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My Stand in the Park Journey

By Sam Bullard

At the beginning of March this year, I came across the A Stand in the Park – UK Facebook group. It had only been going for a couple of weeks, and it was still pretty small, with only a handful of stands. I enquired about my area, but there were no stands registered nearby. Fifi Rose (the admin of the group, who I later learned had started the first UK stand and was the powerhouse behind it’s growth) encouraged me to start one, and offered her support to do so.

I don’t mind admitting that I wasn’t convinced to begin with – the idea of putting myself out there (and potentially standing alone) was pretty daunting. What could I really do? I’m just one person! What did I have to offer? Was I even brave enough to do it?

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve never been the most confident person, and over the years I have struggled with periods of quite severe anxiety. The idea of making a stand felt like a giant leap into the unknown, and my anxiety began to stir… but there was also a growing sense of empowerment. Here was a chance to do something: to stand in my truth, and say ‘No, enough is enough.’

The last year had been so lonely, I’d been so isolated, and felt that I couldn’t possibly be the only one. I thought it would be good to meet new people – people who see things the same way I do, and maybe even make some new friends. I thought about it a lot, and kept coming back to ‘What have I got to lose?’

The situation here in the UK, and in so many other countries, was dire: restrictions galore. Our freedoms, liberties and rights had all but disappeared. I have two  young children who have missed out on many of their favourite activities over the past year – fun activities and children’s groups that bring them so much joy, and contribute to stimulating every aspect of their development. My maternal instincts really kicked in, I felt like I needed to stand for my children, for their future, and do something to stop the continuation down this path we are on: a path which seems to be leading towards a truly totalitarian government. This was my opportunity.

Obviously, I decided to bite the bullet! I chose a park to stand in, and registered it with A Stand in the Park. I let the few like-minded friends I had know that I would be standing in the War Memorial Park every Sunday from 10-11am, that they were welcome to join me, and bring their friends. I hoped that at least one or two might turn up. When Sunday came, I was both anxious and excited – full-on butterflies in my stomach! I had no idea what to expect, whether anyone would even come, or what I’d do when I got there. I couldn’t quite believe it when around 25 other people joined me to stand in the park!

It was a really wonderful morning: we hugged, we chatted, we laughed. We socialised like people did before the pandemic response. It was so refreshing! Not only the joy of being in a group of people again, but to be able to chat freely without being made to feel like I’m crazy!! I came away feeling so uplifted, with my energy completely renewed and feeling so much more positive than I had in months.

We are now nine weeks in, and our stand has swelled to around 60 people! I have met wonderful, inspiring people. Every week I have lovely chats, along with insightful discussions about world events, and laugh with my new found tribe. I’ve even done the hokey-cokey for our freedom, and sung my heart out to freedom anthems!! Suffice to say, Sunday is now my favourite day of the week! My wonderful husband and children join me every week, and they have a lovely time too. There are lots of other families who come along with their children, and watching the kids play together freely, enjoying socialising properly is such a beautiful thing. My daughter has actually renamed Sunday as ‘A Stand in the Park Day’ which I love!

Every week, it gives me a renewed sense of energy, of purpose, and most importantly, of hope. Seeing strangers (friends we haven’t met yet) standing together in unity, for truth and freedom, not just at our local stand, but all over the country (and the world!) makes my soul sing. Knowing that every Sunday from 10am, there are thousands of other people standing together in parks, wanting to improve the dire situation we’re all in, is the best feeling.

Over the past two months I have been blessed to be able to play a greater role in a team of truly awesome people, and honoured to have been given the opportunity to contribute more to this amazingly powerful movement. I have had the absolute pleasure of meeting (albeit via Zoom!) the man that started it all in Australia – the legend that is Brady Gunn. On April 24th, I marched alongside our very own legend, Fifi Rose: the beautiful soul who skyrocketed the movement here in the UK.

Getting to know them, and the other members of the core team, has been one of the best things to come out of all this. Our weekly video chats are genuinely one of the other highlights of my week, and I’m continually inspired by their hard work and dedication to the movement; by their unwavering integrity in everything they do. They are genuine, caring and supportive people – and a bloody good giggle too!!

Nine months ago, when I looked into the future, I despaired. It looked (and felt) pretty bleak. The longer things went on, the more I saw life as we knew it being confined to the history books. It was truly frightening, and I felt powerless and hopeless.

Now, with the love, connection and support of the team; with the collective positive energy of all the people making A Stand in the Park, I see the potential for us to steer humanity back in the right direction. I see an opportunity for creating a better world and a brighter future. I see people coming together, uniting as one across the world, people of every background/circumstance/culture (along with  all the other things that have been used to divide us) standing together in peace, with love, and the intention to make life better, and it is the most beautiful sight to see.

For all these things, I am grateful for A Stand in the Park. I am so thankful for the people I am working with; for the people I am talking to in our Facebook groups; for everyone I stand with in Basingstoke, and for each and every person supporting this movement, and making a stand for freedom every Sunday, in all kinds of weather. You are ALL amazing!

To any of you who aren’t standing yet, it’s something I cannot recommend highly enough. You can read about what some of our members have to say about A Stand in the Park and what it means to them, in the Testimonials. The feedback we’ve had has been truly heartwarming, and makes all the hard work completely worthwhile.

Seize this opportunity, and make a stand for freedom! Connect in the physical with a group of like-minded people, and be the change you want to see in the world.

It’s so easy! Just click on the Stands menu, and find your nearest stand. With 15 countries involved, and roughly 600 parks across the world, you’re bound to find one! And if there isn’t one close enough, just take a deep breath and start one – I guarantee you’re not alone in your area. Contrary to what they want us to believe, there are more of us who feel this way than you can possibly imagine. I promise you, you’ll be glad you did!

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