Message from Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, taken from a meeting yesterday (Friday 26 May) as he heard from the city’s community and faith groups.
“I, like countless others have felt an overwhelming mix of grief and anger this week.
“That pain will stay with us and our thoughts are with those who have experienced such unthinkable loss, or face the agony of bedside vigils.
“This has been trauma on a major scale, which has affected a phenomenal amount of people and cannot – and should not – be underestimated. The public and the emergency services worked tirelessly showing compassion, generosity, kindness and spirit in the face of terror. On that night, 170 police officers and countless NHS staff saw things no-one should ever see.
“Hard thought it is, we need to move the city forward. When I say it’s business as usual, it is not an insensitive message. All the evidence shows that the quicker the recovery starts, the greater the likelihood of a full recovery. The longer we leave it, the more permanent the damage will be.
“Manchester has been hit, but if we move forward we will recover.
“The community response this week has been nothing short of magnificent.
“But, we also recognise the very real fear faced by many of our people. Unhelpful language has not only demonised, but defamed entire communities. And, it’s not just Muslim communities who are frightened to go out – there is a broad fear and we must work to give people their confidence back.
“That’s why it’s right to go ahead with the Great Manchester Run tomorrow because it’s a participatory event. It doesn’t get much more participatory than 35,000 people running in a single event – and it shows that we will not let fear win. Being out again, with a purpose, will make us feel stronger and more confident.
“Long-term, how we reach young people and those in our society who do not feel included will require complex solutions.
“We have a plan for the city called Our Manchester – which not only sets out the ten-year vision for its development, but looks at ways of empowering our communities to build a new relationship with public services. Because, in most instances, our own neighbourhoods will know what the best solutions are for their own areas.
“It won’t be easy, but let’s channel our emotions – whether it is grief, anger or frustration – into working together.
“It will be a long journey – but going the distance will help the whole of Manchester.”