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The rebuild starts here

Human life in common is only made possible when a majority comes together which is stronger than any separate individual

Cometh the hour, cometh the man they say. Or, in this case, cometh the men, women and children, armed with brooms, dustpans and black plastic sacks.

The RiotCleanUp campaign and the subsequent RiotReBuild one has gone a long way to reassuring me and others that there is still a lot of good out there amongst the dreadful things that we saw unfolding on TV and live computer feeds last week.

I didn’t blog anything last week about the riots which hit some urban areas because I was probably too angry to make much sense – anything I wrote would probably have been full of vitriol and a bit too sweary for comfortable reading.

The images of the Reeves furniture store blazing and the CCTV images of the looters were so powerful because they were so widely and so quickly published.

Those of us old enough to remember the Broadwater Farm and Toxteth riots of the 1980s saw it all unfolding on the Nine O’Clock News and in the next day’s newspapers. This time round the images were captured on people’s mobile phones and streamed live to the internet and shared via social media in an instant.

And, in the aftermath, so too did the news of the RiotCleanUp campaign. The image of thousands of brooms being held aloft as normal human beings waited in Clapham to be allowed to clean-up warmed the cockles of stonier hearts than mine.

As did the news that the internet campaign to rebuild the destroyed business of 89-year old Tottenham barber Aaron Bieber has raised £35,000 and is still climbing. A barber’s shop, for heavens’ sake. Why destroy a bloody barber’s shop? What the hell was that about?

Anyone who is in an area affected or who knows someone who has been affected and who is willing to offer help, materials, time, advice, whatever, is urged to contact the RiotRebuild people.

As the site itself says, “businesses and homes damaged or destroyed by the chaos of this week will need rebuilding, trust will need restoring and communities will have to work hard to mend the social rifts. As construction industry professionals, we should all be aiming to have a very real stake in making sure that the work that needs doing is undertaken with haste.”

RiotRebuild is working with MyBuilder.com to put homes and businesses in need of help in touch with those construction professionals and tradesmen who have offered their services.

Those professionals and tradesmen are merchant customers. If you can help in any way, no matter how small, then please do.


About Fiona Russell-Horne

Fiona Russell-Horne
Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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