OPINION

Covid-19, community and kindness

Posted On 25 May 2020 at 12:01 am

I had the pleasure of attending the Brighton and Hove Dialogue Society online Ramadan event on Sunday 17 May.

It was held over Zoom and included live music and marble art performances and brought together local faith leaders, MPs, the Brighton and Hove Interfaith Contact Group, Brighton and Hove Faith in Action and the Fellowship Education Society.

It also served as Councillor Alan Robins’s first mayoral engagement. I want to congratulate Alan again on his appointment. If his speech on Sunday is anything to go by, he is already proving to be an excellent mayor.

At Ramadan, a time for coming together with family, friends and community and sharing in the iftar, to do so online and not in person must be very challenging.

And for Muslims on their own or without digital connectivity at home, the feelings of isolation are more acute.

I would like to thank our Muslim community for everything that you do for residents of Brighton and Hove. Ramadan is a time of charity, compassion, abstinence, and forgiveness.

For Muslims I appreciate that this is an integral part of your faith and does not come and go depending on the challenges being faced by the world.

That said, despite how covid-19 might be affecting you individually and as households – the work you are doing to ensure people do not go hungry and stay connected to each other is wonderful. Thank you.

Last week was also Mental Health Awareness week and I want to remind everyone that if you are struggling there is support available.

The council website has links and contact details of a range of sources of mental health support, including NHS Every Mind Matters, the Sussex Mental Healthline, Mind, the Samaritans and Community Roots. I know this is a difficult time, so please do reach out if you need support.

The theme of the week is “kindness” this year, which during the covid-19 outbreak is on show more than ever, especially here in Brighton and Hove.

The community spirit and daily acts of kindness we are seeing with mutual aid groups, volunteering, donating and checking in on vulnerable neighbours is truly heartening and is part of what makes our city so special.

So now, of all times, let’s keep being kind to each other.

Councillor Nancy Platts is the Labour leader of Brighton and Hove City Council.

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