London is a gigantic lung. The inbreath starts gently at around 6am. It slowly gathers momentum over the next hour, picking up thousands of artists, tens of thousands of sportsmen and sportswomen, and millions of dancers and singers and cake bakers and creative writers and potters, and everything else you can imagine. And it dumps them in an office, right in the centre. And for eight, or nine, or ten hours they work, and some of them enjoy it, and some of them don‚’t, and lots of them feel perhaps a little unfulfilled. Their passion is going to waste.
COVID-19 has paused this relentless breath and the smaller versions in cities throughout the country. And although it will return, it will never have the same power again. Millions of talented individuals are now working in the heart of their local communities, next to schools, nurseries, care homes, and homeless shelters. Most expect to continue working from home part-time and, without the long commute, will have a few extra hours in the day. Flexible working is now accepted practice giving these workers the opportunity to share their skills and passions at the convenience of local institutions and organisations.
This giant inbreath has been a vacuum on suburbs, villages and towns, emptying them of a rich source of talented and enthusiasm. Communities are full of children, the vulnerable and the elderly who should be learning and interacting with a rich tapestry of society, and not just their parents, teachers, and carers. Children in particular need a range of experiences when they are young and richly benefit from a diet of clubs and societies.
The opportunity is for this new ‚’home-working army‚’ to take up their paintbrushes, their table tennis bats, their violins and footballs, and to enrich and transform their societies.