What have we been through and what have we learnt
There can be no doubting the impact of the pandemic on the Isle of Wight. Those families who have lost loved ones, those recovering from physical and mental scars are the most obvious victims in need of recognition and support. Those who have lost their jobs, homes or their business, missed out on education, suffered from physical or mental abuse also require the help of the wider population and the organisations funded by the community to respond.
The Island takes great pride in the way all parts of the community came together to respond to the life threatening and life limiting environment created in the first half of 2020. The network of volunteers organised at really short notice to provide much needed assistance to the most vulnerable, the businesses who repurposed themselves to manufacture protective equipment, the local support groups on the ground and on social media who helped people get through, and a general sense of looking out for each other and going the extra mile that underpinned the selfless giving of time. All this combined with a complete re‑tasking of public services to deal with the threat and impacts. Key workers across health, social care, education, transport, logistics and retail kept key services going at no small risk to personal safety.
This collective will and “can do” spirit that was so evident in responding to the emergency provides an excellent foundation to be sustained and grown in actioning recovery. Some key lessons and principles that helped in responding to the emergency to carry forward in recovery included:
- Mutual trust and respect
- Effective communications
- Pooling knowledge and resources
- Giving mutual aid where needed
- Co-designing solutions
The main actions that were taken in responding to the pandemic are summarised in the Community, Economic and Place recovery sections of the plan to remind us of what is possible and how, when challenged, action is taken to great effect.