On the 23rd of March 2020, most people’s worlds shrunk to a small radius within walking distance. As we were asked to stay at home, our local communities became an even bigger source of support and comfort.
In towns and villages across the four nations of the UK, immense acts of kindness were offered by strangers as people began to rally around to reassure the most vulnerable in their community. Throughout, the Covid-19 pandemic has been a shared experience across local communities and the four nations of the UK despite the physical distance placed between us.
While stories have surfaced from all around the country revealing acts of kindness and displays of support across very different communities, unique shared experiences really come to light at the local level. The reality of hundreds of thousands of deaths is difficult to conceive, but hearing of the loss of your neighbours’ loved ones, or knowing a nurse who has worked back-to-back shifts on a Covid-19 ward, can be much more resolutely understood. The National Covid Memorial Day campaign is for all those people; everyone whose life has been changed by the Covid-19 pandemic in some way. This is why it is essential that lived experiences sit at its heart.
As part of the National Covid Memorial Day, we are calling on the government to erect a new Covid Memorial Monument on Whitehall, where wreaths can be laid to commemorate all the lives lost and lives changed throughout the pandemic. It is crucial that a national monument is constructed here, to serve as a reminder to future generations and political leaders to learn from the Covid-19 pandemic and to treat pandemic preparedness as a prerequisite, not as an afterthought.
Although we are calling for a Covid Memorial Monument in London, it wouldn’t be fitting for it to stand alone. The response to the outbreak of Covid-19, and therefore the lived experiences of the people, has differed from village to village, town to
town, city to city, and between each of the four nations and therefore it is only appropriate that each has its own Covid Memorial if local communities choose to have
As part of the Covid Memorial Day campaign, we have written to the local government associations in each of the four nations country in the hope that they may choose to remember the lives lost and lives changed in their local community too.