Lessons from Coronavirus Pandemic: A Community Perspective

Thu, 11 Jun 2020 17:00 in Discussion Forums

Date: Thursday, 11th June 2020
Time: 17:00


  • Jennette Arnold OBE, London Assembly Member for the London Boroughs of Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest
  • Phil Champain, Director of The Faith & Belief Forum
  • Rev'd Professor Simon Robinson, Leeds Beckett University
  • Iysha Arun, Research Fellow, Dialogue Society


The discussion aims to explore the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on our communities in London and beyond as the issue has increasingly become one of the greatest challenges our communities have ever faced in recent history. We all agree that while the outbreak has pushed us all further apart from each other, in many ways, it has also brought us together as communities. Many of us are carrying out more and more acts of kindness to support people that something we wouldn’t have done before the crisis. We are now more likely to donate to a food bank more than before, volunteer for a charity or local group in need or set up a help group to organise shopping and medicine deliveries for those unable to go out due to being elderly, vulnerable or in self-isolation and definitely in touch with our immediate neighbours to talk and offer help when needed we previously had no relationship with. The support given to key workers as a whole society has been phenomenal. One newspaper headline put this ' Clap for our Carers: the very unBritish ritual that united the nation.' Although all these have given us plenty of hope that we will come out of this crisis as a stronger and kinder society at the end, whether we will be able to continue this momentum once all is back to normal is a valid question we should be asking. We sincerely hope that the discussion helps us to answer this important question in some way.

Speakers Biographies

Jennette Arnold OBE AM has been a member of the London Assembly since 2000. Initially a London-wide member, since 2004 Jennette has represented the North East London constituency of Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest. Jennette’s work focuses on the key strategic issues that impact directly on the lives of her constituents – improved transport services, crime reduction and affordable housing. She is also a champion in the fight against any form of injustice and discrimination. In 2010 Jennette was awarded the OBE in the Queen’s birthday honours list for her services to local government and the community of London.

Phil Champain is the Director of the Faith and Belief Forum. Faith and Belief Forum is one of the leading interfaith organisations in the UK which has strong education and community-based programmes with lived faith and storytelling at its heart. In addition to his UK work, Phil has had a longstanding engagement with peace efforts in the Caucasus, Sri Lanka and the Philippines. He has a degree in History from Cambridge University, a PGCE from Bangor University in North Wales and an MA in Restorative Justice from the University of Hull.

Rev'd Prof Simon Robinson was Educated at Oxford and Edinburgh universities and entered psychiatric social work before ordination in the Church of England in 1978. He served in university chaplaincy at Heriot-Watt and Leeds universities, developing research in areas of applied ethics and practical theology. Ongoing research interests are on business and professional ethics, the nature and practice of responsibility, responsibility and pedagogy, governance, spirituality, ethics and leadership ethics across all sectors. He is currently teaching at Business Ethics and Social Responsibility and Leadership and Governance at Leeds Beckett University.

Iysha Arun has been working as a Research Assistant of the Dialogue Society for the past two years and was volunteering with community dialogue projects for four years prior to this. She believes in the transformative role of dialogue in communities and advocates it in all her work. She is a graduate of International Relations from Queen Mary, University of London. She is currently completing an MA at SOAS, University of London and volunteers as a mentor for disadvantaged youth in the UK. Her interest areas are critical pedagogy, Islamic sciences, and political and social sciences.