Barwon Kindness Pandemic - how one group makes it work
On this page we document the journey taken by the Barwon Kindness Pandemic to help guide other groups in seeing the potential of a Kindness Pandemic Group to make a difference to people's lives. This Group (and others) have followed the principles for Groups that are provided by the Kindness Pandemic (here) and we hope their story might help guide others.
The Group was established by Kezz McKenzie, in partnership with Merrin Wake and Aden. All are health care workers in the Barwon region.
We documented the aims of our group as being:
- To promote acts of kindness that support local people experiencing difficulty during COVID19
- To identify people who need support - and link them with those who can help
- To link in with local Health Services to provide group members with health updates
- To promote intersectional kindness - kindness that reaches out to people who were marginalised before COVID19 and now experiencing greater difficulties eg: people who are homeless, those living with mental illness, survivors etc and people who are disempowered because of COVID19 eg: people who are unemployed, those working in supermarkets and pharmacies etc
- To make sure we leave no one behind in our support for community members
- To strength our mental wellbeing during COVID19
- To promote the safety of local people.
We adapted our rules from the rules that were developed by the Kindness Pandemic Group. We wanted to make sure that people understood what our aim was - we wanted to make sure that people were posting about practical help. We also wanted to make sure that people were kind to each other in the group. Our rules are:
- Post about ACTS of kindness or current campaigns: all posts must focus on ACTS of kindness - you or others have ALREADY done to help people impacted by coronavirus. Also posts that are related to campaigns
- Use the Hashtag: add our hashtag #BarwonKindnessPandemic
- Be kind in your comments: please affirm what others have done where appropriate - it fuels the revolution
- Report a problem: tell us if you see a post or comment that shouldn't be here
- Don't share personal details: do not share your personal details (phone, email, address etc) online - if you want to contact someone, message them privately
- Visibility & Repeats: if we can't see any content in your post or if it's a post that someone else has already shared (like media stories) we will delete it
- Health Advice: do not share health advice OF ANY KIND or recipes for homemade sanitizer or masks
- Profanity and Swearing: if you are using language people find offensive - chances are you are also being unkind...your comments will be deleted and you will be blocked
- No Promotions, Spam or monetary gain: give more than you take to this group. Self-promotion, spam and irrelevant links aren't allowed. No Monetary gain to be posted or ask for also
- No groups, No businesses, No services: please join as an individual. This is a group that focuses on acts of kindness & a safe place to feel supported within the community.
We haven't allowed local businesses to join as businesses - we have asked them to join individually (to avoid any groups doing self promotion). We have formed partnerships with a number of local services and groups to support us - and so that we can help support what they do. Our partnerships include:
- Health services: we wrote a letter to all our local health services telling them about the aims of the group and asking them to support us - the response was very positive
- Media: we contacted our local community radio station and free online print media and offered to provide them with updates on our group. Their coverage has meant that we are getting the word out to more local people
- Family violence services: we contacted our local 1800RESPECT family violence service because we were concerned about the reported 40% increase in family violence. The service made a video for us about their services that we have shared to our Group - see below.
We follow the main Kindness Pandemic Page and every week when they launch a Campaign we talk about whether we can adapt the Campaign to meet the needs of our groups. The first Campaign we tried was the #thankapostie and we knew this would appeal to our group because country people love their posties. Here's what we did:
- We did a call out to our group asking people to write a letter thanking their postie and sticking it to their letter box - and then sharing it to our group
- We invited a local family to do a short video message to their postie and we shared it to our group and also with the larger group ... the video ended up being featured on ABC breakfast (here) and see full video below
Violence and abuse is a problem in our local pharmacies. We spoke to a number of our local pharmacists about the Campaign and asked them what they wanted us to do. In response we did the following:
- Invited a local pharmacist in Norlane to make a video for our group to highlight the issues they are experiencing and their call to action
- Posted the #PharmacyKindness campaign to our page and invited group members to share their acts of Pharmacy Kindness with our group
Getting the word out about our work to people living in the Barwon region is important.