Companionship, support, and a sense of community

We believe that Support Local is more than just a magazine, we're incredibly passionate about giving small businesses an affordable platform to reach their customers and in the process we've built an incredible community of over 600 businesses who are all as passionate about shopping locally as we are.

We spoke with two business owners about the communities they're building and why they feel it's so important. 

First up is Lindsey Nathan, owner of Close To Hand, an online service which allows members to find and connect with each other. For older people it is a way to source local people who can provide a helping hand and offer friendship and support with tasks that can build up and become increasingly tricky to do on one’s own, like housework, shopping and chores. It’s also the social aspect of helping with these jobs that can offer a lifeline; having some to chat to at home or out-and-about, share the small stuff with and a cup of tea. Just having someone to talk to about day-to-day things, the latest news, reminiscing about the past, or discussing films and books. 

"As well as making it easy to arrange help and companionship, we are also enabling local people to find flexible work with a purpose. In our experience, it’s smiles all round!"

Here's why she feels communities are so important "We are currently experiencing a loneliness epidemic in the UK and this can have a real impact of people’s wellbeing. According to Age UK, 3.6 million older people in the UK live alone and 1.9 million older people often feel ignored or invisible. These are staggering statistics and communities needs to pull together to help combat this.

Humans are social animals and we need companionship throughout our lives; irrespective of whether you’re a teenager, hitting your middle years or approaching old age the basic need is the same.  At each life stage having a social network of people around us and being part of a community makes life easier. However, the harsh reality is that as people grow older, they begin to lose more of their friends, family and neighbours, and maybe their spouse or partner. These losses inevitably reduce their opportunities to interact with people on a daily basis. An older person’s ability to forge new connections may also be limited by circumstances beyond their control, such as reduced mobility. This is compounded by the fact that most families lead busy lives, torn between numerous responsibilities, and with many family members living long distances away they can’t always be there to help loved ones get around and mix. That is why community is so important, by enabling new connections and forming new friendships with local people we can all play a part in combating loneliness and helping one another."

Next we spoke with Silke Thistlewood, owner of Tonbridge Mums in Business, a group for women who run their own businesses, with monthly networking meetings and a facebook group that provides support and inspiration. And Nourished Mums also a facebook community, that provides a non judgmental safe space to share the difficult aspects of motherhood as well as providing tools for thriving in and beyond motherhood through mindset, self care and habits. Nourish to Thrive provides tools and skills for thriving in and beyond motherhood. With a focus on mindset, self care and habits, I run online courses (the next one kicks off in October) as well as in person workshops. "I started the business as a result of struggling with PND and anxiety after the birth of both my kids and not being able to find self care and wellbeing tools that were suitable for life with young children. Everything required lots of time and a break away from the kids - neither of which was a possibility at the time. So everything I suggest to other mums, is created with this in mind."

Here's why she feels communities are so important: 
"Both being a mum and running your own business can be very isolating, so creating a space where women can connect with others in the same situation and find instant understanding and support felt really important. I know I was missing this in my own life! 
All of us crave community and want to feel as sense of belonging, and communities achieve just that. A sense of having something in common, experiencing similar things and simply knowing that you're not alone in whatever it is you're going through is huge. "