Greenock Telegraph 3rd July 2020

As I write this it is a very grey dreich Inverclyde morning. We are 100 days into lockdown and despite continually improving statistics, including many days without any recorded deaths due to covid19, there is still no clear exist path back to normality.

Indeed, there are many questions pertaining to what that normality will look like. But without turning this into some sugar-coated sickly-sweet Disney version of reality there have been some quite amazing accomplishments by citizens of Inverclyde during this crisis. Before Covid19 Inverclyde Community Action Response Group (ICARG) did not exist and yet through application and cooperation across local organisations they have created a powerful cohesive programme that has resulted in over 25,000 meals being funded, prepared and delivered to homes across Inverclyde. 1,000 prescriptions collected and delivered, 4,000 food boxes delivered and over 8,000 ‘keep in contact’ phone calls made. And these phone calls have gone from averaging fifteen minutes to averaging forty-five minutes. This is on top of the existing pre Covid19 services. This is additional demand that some people didn’t believe even existed. And yet we know at the grass roots it does and volunteers combined with established community workers took on the challenge and beat it.

Often, it is not just about the meal or the prescription, as highlighted by the telephone service, it’s the human contact that matters. A knock on the door to deliver food means somebody knows you exist, somebody is looking out for you, somebody cares.

Eventually, the dark clouds will roll away and when that happens, we must not forget the sense of community spirit that so many people have embraced to such great effect in these times. Inverclyde is so much better than some of the damning statistics that we read about. Sometimes we just need to believe in ourselves, believe goals can be achieved and work together.