“Let me start by thanking the wonderful staff in our local hospital and surgeries for helping Ceredigion residents get through this pandemic. We are not there yet but, fortunately, we have not seen the dreadful losses that other parts of the country have suffered. I also want to extend a big thank you to carers, whether in residential or in people’s own homes. Lastly, huge congratulations to the ‘Track and Trace’ team in Ceredigion who showed that local is better.”
Harry Hayfield understands very well how Covid-19 affects people, having lost his own grandfather to this terrible disease. “Vital lessons have to be learned.” Harry argues that they include examining why we still have an obesity crisis in the UK, why there have been such inequalities in outcome for certain communities and why, after all the talking and the soul searching, mental health provision remains underfunded, understaffed and undervalued.
There are other things we have all learned during this pandemic. People have started to value nature. They have enjoyed listening to birdsong and seeing wildlife. They have managed to exercise in the outdoors so that walking and cycling have become popular. “Those things need to stay,” says Harry, “Being able to enjoy the outdoors is extremely beneficial to people’s mental wellbeing. It also helps to lower CO₂ levels, something we should all welcome.”
Our consumer society has been shown to be shallow; what people have appreciated is seeing family and friends. “We have missed the things that make us truly happy and that is people, not buying lots of useless things.”
Harry’s vision for the future is not a return to pre-covid life, but a society where people are more thoughtful and remain helpful to one another, where shopping locally for locally produced food is the norm, where staying in the UK for holidays is preferable to flying, and “Where inequalities are addressed properly. That’s a healthy society worth fighting for.”