Recorder letters: VE Day spirit,

PUBLISHED: 12:30 10 May 2020

Huge crowds at Trafalgar Square celebrate VE Day in London, marking the end of the Second World War in Europe. Picture: PA

Huge crowds at Trafalgar Square celebrate VE Day in London, marking the end of the Second World War in Europe. Picture: PA

PA Wire/PA Images

Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Recorder readers this week.

VE Day spirit

Cllr Paul Canal, Bridge ward, writes:

On Friday we celebrated VE Day, which marked the end of the War in Europe.

The Second World War was characterised by sacrifice, stoicism, and solidarity. Ordinary people discovered unknown reserves of strength and fortitude.

Compassion and selfl essness were the order of the day. Communities rallied together to help those bombed out of their homes, support the bereaved, feed and house the orphans.

Covid-19 has brought out those same qualities in communities across Redbridge. The courage of our health workers, who deserve a collective George Cross, is humbling.

An unprecedented wave of volunteering has emerged almost from nowhere. Donations are flooding into foodbanks, volunteers delivering parcels to the vulnerable, black cab drivers taking nurses to work for no charge.

The Second World War brought out the best in Britain and its people, even as they suffered unimaginable privations and grief. It is ironic that as we mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day, another national emergency, Covid-19, has once again shown that across all of our communities our borough and our nation has the courage, commitment and compassion to prevail.

Our Frontline UK

Alison Moore, London Assembly member, writes:

Alongside the heroic frontline workers in our NHS, emergency and care services, we should also praise the efforts of the postal workers, couriers, delivery drivers and retail and stockroom workers. They are working incredibly hard and often placing themselves at risk to ensure that we have all the essentials we need during lockdown.

We have sadly heard outrageous reports of some companies failing to enforce social distancing measures in their own workplaces, as well as falling short on providing staff with the protection they need.

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Throughout the Covid-19 outbreak, trade unions have continued to play a vital role in holding employers to account and improving conditions for workers in all sectors and industries. City Hall has also now teamed up with Our Frontline UK to provide mental health and bereavement support to key and essential workers.

However, there is clearly room for the government to play its part in more strongly enforcing corporate responsibility.

Last week, we marked International Workers’ Memorial Day with a minute’s silence to commemorate those who have tragically died whilst doing their job during the pandemic.

The government and we, the British people, must not forget what frontline workers have done for us when this crisis is over. We must ensure they are paid fairly and have proper employment protections. It’s the very least we can do.

Children in lockdown

Lynn Gradwell, director, Barnardo’s London, writes:

The Covid-19 lockdown is hard on families. One of the most distressing aspects has been the increase in cases of domestic abuse with victims getting little or no respite from their abusers and the increased impact of trauma on children’s lives in households where such abuse is prevalent.

Since the lockdown was announced on March 23, charges and cautions for domestic abuse in London have risen by 24 per cent with over 4,000 related arrests in the first six weeks of the restrictions coming into force which equates to nearly 100 arrests a day on average.

We know that early intervention is crucial and through our Phoenix service in Redbridge we are working to improve the emotional health and wellbeing of children and young people who have experienced the trauma of domestic abuse.

As the UK’s largest children’s charity, we also believe the Domestic Abuse Bill, which had its second reading in the house of commons last week, is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to tackle the horrific crime and impact of domestic abuse has on victims and their families.

The Bill introduces a new duty on local authorities to provide support for victims in refuges. While we welcome this support, the Bill does not go far enough, and risks creating a two-tier system, with the majority of victims who remain in the family home not qualifying for this protection, and potentially receiving less support as a result.

It is therefore vital that parliament extends this duty to cover all victims and children - no matter where they live.

We need the government to ensure the Bill includes a statutory duty on public authorities to provide support to all victims, including children, affected by domestic abuse.

Sadly, without the right trauma informed support, children who experience domestic abuse are at risk of becoming trapped in a life-long cycle of violence, alongside managing mental health and substance misuse issues. By strengthening the Bill we can make sure these children have the best possible chance of a positive future.

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