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The moment we noticed

9 July, 2020

There’s no doubt that the last few months have been…difficult. But could the experience have something to teach us about changing our society for good? 

That’s the question asked by our friends at The Relationships Project in their new report The Moment We NoticedThe report is the product of 100 days of thinking by over 300 partner organisations and observers. And it makes for fascinating reading. 

It’s clear that COVID-19 has been a period fraught with contradictions. Social divisions have been thrown into sharp relief – with mortality rates in the most deprived areas of England being twice as high as the least deprived – yet 40% of us now feel a stronger sense of community than we did before the pandemic. 26% of us now feel closer to our neighbours, yet the number of racially-motivated hate crimes has risen significantly. The report draws on the distinction between bonding – strengthening the connections within broadly homogenous groups – and bridging – strengthening the connections between more diverse communities. Whilst the former is on the rise, the latter has faltered and fallen. 

Rather than the traditional barrage of prognoses and demands, the report ends with five ‘invitations’, from asking how we can rewrite our own stories of the pandemic, to noticing which voices are still on mute. In the place of closure is an open, and essential, question: how can we build back better by building better relationships? We think this report is a good place to start. 

By Sarah Howden

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