On behalf of the ACEs Panel, may I firstly hope that you are safe and well in this unprecedented time.

I was recently made aware of an interesting blog written by Joanna Hopkins, Wales ACEs Support Hub Director, which raises some interesting thoughts and I would recommend you read it.

As a response to the key thoughts Joanna raises, if ever there was a time for the principles and aspirations of our ACEs work in Gloucestershire, it is now and as the future unveils itself in what is being called the “new normal”.

I don’t want to make this message too long but simply focus on some of the reality we are all facing.

If ever we needed compassion and kindness – It is now!

If ever we needed community togetherness and spirit – it is now!

If ever we needed effective partnership working – it is now!

If ever we needed to support the most vulnerable among us – it is now!

If ever behaviours and attitudes were important – it is now!

It is now! So we need to come together and share our appreciation and understanding, to stand up and be counted on behalf of others. Like so many of us, I have been delighted to be part of the Thursday evening celebration of those brave people providing front line services in the NHS and many other services. Acts of kindness and compassion are clearly visible and rightly being celebrated. People are coming together for the greater good in so many ways.

The principles of the ACEs movement in Gloucestershire is to increase awareness and work together to help support people. It is to be hoped that once we emerge from the COVID 19 lockdown, these heart warming events and sentiments we are seeing are not lost and communities will continue to come together and grow stronger and more resilient.

Our challenge is to provide support to allow the “next normal” to be a better place which embraces humanity and recognises the roles individuals with passion and desire can achieve.

I know the ACEs Panel members and ambassadors will do everything they can to make the future as positive as possible for many, that is why we are all involved in this movement in the first place. We have an opportunity to create stability from uncertainty and to ensure the principles and behaviours we have all signed up to and express, become more of a social norm, backed by the stream of positive actions and comments we continue to see on a daily basis both nationally and locally within our communities.

Now is the opportunity to show that we do care about our neighbours and communities as well as our friends and families.

Please stay safe.

With best wishes

Paul Stephenson, ACEs Panel Chair & Chief Executive of Cheltenham Borough Homes