Following the recent flooding and the ongoing community recovery, Copeland MP, Jamie Reed has written to the Prime Minister calling for an addition to the honours system to recognise those who work tirelessly for their community in times of emergency.
Jamie Reed has paid tribute to many people who worked incredibly hard to respond to the severe flooding. He has told the Prime Minister that a formal Honour would properly demonstrate gratitude to those who supported neighbours, helped to protect communities and have worked around the clock to help with the clean-up and community recovery.
The current honours system doesn’t allow for recognition for this type of community service. The system recognises those who have ‘made achievements in public life’ and those who have ‘committed themselves to serving and helping Britain’. Both of these are usually long term honours recognising long-term commitment and service. There are also awards for civilian gallantry which recognise ‘bravery by people who have attempted to or saved the life of a British citizen who isn’t a family member or close friend.’
The experiences of Cumbrians over recent weeks have demonstrated how crucial the support provided by community members can be. Jamie Reed has called for Prime Minister to create a new ‘Merit of Community Service’ award to recognise those who served their communities.
Copeland MP, Jamie Reed said:
“There are so many people that should be commended for their work over the last few weeks. Their tireless efforts, their commitment to their community and their selflessness deserves recognition and to each and everyone who gave their time to help I say: Thank you.
“In times of emergency, members of communities rely on each other and these efforts should be formally recognised in our national honours system and a new ‘Merit of Community Service’ would go some way to demonstrating the country’s gratitude to those who did fantastic work.
“I know there are countless people who wish to demonstrate their thanks and allowing these to nominate those who lent a helping hand during the desperate times for a nationally recognised honour would be a fantastic gesture.
“Severe weather events mean that severe flooding and significant damage occurs all over the country and I hope the Prime Minister will recognise the efforts that communities go to in order to assist each other. I hope too that he recognises that our honours system needs updating to recognise those who serve our communities in times of emergencies.”
The Rt Hon David Cameron MP
10 Downing Street
19th January 2016
Dear Prime Minister,
Creation of a new Honour: Merit of Community Service
The New Year Honours list presents a chance to recognise many who have made a significant contribution to British life through services to education, health, sport, media, and many other fields of service. These honours recognise the commitment of the recipient to their chosen fields and in many cases to their communities. One major benefit of the current honours system is the ability to recognise thousands of hardworking, ordinary people who have worked for the benefit of their community.
I know you are well aware of the devastation and the impact the recent flooding in Cumbria has had on communities throughout the county. You will also be aware of the resilience displayed by these communities in the face of the damage and disruption. This resilience is not something that happened automatically; it happened because many people are dedicated to their communities. These people worked around the clock to assist and care for neighbours and others. They worked to make sure people were safe and secure and they worked to help get communities back on their feet. The emergency services deserve a great deal of credit and they are rightly recognised for their work during this difficult period, but many ordinary people worked just as hard.
Sadly, over recent months, many communities throughout the country have felt the devastation caused by severe weather and flooding, but in all these communities, people have worked tirelessly to serve their cities, towns and villages.
The current honours system allows for the recognition of those that give years of service and those that display gallantry when life is at risk. It does not, however, give recognition to those that give their time and energy to their communities during one-off, but prolonged events like recovering from flooding and severe weather. The system should be reformed to give formal recognition to my constituents and others that, with no hesitation, performed their duty to serve their community in a time of emergency. Awarding citizens a ‘Merit of Community Service’ or another dedicated honour would formally demonstrate the gratitude that Britain should hold for those that acted in the best interests of others.
I hope you are able to consider creating a new award to reflect the unique service many people give to their communities at times of crisis.
I look forward to your reply on this matter.
Jamie Reed MP
Member of Parliament for Copeland