CEO Blog 7th May 2020

People are starting to talk about getting back to “normal” and waiting to hear about the latest plans from government for a gradual easing of lockdown.

But what is “normal” and can life go back to what it was like BC (Before Covid!)? Should we be thinking about how we can learn from the experience of living through a global pandemic and recalibrate our thinking about what is normal? 

One thing that history has told us is that humans are incredibly adaptable, resourceful and creative and whilst change may feel uncomfortable it brings out the best in our inventiveness and innovation. 

Many rural businesses in Derbyshire have been able to change and adapt their services. 

Farm shops are doing deliveries, milk producers have diverted from ice cream production into bottle milk which they are delivering to customers.  Many people are buying local, whether from the local pub which has turned itself into a convenience store, or from local smaller shops. 

Some businesses are really struggling – farms who have diversified into holiday accommodation, tourist attractions, pubs and restaurants are closed for the foreseeable future, as are our village halls and community buildings.

Realistically I think we can expect that the recovery will take some time.  Some people will be in lock down for some months yet, and people with long-term medical conditions will feel very worried about social contact until we have a widely available vaccine. 

Some businesses will not survive and we at RAD are talking to local partner organisations on how we can make sure that people whose jobs are lost as a result have the support they need.

Hardship Scheme

RAD has a new hardship scheme thanks to fantastic support from The Prince’s Countryside Fund.  This means we can help rural families and individuals in severe hardship with food, bills and emotional support.  

We are also about to launch a new ready meal delivery service providing meals to people who are vulnerable or shielding and unable to cook for themselves, thanks to ongoing funding from Feeding Britain

And we are looking to how we can adapt our training services to provide online webinars or telephone support.

What can we as individuals do?

Can we think about the journeys we make, are they really essential?  Can we think about where we buy our food, can we buy local and reduce food miles?  Can we think about our neighbours and how we can all help each other?  Do we really think about the impact of our daily behaviour and routines on other people and the world around us

This whole experience has made me think, shopping just once a week, not using the car (the battery has gone flat through lack of use!) and ringing my mum just that little bit more often, catching up with friends just to say “how are you” and living a life less complicated.

I am enjoying the peace and quiet, the birdsong, the lack of traffic and aeroplane noise, but I am acutely aware that I am one of the lucky ones

I hope that we can find a safe way of inviting people back into our beautiful county so that they too can experience the beauty and tranquillity.

Beverley Parker - CEO