As we all know, Covid-19 in general has brought so much sadness and dullness over everybody’s everyday lives, stopping the world from moving on and making people realise how much we all miss the small things we would usually take for granted. However, despite the downheartedness and defeat, the people of Shirley still manage to find a way to lighten up everyone’s day, even if it is just for moment.

Many various items and activities have been set up all over the Shirley neighbourhood, voluntarily by the local people themselves, to try and at least make a few people smile and forget about their boredom or unhappiness for a small period of time. One of the more amusing activities for the kids of Shirley is the picture hunt, set up by the local nursery, ‘Funshine’. Pictures of a variety of laminated animals are pinned up on trees and hidden all around the local Pond, ‘Millers Pond’, from Gruffalos to owls for children to try and hunt down during their one hour of exercise per day. This is such a small yet tremendous way to entertain all the children that miss playing outside with their friends, helping to amuse them for a little while as it is very much needed at a lonely time like this. Additionally, the nursery children placed many stones that were hand painted with rainbows to support the NHS rainbow paintings seen in plenty of windows around the community. The hunt to find these stones may seem like a small gesture but would create so much enjoyment for children who need it the most.

The rainbow paintings made by children seen in many windows across the country are an extraordinary way of showing everyone’s support for the NHS is these extremely difficult times. However, a local artist, Chris Shea, has been raising additional money for the NHS by going one step further. In thanks of Chris, heaps of paintings are continuously being spotted over Shirley on the front of people’s houses, and other visible places, of a young boy wearing a mask who pours a watering can filled with colour onto a rainbow. This image is quite extraordinary in capturing how Shirley and many other communities across the country are determined on spreading positivity and joy as much as they can to help distract from the devastating situation occurring, and as there is little else to do, why not enjoy it at the same time.

Lastly, there is the national event every Thursday at 8pm to celebrate the work and bravery of all NHS workers, and an opportunity for each neighbourhood to come together on these two appreciated minutes to support one another and the NHS with a clap. This clap is when everybody on each street finally gets to come out and see each other at a distance, and to be able to share their delight and celebrations with each other, bringing the community closer as a whole. Additionally, in Shirley, people bring out pans and bang them together, with loud cheering and the bus driving down the road honking its horn, and one night there was even fireworks. Although Covid-19 has brought us all stressful and concerning times, the people of Shirley have come together to try and find or create those little things that can make other people's days just that little bit better.

By Ellie Baker