If there was ever a time to tackle loneliness and isolation it is now. One of the severe ‘side-effects’ of the covid pandemic has been the sharp increase in people who are lonely and isolated and, as a result, feel anxious and fearful. This is a terrible state of affairs for our communities and I have felt deeply unsettled and concerned about the way we have forced this on people in an effort to drive down the infection rate.
I’m not alone and in recent weeks a small number of local volunteers have been discussing with me the opportunity to bring together volunteers, charitable organisations and statutory bodies to find ways to provide help, advice and friendship to anyone who is lonely and isolated or who just wants to be more connected with others. We have identified a premises (which is needed) but most of all the ‘networking’ and natural relationships that will develop will help to address the fear and anxiety people are exposed to.
None of this is a new idea and the 50+ Forum has been active in tackling this problem for over a decade. It has been conversations and emails from people who have been engaged in this issue for so long which has triggered this new concerted effort following the pandemic and the desire to help everyone feel that lifting the measures to control covid-19 can apply to them. We must do all we can to stop people feeling that they can never return to social gatherings and interaction with others due to fear of the virus.
If you would like to be involved in setting up a hub where people can meet, access help, advice and make friends please let me know and we will include you in our efforts! If you or your business is in a position to help financially then the team behind this would be glad to hear from you also. We are in the process of setting up a Community Interest Company and more information will follow.
The relaxation of restrictions has met with mixed reviews and I know people want us to do whatever is necessary to rid us of covid forever. I’m of the view that we can successfully live with the virus. I hope people recognise that the rate of infection is falling across the UK despite the lifting of all legal restrictions on July 19th. In seven days the rate of infection has fallen from over 46,000 to 23,511 (Tuesday’s figure) so there is reason to feel that you can venture out again if you have not already.
I certainly don’t want to feel duty-bound to wear a face covering indefinitely or for people to step out in the road as I walk towards them on a footpath (although it may be the job I do rather than covid that triggers this reaction!!!).
Another outcome of restrictions to control the virus is the increase in tourists making their way to Cornwall. If you can’t travel to your normal seaside location abroad why wouldn’t you head southwest? Personally I believe this excessive demand for a Cornish holiday is temporary. We are already frustrated by the traffic and delays to our local journeys and I’m certain our tourists feel this more acutely. There is a conversation to be had about how we develop our tourism offer for future years to strike the harmony of caring for our environment and communities and enjoying a buoyant economy.