It is only right that we all pay tribute to the many groups and individuals in the Greater New Lodge and indeed across wider society who have sprung into action in response to the Coronavirus crisis. The huge levels of community action undertaken have ensured that the basic needs of so many vulnerable people were able to be met. Without such action it would have been inevitable that the levels of isolation, suffering and neglect within the community would have been much, much more severe.

Concern for Others
It should never be forgotten that the many volunteers that have come forward and that have been working so hard to provide support during these terrible times have been putting themselves and their families at great personal risk. This type of self sacrifice and concern for others is the very essence of community.

Resurgence of Community Spirit
None of us can be sure of what the future holds or what type of social, political, economic changes will occur in the aftermath of this pandemic. However whatever our fears may be, we can certainly all take heart from the current resurgence of community spirit. When communities pull together to support each other we can deal with the toughest of challenges. And when public services such as our local Councils join forces with communities, as has just been shown, then really powerful, effective, positive social action is possible.

Learning the Lessons
We must all learn from this crisis and hopefully emerge from it all the stronger. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is the value of human cooperation. It is crucial that when this crisis has passed that this cooperation continues. Active collaboration within neighbourhoods supported by strong, resourced partnership working between communities and public service providers can ensure that the social cooperation we have witnessed during the pandemic is not just a flash in the pan but provides a pathway to a better future.

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