There has been a lot of change in the last few months due to Covid-19 within the UK.
We have all experienced change personally as we've had to adapt our home and work lives to ensure we keep ourselves and families safe; and for many it is not just about protecting themselves and their families from this devastating virus. One of the biggest changes I have seen in the past nine weeks is how our communities have come together to keep those most vulnerable safe.
When we think of carers we often think of those who take on the role professionally, and although a vocation for many, it is a career and paid employment. Across our communities we now have a bigger caring population than we have ever did have before. People who didn't actively care for anyone previously, but in these difficult times have wanted to do what they can to help - whether that is caring for an elderly relative, someone who has been advised to isolate for health reasons, or anyone currently unwell - it has been uplifting to see how families and communities have come together.
Each week we stand together and quite rightly clap to say thank you to those who are on the front line fighting against coronavirus. We can really never thank these individuals enough for what they do.
This week I would also like to recognise those who have taken on a voluntary caring role, to check in on a neighbour or friend, ensure the shopping gets done, medications get delivered, and even just calling for a chat. In these uncertain times, acts of kindness and support can make all the difference in someone's life.
As we think of those caring within our communities, I am reminded that many people have caring responsibility for someone in their household. The hidden heroes of our community who everyday take care of a close friend or family member, and those who are currently doing so without any respite and with limited support and help from others.
I think particularly about young carers, for whom this time will be particularly difficult and, without school and the support groups available to them, must feel quite isolating.
I would also like to thank those organisation who support voluntary carers to carry out their role and recognise the contribution that these hidden heroes make.
Whether you are in a caring role in the NHS, in the community or at home, paid or unpaid, long term or new to the role - I want to thank you for the contribution you make to our communities of Wiltshire and Swindon. Every action you take and every minute you give to support someone else is greatly appreciated.