Communities come in all different shapes and sizes. Tameside itself is a community, but it also contains nine distinct towns and hundreds of smaller communities – based around parts of towns, streets, religious and community groups and so on. We spend so long in our communities that it can be easy to forget that we are also part of one big global community.
You might roll your eyes at that phrase “global community” – after all, how can you be part of a community if you’ll never even see the vast majority of the other people in it, let alone get to know them? Well, for a start, improvements in technology and transport make it easier than ever to make connections with people on the other side of the planet. But more than this, what happens in another country can have a major impact on us here in Tameside – this could be pollution that leads to climate change, the outbreak of deadly viruses or terrible conflicts that drive people out of their home countries.
Like any good community, we are at our best when we look out for one another and that’s why I’m so proud to support the charity Syria Relief, which is based just down the road from my constituency office in Denton. The civil war in Syria will soon be entering its tenth year and, in that time, hundreds of thousands have been killed and millions more have been displaced. So many lives have been ruined by this terrible conflict but it’s all too easy here in the UK to forget that it’s happening because it’s no longer on our TV screens every night.
That’s why Syria Relief’s work is so important. The charity provides aid to more than 1.8 million Syrians in need, including food packs, essential life-saving medical items and schools. This work is so vital, but unfortunately it’s also dangerous. Just last week one of their aid workers at a school that they set up was tragically killed.
Whilst the Syria conflict may seem remote, we should never forget the terrible suffering of people there. Millions of people are trapped in a living nightmare just because of where they were born and, at the moment, it’s not clear that there’s any end in sight. For their sakes, I’d encourage you all to support the amazing work that Syria Relief does if you can.