Alone we can do so little – together we can do so much

By David Gledhiil, Marketing & Communications Lead

THERE is something about a crisis that brings out the very best in people helping them find creative solutions to problems – the bigger the problem, the better the solution.

Over the last few months organisations, and charities across the Bay have had to look long and hard at the way they do things and have had to change the way they work as a result.

They have had to rewrite the rule book as the fight against COVID-19 became a daily reality changing lives beyond recognition for the majority of residents of the Bay.

Fortunately there were people in place who were prepared to do just that and they come together in an unprecedented way to ensure that no-one went hungry, no-one was left isolated and everyone got the help and support that they needed.

Prior to this crisis, the very idea that some charities would work together was at times an anathema, particularly when they were forced to compete for the same pot of funds, but when COVID struck in March, they ignored that and pitched in together.

The need to work collaboratively between officers of statutory authorities like the council and the NHS and charity workers and volunteers was also recognised as everyone worked for the benefit of the community as a whole.

We rewrote the book. We put everything behind us and we started again and the results have been overwhelmingly fabulous, so much so that we now know that we cannot go back to the way we were before.

No way.

We are stronger together and there is a new found respect between groups of people that have never seen the need to work alongside each other before and while the future looks tough, the response being lined up also looks formidable.

COVID has not beaten us, on the contrary it has made us stronger and has made us look to each other for answers at a time when some issues were threatening to divide us.

Last week more than 120 people joined a Zoom call organised by Torbay Council, which sought to cement the ties that been made at every level in, what we have long recognised as, incredibly resilient communities across the Bay.

We always hoped it would be the case, but now we know that when the going gets tough there is an amazing network of people ready to get going and do whatever it takes.

Politics didn’t come into it when the crisis hit, and neither should they going forward, what is important are the residents of Torbay, and they need to be kept at the top of the agenda – just as they were when COVID-19 first struck back in March.

No-one held back when the plea went out to find staff for the helpline – organisations stepped up, councils stepped up, the NHS stepped up and individuals stepped up to volunteer.

We knew what needed to be done and we did it! No mean feat in a society normally split by politics, riven by the arguments around Brexit and delineated by wealth and poverty.

None of that mattered and neither should it be allowed to dominate as we look to the future and work out what we need to do to rebuild the Bay for the good of all regardless of age, wealth or social standing.

The council’s two hour Zoom call was a celebration of partnership and collaboration. It sought out the finest that the Bay has to offer and explored how we can deliver the very best version of Torbay for everyone.

We know that our communities can step up when challenged as they have done during the crisis, but we also know that, regardless of COVID’s next twist and turns, damage has already been done and we need to work together to tackle that.

That is where you come in – all of you, your friends, colleagues, neighbours and acquaintances – everyone, because at the end of the day, communities need to look after themselves.

We are in this for the long haul and there is a great deal of work to do and to do that we need to work together and to trust each other to do what is right for everyone.

The first big steps were taken during the crisis, now we need to build on those new relationships for the benefit of us all, or as 19th century activist, Helen Keller said “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”