Charity leaders join government’s Covid commemoration commission

Charity chief executives Ndidi Okezie and Denise Hayward have joined an 11-strong commission set up by the government to formulate plans to mark the impact of the Covid pandemic.

Okezie is chief executive of UK Youth and has joined the commission to ensure young people are involved.

Meanwhile, Hayward is the chief executive of Northern Ireland charity Volunteer Now to offer the perspective of the voluntary sector in the region.

The commission is headed by Conservative peer Nicky Morgan and will focus on planning UK wide events to mark the health crisis.

The commission has pledged to involve bereaved families, the wider public and the devolved governments in its plans.

Figures this week show that around 180,000 people in the UK have died within 28 days of a positive Covid test.

The commission’s plans will be reported to the Prime Minister early next year.

Okezie said she is “humbled” to serve on the Commission, adding that “it’s my aim to ensure that the experiences of a wide diversity of young people are truly part of this endeavour”

Morgan, who is a former education secretary, said: “The Commission will lead a UK-wide conversation, hearing from those that lost loved ones and those that contributed so much to the UK wide response - volunteering at vaccination centres, looking out for neighbours and working on the frontlines of the NHS, social care and other essential services including food supply and transport.

“The Commission will hear from people across the UK to shape how we can reflect and remember this extraordinary moment in our collective history.”

The commemoration commission is separate from the independent Covid-19 public inquiry, which will probe the government’s response to the pandemic.

Campaign group Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice had long called for this inquiry to be set up to ensure lessons are learned from how ministers responded.

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