OPINION

Lockdown may have felt lonely but you are not alone – and help is out there

Posted On 02 Oct 2020 at 12:05 am

Lockdown was challenging for all of us. It changed the entire dynamics of our everyday lives. The way we worked, the way we interacted with others, even the way we exercised was impacted.

It was a tough time for everybody, but I know some people suffered more than others.

Sadly, we saw domestic abuse cases spike during lockdown. Many people experienced depression and mental health difficulties. Some lost incomes and jobs and struggled to pay bills and pay rent. Others lost loved ones to the virus.

So, when we came out of lockdown, obviously we hoped all that was behind us and we could look forward to shaping the “new normal” post-lockdown future.

A future where we could keep the best things about lockdown, like cleaner air, more community support and voluntary work – and support for local independent businesses who had gone the extra mile for us.

A future where we could drive down pollution and carbon emissions, foster a circular local economy and build deeper ties with our neighbours and our communities.

I know the latest announcements of increased covid restrictions has come as a shock and is unwelcome news. I feel it too. Many people struggled in lockdown and many are still struggling now and worried about the future.

So, I wanted to use my column this week to reach out to anyone out there who is anxious or needs help and remind you that support is available here in Brighton and Hove.

You can visit the council website and get support with everything from food and shopping to money advice and loneliness.

If you need help to pay for essentials you can’t live without, you can apply for it from our Local Discretionary Social Fund.

If you’re having financial difficulties, there are debt advice services available. Whether you’re struggling to claim the benefits you’re entitled to, having difficulties understanding what support you are eligible for or have debts you need help with, debt advice services can make sure you don’t lose out on anything and can put a plan in place to help you manage your finances.

Please know you are not alone, support is out there and help is available. Let’s all keep coming together and supporting our local businesses, supporting our vulnerable residents and supporting our neighbours and communities.

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

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