We find ourselves in the midst of a new, scary and utterly unprecedented time. Confined to our own four walls, we are all required, for our collective wellbeing and safety, to ‘socially distance’ ourselves from friends, neighbours, colleagues, fellow citizens – even our own families.

As planes ground, ferry ports are deserted, and borders close, we also find ourselves separated from those further afield: those living in other places, communities and countries, those of different faiths, cultures, languages. Perhaps we feel sad or lonely, distant or confused. Perhaps we feel afraid, suspicious, or even angry with those different from us.

At this time, we believe it is more important than ever to keep reaching out, to keep reaching in. To keep remembering how, why and where we all connect – even as circumstances pull us further and further apart.

That’s why today, we’re launching a new Telling Our Stories initiative: the Reach Out, Reach In challenge.

Through Reach Out, Reach In, we want to gather and share stories, memories and experiences of meaningful connections between Devon and the world: to show we are a county that is welcoming, open, and globally connected.

Rules of the challenge

Who can join in?

  • Anyone from around the world with a connection to Devon may join in.
  • Anyone from Devon with a meaningful connection to somewhere or someone or something elsewhere in the world may join in.

How does it work?

The challenge will work like this:

1. Find or take a photo, a sentence, a video or a sound file demonstrating your connection.

2. Write one or two sentences which describes your photo / video / other: who or what is it of; how does it connect to you.

For example:

“This is my Great Aunty Shelagh, waiting for the boat which would bring her and her family to England”

“This is my family having fish and chips on our trip to Devon last year; we’re from Toronto”

“This is my Belgian Grandmother, standing outside their final house in Exeter”

3. Write one sentence which describes what you learnt or have taken away from your connection with a person, place, or experience.

For example:

From living in Italy, I learnt to properly appreciate the simplicity of good food. Now, I cook for my friends and family several times a week – I love it!”

“From my Grandmother I learnt the value of perseverance – living in a new country without speaking the language must have been so hard; but she never gave up”.

“We keep the magnet from our trip on our fridge, and I still write to the lady who ran the B&B where we stayed in Exmouth!”

4. Share a photo or a video of your challenge with us, by posting on our Facebook page @tellingourstoriesdevon or emailing it to us at dde@globalcentredevon.org.uk. We’ll then try and post them to our blog!

5. Talk about and share the challenge with your friends, family, neighbours, distant relatives, fellow world-travellers, explorers and curious folk of all kinds – and help us keep Devon connected with the rest of the world!