Commission recommends how Covid pandemic should be remembered across the UK

18 Sep 2023 02:49 PM

THE UK Commission on Covid Commemoration’s final report on how the Covid pandemic should be remembered across the UK has been published

The Commission has made 10 recommendations to the Government on how to make sure the events of the pandemic and the experiences we all went through are not forgotten.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport will now work with other government departments and the Devolved Administrations to consider carefully the Commission’s wide-ranging recommendations and respond in due course.

The Commission’s recommendations include preserving existing memorials, including the National Covid Memorial Wall in central London, holding a national day of reflection every year and identifying green spaces across the UK to serve as Covid memorial spaces.

The Chair of the UK Commission on Covid Commemoration, Nicky Morgan, yesterday said:

The Covid pandemic changed the lives of everyone across the UK and its impact is still felt very deeply by those who lost loved ones and those who are still suffering from the effect of the virus.

That’s why it is so important that we don’t let this vitally important period in our history be forgotten and we hope our recommendations will mean that the loved ones we have lost and the sacrifices made by so many during the pandemic will be remembered for years to come.

The Commission made their recommendations following a period of public consultation which saw thousands of people from across the UK give their views on how the pandemic should be remembered.

Groups consulted included bereaved families, young people, the scientific community and the social care, transport and retail sectors.

The Commission has also recommended that a national symbol be created to represent the pandemic, and a Covid commemoration website be set up to promote the proposed day of reflection and provide details of local memorials.

Cabinet Office Minister, Baroness Neville-Rolfe, yesterday said:

It is right that we mark the extraordinary sacrifices made during the pandemic and continue to recognise the contributions of all those who helped shape the UK’s response. I want to thank the Commissioners and the Chair for their important work.

Communities across the UK have already started to find ways of commemorating those unprecedented times, and the Government looks forward to considering the Commission’s wide-ranging recommendations and how we may support these efforts going forward.

Education also sits at the heart of the Commission’s recommendations, with the suggestion that schools and colleges teach future generations about the pandemic, highlighting people’s experiences, the role of science and the importance of a resilient society. Oral histories would also continue to be collected from groups including bereaved families, frontline workers, volunteers, the scientific community and young people.

Further recommendations include creating a funding scheme for local authorities to establish commemorative spaces in existing parks or green spaces, the creation of a specific body to coordinate a day of reflection and other Covid commemoration activities, and the development of a postdoctoral fellowship to enable researchers to support preparedness for risks posed by natural hazards.

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer yesterday said:

The impact of Covid will never be forgotten and we must find a fitting way to remember and reflect on the pandemic for generations to come.

The Commission has made a number of valuable recommendations and my department will now consider the best ways to commemorate this unprecedented period in our history.