Standing Still

I’ve been hearing a lot lately about the need to move from ‘transactional’ to ‘transformative’.  The need to explain what is ‘innovative’ about a programme or service or approach.   The desire for different, new.

I hear this and can’t help but feel that the ‘ordinary’, some of the everyday activities that take place on a daily basis are at risk of being overlooked and de-valued – simply because they are unchanging and repetitive. 

The Ripple is not the only community organisation that supports services and activities that take place at the same time in the same way with the same people on a daily basis.  That provides lunch clubs for older people or youth drop ins for younger people.

We provide healthy meals for people who don’t always have one, we provide a space for kids to come when there is nowhere else to go.  Not particularly innovative or transformative but absolutely necessary. 

I am comfortable living in a world where we do what’s necessary at the same time as having an eye to the future for what may need to change.  I am comfortable living in a world that explores the opportunities for how we can support people to be their own transformation that includes fulfilling their current most urgent needs.

I am not comfortable living in a world that seeks to move along a linear line of change just because it is no longer enough to stand still.  Sometimes standing still is good enough and when you help others stand – it’s even better.


For the past few years I have justified my leaving a permanent job, moving cities and relocating my youngest to a new school by holding onto the fact that I was coddiwompling – to “coddiwomple” means “to travel in a purposeful manner towards a vague destination”. 

Now, three years later it is officially one month since I started here at the Ripple and already I feel like I belong.   Such an important thing, to feel welcomed, valued, part of something.  I have been getting out and about, meeting new faces, new people as well as getting to know the volunteers who give their time to making the Ripple the place that it is. 

Like most things, you only realise how important something is when you lose it.  Having ‘lost’ my sense of place and belonging I have been lucky to find that feeling again.  Already I can see how important the Ripple is to the people who come here for their sense of belonging, someone who knows them, calls them by their name, asks how they are, remembers what they like to eat (or don’t like) knows what they were doing last week and is interested.

My other word I came across recently was “slipshape” – which is in contrast to “shipshape” (tidy, ordered, regulated) and suggests a state of being that is fluid uncertain & flows. 

If we at The Ripple manage to travel purposefully towards a destination that is fluid and flowing whilst uncertain I will be more than happy to have both created a new word, Coddishaping, womple-slipping? And be a part of something good that is bigger than me.

nb the word ‘Slipshape’ comes from Alice Oswald’s work ‘Dart

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