Talk-to-me.today is an award winning social innovation by Olwen Edwards of One Small Key to allow each of us to help build a friendlier, more connected community in Calderdale and beyond.
It's a very simple concept: a bright orange adult sized wristband with the words talk-to-me.today printed on it encouraging people to speak to the wearer.
The idea is for adults of all ages to wear the wristband as an ‘ice-breaker’, to indicate that they would be happy to say “Hi” in passing by, or if time allows, to talk to, chat or have a conversation with others, whether in a queue, at a bus stop, in a café or at a networking or social event – in fact anywhere. On days you don’t feel like it, you simply push it under your sleeve or take it off. If you are currently feeling too shy or vulnerable, don’t wear a band. Instead look for others wearing theirs and if and when you choose say “Hi” to them.
Many people would like to start a casual conversation but do not know if it will be considered an intrusion or lead to rejection and so do not take the risk. This can lead to missed opportunities and even loneliness and, as has been highlighted recently in the press, loneliness is both a local and national concern.
As Olwen says:
"I hope this simple, inexpensive, highly visible initiative will catch on spreading lightly, easily further afield like seeds from a dandelion... sowing seeds of change for a better society for us all."
Wristbands are available for £1 each from a stockist listed at www.talk-to-me.today and that's it! Some people are buying several and giving them to others they meet who think it’s a great idea. In this way, you can easily make a real difference by helping friendliness to spread. Circular lapel stickers and button broaches will also be available soon. The wristbands can be sponsored and Olwen is encouraging everyone to share their experiences of wearing them and connecting with other people and places via twitter and the website.
Contact Olwen via the website for more information, to buy your wristband and to start a campaign in your local area.
The publisher is The Centre for Welfare Reform.
Talk To Me Today © Olwen Edwards 2014.
All Rights Reserved. No part of this paper may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher except for the quotation of brief passages in reviews.
Bob Rhodes reflects on the difficulties of helping people move beyond a commodified notion of the role of public services.
Pete Richmond sets out what we can learn from Manavodaya a development organisation based in India and the UK, in relation to the idea of personalisation.