How many times have we heard, since the lockdown began, ‘We are all in this together’? Given that this is pretty much the first pandemic for all of us, it does, in some ways, create a sense of togetherness.
But, as the writer Damian Barr said recently, “We are not all in the same boat. We are in the same storm. Some are on super-yachts. Some have just one oar.”
Trafford was already a place of massive inequalities. Areas of poverty, unemployment, poor housing and lack of opportunity, next to some of the most affluent parts of all of Greater Manchester.
This Covid-19 storm has certainly brought pain and distress to people across all of Trafford. But, some of us will sail through with our health and jobs intact, some will lose one or both. Others will feel part of a crew, while others will feel like they are rowing alone. However, it has and will continue to be borne most harshly by those who were already struggling the most.
I’ve heard of countless families who were just about keeping food on the table, to suddenly face redundancy at a time when most companies are not hiring; the fear from a woman trapped inside the home with her abuser; to the elderly gentleman who relied on charity lunch clubs for both food and company, who is now completely alone.
Each story is a reminder that my own frustration at being stuck at home, missing my family and friends, are so small in comparison. That this is a time to contribute what we can to help those who are really struggling to stay afloat.
As a newbie at Trafford Housing Trust, I have been struck by the responsibility the organisation has taken to support those struggling in our community. At the beginning of the crisis, by donating £100,000, we managed to get the borough-wide Community Response up and running as quickly as possible. Working with charities, the council, community and faith groups across the borough we helped to set up services to connect people in need to vital local advice and provisions, from food parcels to wellbeing calls.
As this pandemic bites and more people lose their income, run out of savings or whose mental health may take a turn for the worse, we need to come together to make sure we can sustain this vital support for our friends and neighbours. So much of this service rests on tiny local charities and their staff and teams, who need basic funding for nappies, food parcels, petrol, and other costs, in order to keep running.
This is why, on behalf of the people of Trafford, we have launched a campaign to help raise enough funds to sustain the Community Response through the coming months. Centralising the fundraising for all these groups is designed to put 100% of the funds raised frontline, without the administrative burden for the groups who are working so hard to help people in need.
Please give what you can: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/TraffordCrisisFund
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