The Village Well – the importance of community and connection

Chief Wellbeing Officer - Jennifer Osborne - Bayleaf Wellness

Photo credit: 'The Village Well' taken at San Gemignano in 2015 by Jennifer Osborne

When I was travelling through Italy a few years ago, I took this photo of the Village Well in San Gimignano. The concept of a communal place to meet, talk, laugh, share, fall in love and connect was wonderful.

As Chief Wellbeing Officer, the concept of the Village Well and Bayleaf being a central part of its local community is essential to me – a place to connect, share ideas and walk the journey of health together regardless of physical ability and chronic disease. A place of likeminded people coming together to share ideas and inspiration and provide support to each other. I continue to view this as essential to any community we are involved in.

‘No Man is an Island,’ stated John Donne in his 17th meditation in 1642. He was the Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral and now, almost 400 years later is one of England’s greatest poets.

Whatever his thoughts were at the time, his view on the subject is clear that any mans death can be diminishing simply because, …’I (We) am (are) involved in mankind.’

In the recent COVID times, family and friends that were reported lost became our own family and friends and we felt the loss like never before as the inability to be with each other during such times weighed heavily on our hearts and minds. With so much news being reported on the subject worldwide we could no longer hide and realised just how involved in mankind we were.

It certainly seems more important a time than ever to connect and support our own local communities and each other. Whilst the physical distance restrictions have played a part in us being unable to travel to our workplaces or other suburbs for usual recreation and shopping, the chance to support local as many businesses lost their wellbeing became even more crucial.

With the necessity of getting out to walk locally we even discovered new places and new coffee shops and local venues to support with renewed vigour. We met our friends for a 1.5 metre socially distanced chat and hugged them with our eyes – so relieved we were to see their faces even if somewhat disguised under their masks.

We turned to finding new ways to nourish ourselves from ordering fresh fruit and vegetable boxes and learning how to make sourdough bread. We swapped recipes, held zoom cocktail parties and invested in board games. Many of us ditched the makeup and high heels for tracksuits and pigtails.

As Melbournians, we now watch the details unfold in other states where our loved ones and fellow countrymen live and we know all to well the impact on mental health and wellbeing that will follow.

The phrase no man is an island means that no one is truly ever fully self-sufficient, and that we must all rely on the company and comfort of others to not only survive but to thrive.

As Bayleaf Wellness looks to relocate to a new local community, we are looking forward to having a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of all its members, from the local traders to the home dwellers and businesses that operate within the area and surrounds. We hope to become the local Village Well. A place for you to meet, talk, laugh, share and be supported in your health and wellbeing goals no matter how large or small. We hope to give back to the community that supports us and we have a lot of exciting things to share. We know you will enjoy them and we will enjoy getting to know you.

Keep an eye out for where we are travelling to… we cannot wait to share our exciting news with you!

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