News distraction?

It seems the only news worldwide is Coronavirus.

Forced lockdown takes away our control to make our own decisions.

Those that always wanted to work from home are now forced to, if they haven’t lost their jobs, and hate it!

Teenagers who ‘hate school’ now loath being at home!  In many homes right now we have both causing family tensions.

Equally we have key workers – who are also people with families and friends – risking their health everyday to keep essential services going.  We hear regularly about the NHS, supermarket workers and couriers.  But it was only on reading a piece in The Times newspaper yesterday by Libby Purves @lib_thinks that I thought about those bringing goods to our shores namely Seafarers.


I did some work last year with a Japanese international cargo shipping line and learned about the life, hardships, isolation and mental health issues endured by many.  Add into this the global lockdown due to Coronavirus, the issues endured by seafarers has spiked.


It made me reflect on the fact whilst I am lockdown at home with no freedom of movement, I do have a small garden to escape into.  I also have excellent wifi and can see and hear family and friends anytime I want through Skype, Zoom, FaceTime etc.


But what about the global seafarers?  Far from home, stuck on a ship unable to self isolate and worried sick about family and friends they cannot see or hear because wifi isn’t always that brilliant at sea.  Add to this all 200 Missions for Seafarers in ports globally have closed, countries are ‘lockdown’ so going ashore is out of the question.  Left alone and isolated – how would you feel?


Before the pandemic and lockdown Co-Vid19 brought, over 2000 Seafarers died each year – many by suicide.  How many more will die with the additional restrictions in place?


I for one will stop and think about them next time I feel frustrated at having to work from home.


Let’s all hope the Seafarers will all get through this pandemic and back to their families safely.

Respect and thanks to all striving to get our goods to us across the global seas.

Coronavirus – how are you handling it?

It’s a scary time for all.  Coronavirus is unprecedented  and it’s impact on individuals unknown.

Some of us will loose a lot despite Government interventions – jobs, businesses, homes, relationships, our mental well being and so on.

Whilst Coronavirus may be completely out of our control, how we look on this period is completely within our control.

Action for Happiness is an excellent online organisation posting well-being thoughts. The feature photo above is from Action for Happiness and an excellent foundation for us to use as a basis to plan our journey through the challenging period ahead.

Let’s take each point in turn in the photo and consider making it work for us:

  1. Consider drawing up a schedule to set-up video calls with your friends/relations and call them at a regular time each day. Note down three of your top techniques for keeping calm. This might include breathing patterns, visualisation of happy places or mindfulness.
  2. Maybe use different perfume soaps and sing a couple of bars of your happy song – one that makes you smile.
  3. Consider making this a poster that you can reflect on every day
  4. Water is free – consider making a chart to see if you can drink a tumbler every hour. Try different ingredients or cooking methods to mix things up.
  5. Check out the indoor exercises on YouTube. Consider doing this with family and friends on WhatsApp Video.
  6. Remember the 2metre rule when helping others
  7. Your feelings are important. It’s natural to go through times of positivity and negativity. Key is to recognise and not dwell on the negativity.
  8. We all need time to just be. Make sure you take this time for yourself.
  9. There is a great film on YouTube called ‘It’s not about the nail’ -check this out. It will really help you understand how important listening is.
  10. Sleep is so important. It’s ok if you can’t sleep. Get up and relax for a while before trying again. One top tip is to repeat the word ‘the’ over and over. It helps the brain ‘switch off’ I’m told by a Health & Safety expert.
  11. This could be five things from your garden or window if you don’t have a garden.
  12. Find something connected to your interests or something you’ve always wanted to know more about.
  13. Remember, everyone else is in the same boat so take a breath and spread happiness and understanding where you can.
  14. When was the last time you played Cludo, Monopoly or something else from your childhood. Not only does this evoke happy memories it’s good to switch off from technology now and then.
  15. Is now the time to finish that project you started some time ago?
  16. Music is proven to affect our mood. Why not spend some time listening to some music from a favourite genre or era?
  17. There are a wealth of free on-line courses – why not check some out?
  18. One idea that springs to mind is dancing whilst preparing dinner?
  19. Maybe you could compose and send a poem via email
  20. Now this isn’t going to be consuming a shed load of chocolate nor a crate of wine! Think about what will enhance your self-care and mental well-being.
  21. Especially important for those we’ve lost touch with. Now might be the time to re-connect.
  22. Whilst all headlines are about Coronavirus, there are feel good stories there too. Focus on these.
  23. It’s interesting to remember how young the internet and smart phones are! We managed before their invention. Start by reducing your tech time if having a day tech free is too hard.
  24. Can you change what you are worrying about? If not, why are you wasting time worrying about it?
  25. Make a list of everyone you know and note these points. It will help you see those you need to keep close and those you need to let go
  26. Looking at some goals you’ve made or are making for your self. What would be a good first step in reaching these?
  27. Saying ‘thank you’ means so much to those receiving it. The method you use to say it can add to that value – e.g. a handwritten note
  28. Coronavirus is a moment in time. It will end. Why not make arrangements to do something special with family/friends later this year?
  29. If you have a garden and can physically get out into it this will be easy to do. If you don’t why not pick a particular view from your window and check the changes you notice everyday?
  30. Clear and logical. A mantra we should all remember.

Whether you follow this plan or not, remember all situations pass in time. Be kind to yourself and those around you. Ultimately, all will be well….


Annarita’s thoughts on Growing Talent

It’s been an intense journey for Annarita. Following a difficult period of unemployment and various issues in her personal life, her self-esteem and joie de vie and plummeted whilst her anxiety had risen.


With her streak of courage and bravery, Annarita accepted the provisional role with PwC in their secretarial team even though it was completely outside her usual work area.  She embraced every challenge thrown at her along the way.  As you can see in the feature photo with head judge, Allen from PwC, Annarita’s idea won the Social Enterprise challenge.


So now she’s graduated and gone into work with PwC – what are her thoughts on the journey she’s been on?


‘If I could go back to the beginning, I’d still do Growing Talent.  It’s given me the chance to get a step in the door and get back on the career ladder.  I’ve learned it’s about the journey, jot the destination. Stepping stones lead to a giant rock of your dreams.  Growing Talent helps people move forward with their lives’.


What is Annarita’s top tip to complete Growing Talent for those following her?


‘Try and take in all the information given as you may feel like you don’t need it right now but at some point down the line you’ll realise you do”


Any motivational thoughts Annarita?


“Keep going! Every step counts towards your personal growth whether it’s emotionally, financially or physically, take notice, be aware and step back – look at what you’ve achieved as each day passes.  One day you may find you’ve obtained all the things you have always dreamt about”


So there you have it from one that knows.

Growing Talent 25 has completed…… bring on GT26!

In January, we started off with 40 enthused, unemployed people applying for Growing Talent.  Following the Employer Speed Dating held mid-January, 15 were selected by employers for a 1-2-1 second stage meeting.  Offers were made, some rejected so we commenced Growing Talent 25 with three participants from diverse backgrounds who all shared one thing in common – they wanted to work!


Michelle & Tara from PwC joined the session and selected Annarita , below, to join them!

This is a big departure for Annarita.  Following a background in textile design she is now part of PwC’s secretarial community.


Kate – a regular recruiter on Growing Talent – from Firmdale Hotels, selected Kerry to join their Haymarket hotel within the housekeeping team.  Kerry is loving the role and already got her eye on progression not to mention the staff perks!


Annarita & Kerry – trained first aiders in Mental Health during the holistic part of Growing Talent.


Lastly, Sergio and Lina from ISS selected Nazzarriey to join their waste and segregation team.  Naazzaariey – seen below with Kerry is getting used to the routine of working and planning things she can do with her wages….



We wish them well on their adventures ahead now they have a regular salary coming in…..

Highlights of their journey include:

Awaiting feedback on their excellent Social Enterprise presentation and more importantly the winner!


Emma from Unravelling Minds showing how art helps with wellbeing….


Lesley mid-flow delivering her 3Rs – techniques for staying healthy in the workplace.


This is one of the few times Growing Talent has experienced 100% who started completed and went into work!  Great outcome for all…


What does the road ahead hold for them? who knows – but that’s part of the excitement of life – right?

The 26th programme starts in March…. watch this space!