemics, based on co-creation, values and the common good?’”

It’s Easy to Participate

Ordinary citizens are finding new and creative ways to reach out from a safe “social distance.” The stories are out there. You are in them! People like you who created and were touched by these seemingly small bits of kindness have written and submitted them into a web-based “bank” of ideas. Anyone can deposit an idea. Anyone can withdraw. The website is open now and is easy to use. Simply scroll through the gorgeous pictures and uplifting stories. Submit your own ideas and experiences about what you did, what happened, and what you learned in 100 words or less.

Download a .pdf of this page here.

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