Inquiry Chair Baroness Hallett and Inquiry Secretary Ben Connah were in Birmingham yesterday, hearing and learning from local people about their pandemic experiences. This was the first in a planned series of nationwide Every Story Matters events, where the public are invited to share first-hand how the pandemic affected them.
Alongside other members of the Inquiry team, Ben Connah met members of the public at the Library of Birmingham and discussed the day’s events with local press, TV and radio. Later in the afternoon Baroness Hallett met privately with a group of people who were bereaved during the pandemic.
Every Story Matters, the Inquiry’s UK-wide listening exercise, is the public’s opportunity to share the personal impacts of the pandemic with the Inquiry, without the formality of giving evidence or attending a public hearing.
It will support the UK Covid-19 Inquiry’s investigations by providing evidence about the human impact of the pandemic on the UK population. This will help Baroness Hallett make recommendations for the future.
I would like to thank every member of the public who took the time to join us and share their experiences of the pandemic.
Each of us has our own story to tell. Sadly, we know that hundreds of thousands of people lost loved ones, and many more became ill or suffered hardship or isolation. Even if you don’t feel you have a story to tell, we really want to hear what you have to say. The pandemic affected us all and your story really does matter.
The Inquiry will announce more Every Story Matters events over the coming months. The Inquiry team will work with events provider Identity to deliver in-person Every Story Matters events across the UK. Following a competitive procurement exercise, Identity have been appointed to deliver events under a contract worth £600,000. These events will provide an opportunity for people to understand more about Every Story Matters or share their experience of the pandemic in person with Inquiry staff should they wish to.
The Inquiry will also continue its work with specialist researchers to listen to and capture people’s experiences directly on its behalf. Following a competitive procurement Ipsos has been awarded a contract valued at £6.5m delivered across three years to support the Inquiry to analyse the stories that the public share, turning the themes and insights into reports which will demonstrate the human impact of the pandemic and which will be submitted to the Inquiry’s legal process as evidence.