The Coronavirus pandemic has put an unprecedented strain on our public services, the people who work in them and the most vulnerable members of our community.
But what has shone through, throughout this crisis, is the solidarity and support we have shown each other and those on the front line. It hasn’t surprised me to see the kindness or the selfless way our communities are standing shoulder to shoulder – whilst having to stay apart.
Perhaps the great success of this period has been the way all parts of society have joined together. Early on in this pandemic, I worked with volunteers and local organisations to try and help people access the food and supplies they needed. In partnership with Accessibility Powys, Brecon’s Oti Kalo café, Cllr Meredith and Cllr Rijnenberg, we’ve formed a scheme called One Brecon. One Brecon is there to support our community by making sure medication and essential supplies are getting to residents who need help during this period.
Supporting Brecon through this outbreak takes more than any of us can do individually. That’s why the contributions from the GP surgery, Pharmacists, Powys Association of Voluntary Organisations, Dial-a-Ride, the Foodbank, the St John Centre, the business community and residents who’ve stepped forward to give their time and expertise has helped so much and enabled us to help those in need.
By working together, we have already supported more than 500 people.
Alongside this, I’ve continued my work as County Councillor for St John Ward, taking up issues to ensure families receive payments for Free School Meals, emergency housing repairs take place and vulnerable citizens are supported. I’ve backed the Council’s work in response to COVID-19 when it’s been right and challenged its decision making when it’s been left wanting.
Our weekly get together, showing support for our key workers from our doorsteps and clapping together is inspiring. Like you, I do it for those who are leaving their own families at home, turning up for work and putting in the shifts to keep us safe and well.
As we emerge from this crisis and when the clapping is over, it will be up to us to speak up for our public services. We will be needed to speak out to protect them from another decade of punishing austerity – continue to show our support – and make sure they are never allowed to be so undervalued again.
This article was written by Cllr Matthew Dorrance and published in the Thursday 30th April 2020 edition of the Brecon and Radnor Express.