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Community has great suggestions for the future after lockdown

Following a letter in last week’s Stroud News and Journal, the Green Party has been overwhelmed with great ideas on how to ‘Build Back Better’ in our District after lockdown ends.

Whilst lockdown has been extremely challenging, it has also highlighted the benefits of using technology such as video calls to reduce unnecessary travel – although face to face contact with friends and family is also greatly missed. Common themes have been the huge reduction in needing to drive, increase in time spent outdoors and in nature, the value of time, kindness and community spirit and looking after our physical and mental health.

When asked to imagine the type of community that we would like to be part of in the future, people called for more community enterprises, a society based on cooperation and not competition – where everyone matters. There were calls for a society which integrates the farming community and the consumer, with for example, more frequent and affordable markets in each town in the District.

There were also clear messages for our local councils and government, with demands for more cycle lanes, better public transport, more support for local business, and improving the energy efficiency of all homes. Also wanted is more community support for elderly and young; with more spaces in care homes and ensuring children can return to school safely. Another prominent wish is the introduction of Universal Basic Income to ensure that nobody within our community is forced to rely on foodbanks or to work in a gig-economy with zero-hour contracts with little employee rights.

75% of people considered tackling the climate crisis as part of the recovery from coronavirus as ‘very important’.

Green Council Leader, Martin Whiteside, who launched the survey said:

“It’s clear the people of Stroud District have strong views on this, all of us have been affected by the virus, and we have worked together to keep our communities safe. People now seem to want to work together on the recovery and are full of suggestions on how to build back better. We are still keen to hear more views – so please add yours to the short survey which you can find here.  We also plan to invite respondents to some on-line webinars to further listen to people’s views.”