Over the course of and in the lead up to the pandemic, this country has changed fundamentally.
We have seen fake news spread like wildfire, hate crime increase and online abuse against minority groups on the rise.
From harassment of vaccine nurses leaving a shift to the abuse of England footballers after the Euro 2020 final, it can often feel like the divisions in our society are getting deeper and deeper.
Yet whilst the headlines may be bleak, there have been stories of real hope too.
We have seen communities unite against forces that seek to divide them, and neighbours reach out to neighbours to offer a helping hand when it is most needed.
At Community, we were heart warmed by the sheer number of members who put themselves forwards to volunteer with our support efforts at the beginning of the pandemic.
Our members volunteered to call people they had never met who might be lonely or vulnerable, and used their time to do the shopping of someone else who couldn’t. They donated both their time, energy and money to worthy causes at a time of national crisis.
It is at times like these that we’re reminded just how important strong, united communities are.
The simple fact is that the only way we can successfully tackle the increase in hate crime, fake news and online abuse is within our communities.
We must create an alternative and give people something they can believe in – a community to care about that they want to be a part of and help thrive.
Community has always been a trade union that seeks to support people not just inside the workplace but out in their communities too. It’s where we get our name from, it is in our blood and the traditions of our founding unions.
It is something we are immensely proud to live up to, to this day.
It is because of these values that we are working with HOPE not hate to find people who are working on the ground in their local area to build and strengthen their communities.
Reading the stories of the hundreds of people nominated for our joint project reminded me just how many people are working tirelessly to build their communities.
These people are pillars of their communities, standing firm against division and showing that we have far more in common than that which divides us. We want to amplify what they are doing so they can inspire others.
We also want to financially support the work of these brilliant projects. Too often the organising and community building done on the ground is hamstrung by tight budgets, and the local organisers that care so deeply can end up funding the work themselves or having to give up on their work altogether.
We were overwhelmed by the hundreds of incredibly deserving people nominated for the awards. People from across the country who make immense sacrifices to help their communities.
Now we need your help.
We need you to help us decide which of the three projects would benefit most from the financial support we can offer.
To do this, it is very simple. All you need to do is vote for your favourite HOPE Heroes project here. The closing date is 12th November so be sure to vote soon!
Together, with local heroes like Shaista, Hadiya, Tama, Lucie, Joe and Rahima we can build communities to be proud of.