A video message from Nick in Sheffield

"If we are not community, we are nothing"

Throughout the Coronavirus crisis, Church Action on Poverty will be posting messages and reflections from a number of our partners around the country.

Here, Nick Waterfield, from Parson Cross Initiative in Sheffield, looks ahead to the end of the outbreak, and what might happen next.

If you want to watch his video, above, perhaps grab a tea of a coffee first and spend a few moments reflecting with Nick. Alternatively, an abridged version of his message is below.

Let’s spend some time together, reflecting on the Coronavirus situation as it is at the moment, and what implications that might have for all of us who are concerned about issues around poverty and the situation in the UK and coming out on the other side. While we are in it, and all our concerns, prayers and worries are in the immediate, I think it is important still that we take time out both to care for ourselves and to already think about what happens on the other side.

We know there will be more sadness, there will be more hardship to come, but I think already there are signs of what we need to put in place for once we have come through this.

We’ve seen a deep affection and also a deep acknowledgement of the need for a good quality health service available for all at all times. We can’t pay for that by any means other than taxation or by social responsibility. It’s a shared resource.

This crisis has shown perhaps more than anything practical ever could do, the interdependentness of each other. If we are not community, we are nothing.

It has also shown that there has been an over-reliance on non-statutory and charity responses. It’s worried me, as somebody who has run a food bank for nine years here in Sheffield that at least in these initial phases that the government, locally and nationally, has seen food banks as a means of distributing food to more and more people. Food banks that were never set up even to feed the numbers we were feeding before the crisis are now being seen to feed even more, as if that response was somehow appropriate.

Reflect about what is it that we want to be as a society going forward. How will we value community, value each and every citizen? How will we ensure that people are not reliant on charity but that as a society we see that inter-connectedness and we learn to explore it in new ways?

How, as a society, may we take this terrible, terrible set of events across the world as an opportunity to reshape the world, to reshape our attitude to climate change, to hunger and to poverty? How may we see this as a God-given opportunity to actually reimagine the world, and out of the hardship, the misery, the sadness and heartbreak that we will inevitably, sadly, have to go through, how might we see this as an opportunity to build something better on its back?

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