A severe ‘side-effect’ 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 who have rallied to support everyone where possible.
Parliament forced unprecedented restrictions on people in an effort to drive down the infection rate which I felt deeply uncomfortable with this even though many of our decisions were necessary.
I’m not alone and in recent weeks a small number of local volunteers have discussed 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 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.
Connecting with people on whatever issue is the most important and the most enjoyable part of my work as the Member of Parliament for West Cornwall and Scilly. This has been much more difficult over the last 18 months as there is no substitute for a face to face conversation. I’m in the process of pulling together what is a tradition of mine to hold ‘drop-in’ events in as many villages and certainly every town across the constituency.
The patch takes in Helston and the Lizard, across to Praze-an-Beeble, St Erth, Lelant and everything west. So far I’ve identified 45 separate venues for a ‘drop-in which will be open to anyone at all to raise any concern or idea and take place from September 9th through to the end of November. If you have a suggestion of a venue please let me know, details of these events will be available from the start of September and will largely take place on Fridays and Saturdays once I’m back from Westminster.
The relaxation of restrictions continue to be met with mixed reviews (albeit three weeks ago) and I know people want us to do whatever is necessary to rid us of covid forever. I’m of the view that covid is with us to stay and we can successfully live with the virus.
I hope people recognise that the rate of infection has falling across the UK since the lifting of legal restrictions on July 19th. There is reason to feel that you can venture out safely. 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.
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 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 may 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.