Portsmouth marks national day of reflection

To mark the anniversary of the first national coronavirus lockdown, Portsmouth City Council will be supporting Marie Curie's National Day of Reflection on 23 March.

The council is encouraging residents and staff to observe a minute of silence at 12 noon on Tuesday, to reflect on the past year and remember those we've lost.

People in Portsmouth are also being encouraged to join Marie Curie's light up the night initiative at 8pm on Tuesday, by standing on their doorstep with a light to show support for those going through a bereavement. The council is inviting its staff to connect with colleagues on Tuesday and take a moment to share their experiences of the last 12 months.

Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, the Leader of Portsmouth City Council, said: "The anniversary of the first lockdown will be a poignant moment for the whole community and especially so for those who have lost a loved one during the pandemic. It's a chance to pause and reflect on the past year and express our hope for what lies ahead. This anniversary also presents an opportunity to say thank you for the ongoing heroism of our critical workers and volunteers and recognise the vital steps each person is continuing to take every day to protect others and the NHS."

For many, losing a loved one has felt even harder during the pandemic due to restrictions around hospital visiting, funerals and being able to see friends and family for support. HIVE Portsmouth has created a bereavement directory with details of organisations that can offer advice, information and support around both the practical side of losing someone and feelings of grief. Visit hiveportsmouth.org.uk for more information. Help is also available for anyone whose mental health has suffered during this challenging year. Positive Minds Portsmouth offers support over the phone or online. Visit positivemindsportsmouth.org.uk and find other mental health support services for adults and young people via porsmouth.gov.uk/mentalhealth.

In May, the city will officially recognise the contribution of critical workers, volunteers and other pandemic heroes by presenting the Freedom of the City to all those who've supported Portsmouth's residents over the past year. The Coronavirus Civic Awards will also recognise the valuable contribution of extraordinary individuals in the city.

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