St Albans/Welwyn/Hatfield Update 13th May 2020
As we are experiencing the eighth week of lockdown in the United Kingdom I have been heartened by the many acts of kindness witnessed in local neighbourhoods as well as examples of ‘community spirit’ alive and well. In addition to organisations and businesses showing their generosity by providing much-needed equipment and food supplies to frontline services such as hospitals and doctors’ surgeries, here are just a few examples of what individuals and groups have been doing to offer their appreciation and support in our local area:
- Attaching messages of support and thanks to bins to express thanks to our refuse collectors for continuing to work to keep our streets safe and clean
- Individuals giving ‘concerts’ from within their own homes ‘broadcast’ on social media to raise funds for the NHS
- Local groups being established to sew scrubs and laundry bags for the NHS
To bring a smile to everyone’s face, local families have erected displays of teddy bears depicting their participation in various activities. There has been a veterinary surgery, a car mechanic’s, bears fishing, sunbathing and enjoying a picnic! There have also been many examples of ‘chalk artwork’ with thank you messages to the NHS, rainbows, wonderful pictures to make us smile and even games of hopscotch and snakes and ladders to encourage us to be active. These have been a great source of fun for those of us on our daily walk.
It is heart-warming to witness many neighbours and local residents who under normal circumstances would be rushing about their daily business, stopping to chat with each other as they pass in the street. Many are still regularly joining together to clap the NHS on a Thursday evening and some have even added to the occasion by playing musical pieces together across their gardens for others to enjoy.
VE Day saw lots of communities joining together, all at a safe distance of course. At 11:00 am many across the nation joined to stand for a two-minute silence, some marking the end of this time of respect with a bugler playing the Last Post. This was followed by numerous celebrations in the form of street parties, with neighbours erecting tables and chairs at the end of their gardens, enjoying tea and cakes whilst toasting the occasion with their neighbours across the road. Local police officers were also spotted cycling around, enjoying in the festivities whilst ensuring we all kept safe.
Of course, we recognise that for some these times have been marked by separation and tragic loss and our thoughts are with them. Whilst we all acknowledge that the future is still uncertain and we don’t know when we will be able to enjoy meeting together with loved ones in person once again, we do know that this time will come to an end. In the meantime, it has been so uplifting and inspiring to see how people have rallied to support each other through such challenging times, strengthening a tangible sense of community.