Uncertainty. Panic. Fear. Isolation. These are the words dominating our headlines and are things we have all probably felt over the last few weeks, as the Covid-19 virus continues to take hold around the world.
This is an unprecedented period in our lifetime. Like many countries, people in the UK are facing a prolonged period of isolation, which will bring new disruption and challenges to people’s lives. But amid all the fear and uncertainty, little sparks of hope and positivity have been filtering through. Simple stories of human kindness, bravery, love. They won’t always make headlines, but to me they are more important because they remind us that there is still a way we can help, that when a community pulls together we can make amazing things happen, and that we are not alone.
One of the first examples to circulate was the #viralkindness postcard. Developed by Becky Wass, a lecturer from Cornwall, the postcards can be printed off and distributed to your neighbours with your name and phone number and the things that you can help them with if they are self-isolating, whether that is collecting shopping, posting mail or even just a friendly phone call. The postcard was instantly shared across social media and has already been translated into different languages for use around the world.
There has also been an influx of ‘Covid Mutual Aid’ Facebook groups set up across local areas, as a way of bringing together communities and offering advice and support to those in need. Calls for people to remember their local food banks at a time when donations are low and staff are in short supply; restaurants offering to deliver free meals to local elderly residents and cafes starting local delivery services are just some of the many uplifting stories coming to light in the last few days.
Just last night I watched the video of quarantined communities all across Italy playing instruments and singing in solidarity from their balconies, the national anthem ringing out proudly through the streets. And pictures that children have drawn hung in windows with the symbol of a rainbow and the words 'Andrà tutto bene' – Everything will be alright.
There is no denying that this pandemic will have an immediate and lasting impact on our communities, our business and our lives. I hope that these stories of positivity and kindness continue and that they give hope to those feeling worried or alone over the coming months.