26 March 2021
What is Talking Point?
Cambridge News asks a representative of each local political party to answer a question on a local issue in just 300 words. The answers are then published in the physical copy of the Cambridge News every week. Here, we share our responses.
Today's Question: As we begin to open up following a year of lockdown, are there any temporary schemes you would like to see the council implement to help remedy the damage lockdowns have done to people's physical and mental health over the last year?
The daily grind of lockdown life has taken its toll on everybody, on all ages and all backgrounds. The fear of an unknown and frequently fatal disease has challenged our security and the long term stress of isolation has sapped the enthusiasm and energy of even the most resilient. We will be living with the consequences for a long time to come.
Humans are a naturally social and gregarious species and many of the actions that a council can take will have to do with our interactions with one another. We need to celebrate and re-establish the things that link us to those living around us, and we need to acknowledge those people, neighbours and professionals, who have helped us through difficult times. We also need to take the opportunity to do things differently and not just to return to the way things were before. We can emerge from lockdown resolved to make better connections with those around us and to deepen our relationship with our natural environment.
As the weather warms and as the lockdown eases the focus is naturally on outdoor events. A series of local and socially distanced street parties would allow neighbourhoods to shake off the cobwebs of confinement and re-connect. A ‘Talking Day’ could encourage normally reserved Cantabrigians to make a point of having a conversation with someone they haven’t spoken with before.
One of the lessons of lockdown has been just how vital green spaces and connection with nature is to our mental wellbeing. We could celebrate our emergence with a series of events to make us more aware of the green there is around us. We can plant more trees and wildflowers, we can do more to make our parks and gardens homes for wildlife.
Our response was written Jeremy Caddick. Jeremy is the County Council Candidate for Abbey in the 2021 Election. He has lived in Cambridge for more than 25 years and is the Dean and Chaplain at one of the Colleges in Cambridge University. He was one of the leaders of the campaign for the University to cut its links with fossil fuel companies.