Nearly four weeks into our enforced period of lockdown, there has been much discussion of how we are all adjusting to what is becoming our ‘new normal’. This is a defining event of our times and as such, I would argue that the term ‘new normal’, downplays the incredible level of ongoing change we all need to react to as individuals, organisations, communities and as a society, to ensure our survival. We cannot become complacent in our adjustment; we need to be strategic, proactive and positive to remain focused on future sustainability for us all in this time of uncertainty and worry. Essentially, we need to accept, adapt and embrace the changes to come.
This is not a new normal. It’s a new era.
As well as the short term impact, there will be profound change on the social fabric of our society longer term. This crisis will be the catalyst for long term change, change we must anticipate and prepare for, change we must ensure is for the better. This is especially true for the most vulnerable and for vital services, none more so than the NHS and all those we are relying on through such challenging times. As a charity, we have a clear responsibility to demonstrate our resilience, innovation, creativity and determination to react to these changes and continue to support and care for our patients and communities in the most meaningful and effective ways possible.
There will be undoubted hardships and sacrifices ahead, particularly for those who have experienced unimaginable loss and the most vulnerable in our society. We should reflect on what have been the most powerful and effective ways of responding to the Coronavirus pandemic, to consider how best to move forward collectively and support those who will continue to need our help.
What has proved to be most important? Family, friendship, community, philanthropy, generosity, and innovation; coming together as a catalyst for good and using our resources to be kind and caring towards one another. Not all charities and businesses will survive this crisis and therefore our kindness, sense of community and togetherness, as well as our philanthropic actions need to continue once the crisis abates.
Our new normal should involve adjusting to and planning for a new era for the charity sector. We will get through this together if we think differently, consider our purpose and values, and work collectively to maximise the impact of our funds, resources and expertise. We can learn from what we have experienced, and transform that learning into a better strategy for the future of our sector and our communities.
We have a long, hard road ahead. Our patients and communities will continue to depend on us more than ever. And our NHS will continue to need our collaborative support. They deserve our very best, and this new era will demand us to be even better still.