As we have emerged into Step 4 of our Roadmap for lifting the Covid 19 Restrictions, I know many people have been taking advantage of the lifting of restrictions. Whilst we have to remember that the virus is not over and that there are some sensible precautions we all should take to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe, it is great to see families and friends being able to meet up in larger groups, and the resumption of large-scale events.
Covid 19 has had an impact on all of us to one degree or another, but it is the older generations in our society that have been affected most profoundly. Not all older people have been able to get outdoors or make use of technology to keep in touch with those close to them, and I know the impact of being isolated has hit hard.
We should also remember that it is the older generations who have been most affected by the virus itself, and in December last year my mother sadly lost her battle with Covid. It was such a difficult time for our whole family, particularly coming just a week before Christmas which we knew that we would be spent differently to normal, and at the funeral the following month we had to sit socially distanced with limited numbers. I know many other families have also experienced similar, including the Royal Family, who were subject to the same rules when they gathered for Prince Phillip’s funeral back in April, and I’m sure many would agree that it has made the grieving process even tougher than usual.
Thankfully, many people have spent time during the pandemic reaching out to those isolated, and back in March I visited Two Gates Care Home in Cradley where residents had benefitted from exchanging letters with Health & Social Care students at Halesowen College in a ‘PenPal’ scheme. Students often undertake a work placement at the Home as part of the course, but given the impracticalities caused by the pandemic they found other ways to support the residents, including by delivering hampers at Christmas time.
It was also pleasing to hear recently that Amritpal Singh Khan, who runs the Nisa Local on Woodbury Road in Hurst Green, being honoured as a ‘Halesowen North Community Champion’. During the pandemic, as well as keeping the shop open he also offered a free delivery service to those who were elderly, shielding or vulnerable. I know that there are many like Amritpal who have taken the time to look out for their neighbours in these difficult times, and I want to thank everyone locally for their efforts.
I hope that the community spirit that has been developed during the pandemic will long continue, and that we will always keep an eye out for those who may need our help.
This article first appeared in the Halesowen & Dudley News on 5th August 2021.