Building resilience – how do we take care of ourselves and one another in times of transition and grief?

Why did you come?

Just interested

Working with people in transition

Broken world

Last 18 months have been so hard

COP 26 – covid

Life is a struggle

Listening is important

Working in a hospice

Loss in feeling part of a minority

Speaking about difficult issues in a non polarising way

Vaccines and viruses

Widening network of friends and support

Safe space to be vulnerable

Climate change

Climate and environmental devastation

Understanding one another’s situation

That we can encourage one another

Hearing other people and maybe something to take forward

To give something authentic, honest and meaningful for others in Porty to benefit from 

What would the best outcome for today be

Grow something in Porty

Understand each other

Hearing each other

Exploring something together

Making a difference

Resilience, grief, bereavement, loss – what do these really mean? 

Let’s make it really wide – grief isn’t just about death 

Improving our literacy:

  • Knowledge
  • skills – of different levels
  • community assets
  • places where we can put this into action – e.g. compassionate neighbours
  • wisdom of experience – having made the journey ourselves 

many of these are untapped assets

What does the experience of grief and loss look like in portobello now?

Lots of people can’t even verbalise their suffering

People are more vulnerable, suffering because of what we’ve all been through – sometimes not realising how badly we’ve been affected

People are so alone they’ve lost their self worth – they used to be strong and confident, but fear of getting ill

We need a drop in centre, for a cuppa and listening

People know something is wrong

The Book Festival published 25 pieces and read them out – Truth and Reconciliation in Porty – no judgement

Taking responsibility for ourselves

People might want to talk more

Why don’t we do things for ourselves? 

  • We wait for experts
  • We need: 
    • Education
    • Empowerment
    • Stepping out
    • Confidence
    • Understanding WHY
    • Reaching out across difference – just one conversation can make a difference
    • Connecting others
  • Back in the war people spoke to one another

There’s also been a loss of opportunity for change: business, buying, travelling, consuming

Maybe more to come – need to build resilience for that.


  • Art – integral and fundamental to human society
  • Resilience – the ability to recover from setbacks, adapt well to change and keep going in the face of adversity
  • The two wings of the bird: celebration and grieving – enjoy celebrating BUT don’t forget grieving

What’s already going on – or could be?

Phone check-ins once a week

Renew Wellbeing (national project)

Cafe, dropping – prayer space – could feel exclusive

caring groups linked to local surgeries – can be transformational

Redeploying our assets – using our existing spaces better

Spaces for catharsis

How do people get to know what’s going on?

Partnership working

Social media

Notice boards

Ministers of the churches




Why is getting people to engage with this work difficult?

Being able to say no

It’s not my responsibility

Topic can be off putting

It might be too much for me

Building people’s courage – even before they turn up

Peer-to-peer – we’re just as vulnerable as those we’re trying to help

Taking the risk to be vulnerable with one another

Fear of looking daft

Being vulnerable

Can I really make a difference?

What could we do?

Connecting the resources in porty – in a way that builds relationships

Story telling 

Weekend of spaces to record what we celebrate and what was hard:

Telling our stories – Celebrating our resilience – Sharing our loss

  • Celebrating our resilience in the face of adversity – what we already have
  • Sharing how it has been for us over the last 2 years 
  • Writing + reading it out
  • Workshops
  • Exhibitions – photos and artwork, pictures about loss and celebration
  • Music
  • Drama
  • Children and young people
  • Washhouse, schools
  • On the street (so you can leave)
  • Ceremony – e.g. rosemary wreath
  • Inclusive

Communication is key

Porty Reporter

Notice boards

Effective comms

Moth radio

Gallery bus

Story wagon

Active inquiry

Truth and reconciliation commission

What do we need? 

Practical support

A secular ritual to commemorate the pandemic experience

Reflections at the end

How good, refreshing, creative and encouraging it is to talk and listened together

Making a difference in the lives of all who are struggling (which is all of us at one time or another)

I forgot I needed this

Get involved! Don’t worry so much about it

Incredible things happen when we listen to each other and dare to think big

How creative people are