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What more can we do to tackle the impact of coronavirus here?

April 1, 2020 9:52 PM
By Jon Alexander

Jon Alexander

There is more that can be done, and more that we'll all need to do - but I have to start by celebrating what's already happening. The response of Sevenoaks community has been truly awesome.

Food businesses and restaurants are doing what they can, Life On High for example keeping staff employed providing free food for key workers and the most vulnerable. Others delivering to those who can't get out.

Huge numbers of people have signed up to Care For Our Community help groups, and swelled the numbers of volunteers working with local charities like Age UK. Residents associations are supporting their streets. The District Council has stepped in with admirable speed to structure this support with their Volunteer Registration webpage

The Town Council has established a charitable fund to allow voluntary group funds to be channelled to greatest effect. We're pulling together as a community in a way that isn't happening everywhere.

We should all be proud of this response - and galvanised to do more. The fact is, this is going to get harder, and it's going to go on for a while: Boris Johnson's claim that we'll beat it in 12 weeks is as irresponsible as his claim on a bus. Reliable, trusted information is vital.

One thing that's getting attention is the human need for social - if not physical - contact. Working out how virtual gatherings through Skype, Zoom and others can be made available to more people is a challenge.

This isn't just about older people. Childhood and particularly teenage years are times when humans badly need social interaction to develop healthily.

The biggest thing, though, and something we all can and must do, is stay home, and keep our distance. We'll get through this, but it will be a marathon not a sprint.

Jon Alexander