After eighteen long months, the end of lockdown is finally in sight.
It’s been an experience that has tested everyone.
But from the beginning, we’ve been helping each other through.
As families, streets and communities – checking in on each other, making sure neighbours are ok, going to work when we had to and staying at home whenever we were told.
The crisis has reminded us all that when it really matters, we ’re here for one another, and that’s something to be grateful for.
Before normal life takes over again, we want to pause and say thank you to everyone who helped. From neighbours who kept the noise down or dropped off the shopping, mum and dad for putting up with us under the same roof, delivery drivers and supermarket security guards who kept us fed, local shop keepers who stayed open, care workers, doctors, nurses, volunteers, and everyone who obeyed the rules, we couldn’t have done it without each other.
Sunday 4th July is the day before the NHS’s birthday so it’s a perfect moment for the country’s biggest ever thank you party. A chance to get together in the sunshine (we hope), with our neighbours, communities and families, to mark what has happened, celebrate the spirit that got us through and say thank you. It doesn ’t matter how we do it, just get together and say thank you in our own way. Have a barbecue or a street party, raise a glass or a mug of tea, bake for your neighbours.
Whatever we do, let’s all join in on Sunday 4th July, and say a great big thank you, together.
Starting from just 13 individuals proposing a Thank You Day, the idea is now supported by hundreds of organisations across the country, ranging from the Scouts and Guides to Rotary and the Royal Voluntary Service, NHS, The Mirror and the Sun, the Football Association and the Church of England.
It’s got the backing of celebrities, religious leaders and sports stars, local councils and schools, businesses and communities throughout the UK.
The aim is for as many people as possible to be involved, however they would like, so everyone who deserves it gets a thank you – and the whole of the UK gets together.
There isn’t a strict plan for the day (the idea is to say thank you however you want!) but people are already organising lots of activities which we can all join in with and support.
Emma is a 16 year old Explorer Scout from the North West. She’s been involved in Scouts since the age of 6 and it’s been a very significant part of her life. During the summer of 2019, after the selection and training process, Emma attended the 24th World Scout Jamboree in North America that shaped her into the person she is today. Whilst lockdown brought face to face meetings to a halt, Emma took it upon herself to run sessions on Zoom every week for her Beaver Scout section.
Paul Daly is a teacher of maths in a Special School in County Durham and has been teaching a variety of age groups and abilities for over 15 years. Paul believes passionately in fairness, equality and campaigns against discrimination in all it's forms. He is the co-founder of a social media channel which aims to amplify the voices of people who are rarely heard. In his personal life, Paul is a proud husband and dad and likes to ride his bike when he gets a spare moment!
Laura is a Northampton-based freelance writer and community activist who got to know her neighbours through The Big Lunch in 2017. This #ThankYouDay Laura would like to thank her neighbours for their friendly smiles and waves, notes through the door and gifts on the doorstep during this (very challenging) year. It’s made a huge difference and she’s so grateful to them all for being there for each other.
Aled has been heavily involved in community projects for 30 odd years, from playing rugby, coaching rugby, and being a member of his club’s committee & sponsorship & donations coordinator. At the beginning of lockdown worked with like-minded friends to start a community group called the 505 Collective to help people to turn off & tune in at the end of the working day. This has now extended to actively promoting all disciplines of the arts in Port Talbot & to support people who just need that helping hand, guidance, direction or even just a sympathetic ear. Along with his wife’s business, he also delivers hot meals every lunchtime to local elderly people.
Michael (Mike) Jones is a retired solicitor from near Bridgewater in Somerset. He has been volunteering for Marie Curie for almost two years. Mike's volunteer role was initially as a Companion but after the lockdown he has been making bereavement support calls to people across Devon and Somerset. Mike has found volunteering during the pandemic challenging and emotional at times but also hugely rewarding and worthwhile.
After surviving a stroke five years ago, Debbie promised herself that she’d grab life with both hands and not let it go. Debbie is thankful that she is still here and healthy! It has been a really difficult year for us all, but it has also been amazing to see our communities come together and rally round to help each other. Debbie is thankful for so much after a terrible year. She is thankful for her neighbours who all came together as a community and really helped each other, her husband Johnny and son Finlay for always being there, and her thriving online businesses. That's why Debbie is calling for a national Thank You Day on 4th July 2021!
Sandra McCabe is a member of Rotary who lives in Ireland. Despite the past year being a difficult one for many of us, it has also brought out the best in many people, making Sandra recognise how we can all have a positive influence on each other’s lives. Sandra has been overwhelmed by the support she has received both on a personal level and as a business owner from Rotarians, family, friends, colleagues, and customers. With so many people to thank, after such a hard year for many, a ‘Thank You Day’ is the perfect opportunity to bring communities, family and friends together.
Due to my own ‘lived experience’ involving adverse childhood experiences, I have a passion and interest in supporting young people within the youth justice system and fighting social issues that impact and affect young people. I think Thank You Day is a great idea, during the last year there were many negatives, many dark times, and moments of sorrow, but as always there were people stepping in and stepping up to offer hope. Many people went unnoticed, and many people did over and above to be a light during the dark times. Young people endured a time like no other and for these reasons I want to take time out and say THANK YOU!
Eriona is a young coach at Pro Touch Academy, a London-based community sports organisation that provides help, support and encouragement to potential young, gifted and talented football players as well as offering a wide range of activities and services for young people and families in the local community.
May Parsons is Modern Matron for Education and Escalation Interim Modern Matron for Respiratory Medicine University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire. On December 8, 2020, May gave the first Covid vaccination in the world (outside of clinical trials) at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire.
Sonny is part of a team of volunteers in West Sussex that support socially isolated people, calling in to chat and providing practical help. During lockdown, he has been making telephone calls and knows how much a friendly conversation can lift the spirits. Sonny and his son, Sameer have seen first-hand the difficulties faced by vulnerable & at-risk people in the community. They are thankful that they have the opportunity to do something to help, and have found that volunteering has brought them closer together as father and son. Sonny’s happiness from volunteering inspired Sameer to sign up and they now have this shared passion.
During Lockdown my wife and I decided to offer a little bit of help and support to families who were struggling. We set up a Pop up Pantry in St. Mary’s Church with help from volunteers across all the Christian denominations in the area. Many families in our area rely on the hospitality trade and when that ceased it caused some economical hardship. We started delivering boxes of food to families and individuals on a weekly basis & working with other Food Banks in the area. The people I would like to thank the most are our small independent local traders who carried on in the best way possible throughout the Pandemic, the farmers carrying on throughout to ensure food for the country, and our local schools who found the most inventive ways to continue schooling our children throughout both at home and in school.
I am lucky to work with faith groups in communities all over the UK. The way people from all backgrounds pulled together over the last year was inspiring and those connections and partnerships are continuing. I want to thank teachers. As a parent of teenagers I saw how hard their teachers worked to keep them engaged and motivated. And as a Governor in two schools I saw it from the other side too. Headteachers and all school staff going above and beyond just a job. Thank You Day is just what we need to give us an excuse to say a massive THANK YOU!
With support from:
Luke, East Midlands
Luke is a 17-year-old St John Ambulance Cadet from the East Midlands. He’s been involved in Cadets since the age of 10 and it’s been a very significant part of his life. In February 2020, after competing at the national finals, Luke became the National Cadet of the Year for St John Ambulance England, shaping him into the person he is today. Whilst lockdown brought face to face meetings to a halt, Luke helped to run virtual sessions for Cadets across the country as well as in his local area.