I remember someone saying to me some years ago during a brush with mortality, that normality is one of the most underrated aspects of our lives. And how true that is. There is a wonder in surrounding ourselves with those lived experiences and situations that give us comfort and familiarity. In truth, we might bask away a good share of our lives surrounded by the cushion of normality.
Since March, all of that has changed, and perhaps the most disturbing aspect of it all is that we cannot guarantee any of the joys that we associate with normality again, because it is something that we will all have to construct, brick by imaginary brick, until once again it is a place where we can find comfort.
What may have passed for the mundane before March is an experience you would long for now. How nice it would be if we walk down the street in our town and community and see that the businesses that served us so well for so long are back open and showing the green shoots of growth again. These are the businesses to whom we all go when we need a spot prize for the school raffle, a sponsor for the club jersey, someone to make sandwiches for the team representing the parish so well.
These are the places that we hibernate in for parts of the day, the cafes and restaurants, the shops and stores where we converse and feel that our custom is valued.
In the Galway Advertiser, as we marked fifty years of existence, we have long known that this is what is the ingredient for what we do. We serve communities by giving them news and information and we serve businesses by telling those customers where they can find the best products and services.
Community and innovation and communication are aspects of life all rolled up into every city, town and village and that is why we are playing our part in ensuring that as much of what was normal will be there in the new normal that will be shaped over the next weeks and months.
We are cognisant of the difficulties of small to medium businesses in our area and of how cash is scarce; that bills are still coming in while they are unable to sell their products. Let us remember that these businesses sacrficed their livelihoods for the greater good of all our health, so it is incumbent on us that we repay that gesture.
In today’s Galway Advertiser, we are launching Lean On Me, and calling on local Galway businesses to register to allow your local community to show their support. Lean On Me is an initiative set up to help local businesses. It uses smart technology and a simple idea. Log on to www.leanonme.eu and follow the simple online registration instructions.
It relies on businesses and the community to come on board to work to its maximum. We want to connect up every person who feels that they can share even small amounts of cash now with their favourite business. By paying now for a voucher to be used in the future, your business gets immediate cash to pay for the bills which keep arriving in the post while your income has disappeared, or reduced considerably.
The Galway Advertiser is the media partner for this initiative — we are putting our name to it to encourage local businesses to register and to encourage you our readers to play your part by helping keep your local area in business.
Together we can rebuild our communities and have them thiving again. To see what businesses have re-opened in Galway, see our comprehensive list in our centre pages on pages 33-40.