The past couple of weeks have seen folk standing on doorsteps or hanging out of windows clapping hands, banging pots and pans, or even playing the bagpipes. All of this in deep appreciation of our fantastic and dedicated NHS and care workers. Very sadly, we have already heard about the death of Doctors and nurses from Covid-19. Each time we have clapped has been an incredibly emotional moment for me, as I know it has been for many others.
When I clap my hands, I think of everyone we are depending upon to help get us through this Covid-19 emergency. Including our NHS and Care staff, the Emergency Services, Council staff, local community groups/organisations, food retail and production workers, our amazing local and national charity organisations, farmers as well as businesses who are altering what they do to help us all. But, perhaps most vitally of all those who are staying at home to keep others safe.
I also want to make particular mention of the amazing volunteers who have signed up to help our NHS through this hugely challenging period. From former healthcare workers coming back into the service to senior medical students stepping up to the mark in the effort to fight the coronavirus. Also people doing call handling jobs or undergoing training in order to provide temporary support to our crucial NHS24 helpline.
As a society, we are facing the most challenging circumstances the majority of us will ever know. Yet the challenge has above all else sparked a remarkable kindness and an eager willingness to do something to help others.
Since the Scottish Government launched the readyscotland.org website last week, offers of voluntary services from businesses, organisations and individuals have flooded in. People are showing they are very much tuned into the needs of the vulnerable in their communities and want to do all they can to help.
Many people are facing real difficulty because of the effective lockdown. From individuals unable to spend time with friends and family, to vulnerable individuals unable to leave their homes. People, who have lost their jobs and businesses, do not know if they will survive. Both the Scottish and UK Governments are pulling out all the stops to provide assistance but many are falling between the stools and are worried about the future for themselves and their families.
Tempting as it might be to feel downtrodden by circumstances, we must also find inspiration in the wonderful examples of human nature displayed in every corner of the country. There are already many unsung heroes in this and they probably do not even recognise just how much they have done.
From the person checking that their neighbour has all the food shopping they need, to those who have taken on “befriender” roles (either over the phone or online) ensuring vulnerable people don’t fall into unhealthy cycles of loneliness. These simple acts of kindness mean so much to the people on the receiving end, and really do make all the difference.
As for me, well I have witnessed a total transformation in the way politics operates. At Holyrood and Westminster people from across the political divides pulling together for the national good. For instance I Chaired the Committee scrutinising the UK Coronavirus Emergency Bill saw people working together, on a cross party basis, to give the Governments new powers they need to protect us all.
Meanwhile locally Alyn Smith MP, our staff, myself and Local Councillors, from all parties, are working hard from home helping as many people as we can or signposting them to the help they need. Our inboxes, as you might imagine, are very much busier and we are constantly on the phone or on line using the likes of skype or zoom to contact people. Please contact us we want to help you.