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Blog: Among the Turmoil & Uncertainty of Covid-19, Jersey's Community Spirit Shines Through

Date
29 June 2020

Blog: Among the Turmoil & Uncertainty of Covid-19 Jersey’s Community Spirts Shines Through

 

Covid-19 has affected lives, communities and economies worldwide. Yet, amongst the heart-breaking stories of personal loss and devastation, we have also seen countless stories of kindness, of care, and of amazing resilience and profound hope. Islanders have responded and rallied, and throughout this difficult time the community spirit in Jersey has enabled a light to keep shining amongst the darkness brought by fear and uncertainty. Acts of kindness have reminded us just how important ‘community’ is in Jersey. Friends, family and strangers alike have come together for the good of every islander and have reminded us on every level what it means to be a part of this Island.

As export markets closed, local businesses, usually very reliant upon overseas markets, were dealt a powerful and very painful blow overnight, including Jersey’s fishermen and farmers. In response to this, local residents stepped up to the plate, quite literally, rapidly changing their shopping habits in a move to purchase more local produce to support the local producers. Such generosity of spirit allowed most of these local businesses the ability to redesign their trading patterns, meaning they could sell more of the produce of both land and sea to the local community than ever before.

Businesses themselves also wanted to play their part in supporting the wider community and many began offering free delivery services to the elderly and those self-isolating! This not only offered people shielding and those confined to their homes the same access to some basic necessities (as well as some wonderful local luxuries) but spoke even more eloquently of Jersey’s warm and inclusive community spirit.

Other local businesses, particularly those less immediately and financially affected by the pandemic, have also shone through in their generosity and acts of kindness. Many, having seen a need that could never have been imagined a few short months ago, have given very generously towards the purchase of PPE and further supplies of ventilators. This is clear evidence that the warm-hearted Island spirit is also woven into the fabric of the business community.

Further to this, while some locals began to shop for food and toiletries for complete strangers who were at greater risk than themselves of complications from Covid-19, others even went as far as cooking and delivering meals for those in need, or took on new roles at work, or worked longer hours to serve their community in its time of need!

Locals even took to their sewing machines, some unused for years, turning fabric from curtains and old clothes into facemasks and offering them to anyone in need! And other enterprising and generous folk, set up new mini-markets, selling their creations and then donating their profits to local charities who have been struggling to raise funds during the pandemic. The stories of such acts of kindness and community spirit are quite endless!

Islanders have even begun online chat meetings for friends and neighbours stuck in their homes and suffering the ill effects of loneliness and fear. Local charities quickly redesigned their services, taking these online where possible or otherwise contacting clients and chatting by phone. Many islanders have already expressed their gratitude for these wellbeing check-ins and the support they have offered, so it now seems these will continue post-Covid-19. One very good outcome from an awful situation!

Such adversity in the face of turmoil has also prompted businesses to extend their wellbeing strategies for staff forced to work from home in isolation or while in the midst of difficult family situations, to ensure their wellbeing and comfort, not just their productivity! And businesses are also, as a result of these imposed changes, now committing themselves to even greater care for their staff into the future, post Covid-19 with not just well-being strategies but adapting and changing the way staff work to be more flexible where needed.

Very quickly the Government of Jersey relocated staff to create a new, broad-based volunteer scheme, and within hours hundreds of islanders had offered their services, many coming out of retirement, others willing to take on extra shifts, and some even offering to retrain at speed to take up new essential roles, many in front-line services, to help the efforts! The Government also developed ‘Connect Me’ an online resource which provided a central place for individuals to find out how and where they can help in the Island’s efforts. It also provided information on mental and physical health well-being services to those in need. Another great initiative as part of ‘Connect Me’ was the Bailiff’s Community Fund. The fund allows members of the public to anonymously make monetary donations to help in the Island efforts to mitigate Covid-19 by providing equipment and other items that will protect and enable frontline workers to continue their roles effectively. The response so far to the fund from the public has been remarkable and has made a significant impact on the Island’s ability to properly and safely combat the virus.

Despite the turmoil, fear, loss, hardship, change and uncertainty brought about by Covid-19, it has been the kindness, generosity, perseverance, support and good-nature of Jersey residents that has meant we have been able to maintain some sense of calm, normality and positivity throughout these difficult days, weeks and months. These extraordinary, unprecedented, and uncertain times have allowed Jersey’s radiant community spirit to shine through with awesome brilliance.

 

If you would like to know more about how Jersey’s response to Covid-19 or would like to read the latest news and blogs about life in Jersey see our News & Blogs section. For more information about moving and living in Jersey contact a member of the team today on locatejersey@gov.je / 01534 440604

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