UPDATE: Chuffed to see one of my Coronavirus Diaries Comment Columns chosen for the Arts in Isolation Exhibition at Barry Library.
The display, has moved from its digital platform to the Tynewydd Road site from July 2021.
The opinion piece was written exclusively for Barry Magazine and speaks of our sense of community in the early days of the Covid-19 Pandemic.
‘Let’s Stick Together’
Say what you like about beautiful Barry…and I know there’s many a tasty tale to tell about our often turbulent town.
But one thing that remains staunchly standard is our cracking community spirit.
Our superb sense of solidarity runs right through our residents like a stick of Barry Island rock.
And never has this been more totally tested as our town rides the Coronacoaster of lonely, no love lost Lockdown.
From almost the memorable minute we moved into this queer Quarantine, my Facebook feed has been full of top tales of, rallying residents pulling together to help our town’s most vulnerable, real random acts of community kindness, and solid support for those fighting on the Covid-19 frontline.
Facebook groups have an army of vigorous volunteers committed to looking after our own, our town’s traders have been constantly keeping our key workers fabulously fed.
Our more design-minded dwellers have also been busy cheerfully churning out everything from Thanks NHS T Shirts to Personal Protective Equipment – often armed only with scarce supplies and a mission to make a difference.
Let’s not forget those natives who have also pulled together to make their little corner of our town not only friendly but, quite frankly, fabulous. Neighbourly knocks to see if all is well, with the now new normal chance to take more time to chat.
Socially distanced celebrations to mark milestones like VE Day, a plethora of Rainbow posters in windows, and that standing together in solidarity every week as the deafening Clap for Carers boomed out all over the town.
Who knew that community cohesion could also be so crackingly captured online too. For this excitable extrovert who always liked in the flesh friendships and serious hard core socialising, Zoom has opened up a whole new way of keeping my gorgeous groups superbly sticking together.
Facetime is fine but there’s nothing like seeing the screen lit up with my, often eclectic mix, of marvellous mates, fellow friendly campaigners, and happy hobbyists as we keep our communities vibrant but virtual.
For me, living it large on the laptop is most definitely the way forward as we start a Summer of sitting at home staring at a screen that promises to still see us celebrating many of our town’s top events.
Barry may have been battered by Corona cancellations, that have ripped up our community calendar, but as always, our rallying residents are pulling together to try to keep the vibe alive.
Solo singers, local live bands plus other energetic entertainers are tuning up for time on our tablets. Cadstock, the best free outdoor music festival in Barry, could still see it’s big heart beating with provisional plans to put the wonderful weekender online.
And, the brilliant Barry Pride, which daringly debuted last year to stunning success, is part of an ambitious Wales Wide Virtual Pride clearly circled in the calendar for the weekend of July 24th and 25th.
For me community is not just anyone living in the same place, it means a group of like-minded people who share the same interests, who stick together through a strong sense of unity, and often, the deep desire to make a difference.
Barry, I’ve just summed you up beautifully.
Thank you to everyone who has tackled the frenzied fall out from this crazy Covid-19 head on to help our householders, rally our residents, and make our corner of wonderful Wales a better and brighter place.
Keep on keeping on, behind the scenes or on the streets, to get us through this paralysing pandemic together, and to fight for all that our terrific town needs, and deeply deserves.
That’s the, Community, Spirit.
Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist. She blogs about Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, quirky and queer, local girl done good.
My Corona Virus Diary is her take on this pandemic palaver – the long lingering Lockdown, our queer quarantine, the isolation nation, and how our town took to these crazy Covid 19 times.