The world is full of everyday inspiring heroes. who have a desire to help others, offer their time, skills and resources in order to meet needs but it is not always easy to bring them together. This has become more apparent than ever with the coronavirus crisis where it has been inspiring to see huge amounts of people going above and beyond to help the most vulnerable in their local communities. Whilst these have been very ad hoc and more localised and informal so far, we seek to coordinate such people and channel these efforts so their impact is amplified and to ensure they deliver support to those who need it the most. In addition to new groups of volunteer efforts that have been set up during this crisis, existing organisations from care homes and homeless shelters to foodbanks, refugee camps and more, will also now need more help from volunteers than ever before with ever greater amounts of pressure being put on them. For many, the virus has exacerbated pre-existing hardship and the issue looks set to extend beyond those who are currently on the streets to those who may find themselves there in the coming weeks with rapidly rising unemployment levels. Furthermore, there are many well meaning people who would like to help in some way but do not know where to begin, or others who would not normally have volunteered to help but now have more time and we are set up to refer them to opportunities to make a difference.
Our world has changed with almost every aspect of how we all live being affected including how we behave, work, move, learn and simply interact with each other. The need for service and a community response to help others has increased more than ever before and we all have an important role to play in order to beat this calamity. At the same time, whilst the ways in which we can engage has been impacted, what has not changed is the power we all have as individuals to create a positive impact on the lives of others, and how our efforts are amplified further when we work together sharing our time, talents, voice and resources to make a difference in our communities and improve the world. With growing pressure and strain being put on public services and governments around the world, we can help bridge the gap and step up to lighten the burden on those most affected. Every action, no matter how small, is significant and those who answer the call, show kindness and courage, are genies who fulfil the needs and wishes of others and act as shining points of light in a period of darkness. There is light and hope in the midst of all of the negatives and there is a need and ways we can all serve together and make an enormous contribution, each doing our own part.
The pandemic might threaten our health and day to day ways of life, but it should not undermine our capacity for love or empathy, which the world needs more of than ever before. We all have something we can give and must act together today to make sure nobody is left behind or forgotten, in order to protect the most vulnerable in society, save lives and make a positive difference to our shared world. Whilst anyone can be at risk of being infected by the virus, it is important to understand that there are large groups of people and demographics who are more vulnerable and need greater support. These include but are not limited to people who are immunocompromised with pre-existing health issues, the elderly, disabled people, people with mental health conditions and those in society who are most isolated. The experience is not the same for everyone and it is key to recognise that the pandemic is not some great leveller but in fact, it exacerbates existing systemic inequalities, injustices and insecurities in society, hitting the most vulnerable groups hardest and disproportionately impacting, infecting and killing the poorest people and those from ethnic minorities. As the pandemic widens divisions and deepens inequality in society, this very inequality worsens its spread and deadliness, acting as a multiplier in a vicious self-reinforcing cycle. The huge ramifications from the pandemic and consequences of the response to it by countries across the world could last for many years to come and the speed and depth of any recovery remain to be seen. With this in mind, those who are healthy and fit can and should take concrete actions and offer invaluable support to those who are less fortunate, making sure no one is left behind to face the crisis alone. So please pay it forward as every effort, even just for a few minutes, will make a significant positive difference.