Tributes to the 'invaluable efforts' of thousands of volunteers across Yorkshire

The Government and senior clergy have paid tribute to the “invaluable” efforts of thousands of volunteers and called for the spirit of kindness shown during the once in a generation health crisis to repair community divides.

Speaking exclusively to the Yorkshire Post, Minister for Civil Society Baroness Diana Barran said she hoped the “human connections” formed during the pandemic, as neighbours come together to support isolated members of their communities and 750,000 people volunteer to work with the NHS, would continue long after the virus subsedes.

She said the Government was looking to learn from the “extraordinarily important” actions of volunteers and “thinking actively” about how they could harness that sense of community for the future.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“We will probably only know quite how important it is in the months and years to come,” Baroness Barran said. “This crisis has brought into very stark relief just how valuable human connections are, so I very much hope that they continue. I think we have to be realistic in that some people will be facing massive challenges and problems coming out of this.”

Baroness Diana Barran

Across the region, from small street-by-street WhatsApp groups, to organised council-led relief efforts, people are coming together to ensure those who are isolated are kept fed and know they are not alone, while those under financial pressure have found support.

Join our new coronavirus Facebook group for the latest confirmed news and advice as soon as we get it www.facebook.com/groups/yorkshirecoronavirusThe Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu, praised the “tremendous sacrificial work” being done by volunteers across Yorkshire “putting others before self”.

He told The Yorkshire Post: “In the midst of this very challenging and stressful time for everyone, it makes my heart sing for joy to witness and hear about the tremendous sacrificial work being done by so many volunteers.

“When Jesus of Nazareth described what God’s kingdom of justice and love looked like, he said it was full of love and mercy, putting others before self. Just what we’re seeing. Thank you. You are fantastic.”

While the Government and business had played a “critical role” in making some support efforts happen, for example food deliveries, Baronnes Barran said the striking way in which communities had responded in “helpfulness and with small acts of kindness” had been much better organised in a “local, spontaneous way”.

“As a government, we should share some of the examples that have been successful and in overcoming the practical problems that may have arised,” she added.

Community campaigner Kim Leadbeater, sister of murdered Batley MP Jo Cox, said the response to the coronavirus showed that “most people are inherently good people who want to help each other”.

“This is the whole philosophy that Jo spoke of when she talked about having more in common,” Ms Leadbeater said. “It’s not about agreeing on everything, it's not about pretending that we’re all the same, it's about when it comes down to it, and we’re all vulnerable, the thing we have in common is connecting on a human level. That power of connection has never been more important.”

-------------------------------------------------

Editor’s note: first and foremost - and rarely have I written down these words with more sincerity - I hope this finds you well.

Almost certainly you are here because you value the quality and the integrity of the journalism produced by The Yorkshire Post’s journalists - almost all of which live alongside you in Yorkshire, spending the wages they earn with Yorkshire businesses - who last year took this title to the industry watchdog’s Most Trusted Newspaper in Britain accolade.

And that is why I must make an urgent request of you: as advertising revenue declines, your support becomes evermore crucial to the maintenance of the journalistic standards expected of The Yorkshire Post. If you can, safely, please buy a paper or take up a subscription. We want to continue to make you proud of Yorkshire’s National Newspaper but we are going to need your help.

Postal subscription copies can be ordered by calling 0330 4030066 or by emailing [email protected] Vouchers, to be exchanged at retail sales outlets - our newsagents need you, too - can be subscribed to by contacting subscriptions on 0330 1235950 or by visiting www.localsubsplus.co.uk where you should select The Yorkshire Post from the list of titles available.

If you want to help right now, download our tablet app from the App / Play Stores. Every contribution you make helps to provide this county with the best regional journalism in the country.

Sincerely. Thank you.

James Mitchinson

Editor