Making a difference, together.

by Nicola Green, Director of Corporate Affairs, O2

Tonight’s the night. As I settle on the sofa with my family, and tune into the BBC’s Big Night In, it will be a time to reflect on just how much the world has changed in the last two months. Life as we know it has been interrupted. For so many of us, our daily norms and habits have changed. Working from home, using technology to connect and collaborate with our colleagues and stay in touch with our loved ones, balancing childcare and home-schooling and adjusting to life in lockdown.

And yet, for many others, working from home has not been an option. Our incredible NHS keyworkers have taken to the frontlines of this health crisis, often self-isolating away from their own families and support networks in order to care for the sick. And there are thousands of other everyday heroes who are helping to keep the UK running – those in health and social care, education and social work, supermarket and postal workers, utilities and transport workers. I have been especially proud of O2’s own keyworkers, our network engineers, who have played a vital role in helping to keep the nation connected – ensuring that our customers and communities have a network they can rely on.

And yet amidst all of this every day heroism, we know that there are battles still to fight. We are yet to understand the full impact of the Coronavirus on the UK – and the shockwaves will likely be felt for many months and years to come. Sadly, we know that it is the most vulnerable in our communities who will be hit hardest by this crisis. Even as we see other countries starting to relax their rules, and we begin hope that an end to lockdown may finally be in sight, we must prepare ourselves for new challenges and new realities that will face all of us.

That’s why O2 is incredibly proud to support the BBC’s Big Night In appeal. It’s our chance to not only celebrate the everyday courage of our frontline keyworkers, and to thank them for their service. It’s also about looking to the future, and galvanising our nation to respond to the challenges that lie ahead. It’s about sustaining the incredible generosity and community spirit that we’ve seen throughout the pandemic so far, as people have selflessly volunteered their time and talents through charities and mutual aid groups, to help ensure that no-one is left behind.

So while tonight will celebrate the incredible people making a difference, it will also focus on how we can support people who need us now more than ever.  All monies raised through The Big Night In will be split equally between Comic Relief and BBC Children in Need and go on to support vital charities and projects in the UK, which are providing essential frontline help to people who really need it through this crisis.  This includes vulnerable children and young people, people who are homeless or living in extreme poverty, women and families at risk of domestic abuse, those struggling with mental health problems and people who are isolated and bereaved.

It’s the small every day acts of ordinary people, in these extraordinary times, that are making a difference. So join us. Show your support. Every one of us can make a difference, together.