Two weeks ago I was in Rome as part of an EU funded research project. It seems a world away from today when I woke up to find that the referendum result meant we were going to be leaving the EU. This has been a tense and tough day which has seen just over 50 per cent of the population pleased and 48 per cent upset by the result. It has been a time of reflection over the discussions in the previous weeks but that should not continue.
The important thing now is that we look at the future and how we can make it the best possible one for the maximum number of people. Communities, teams, families and groups are strongest when they pull together and for me that means we have to set aside differences and find the common ground. It is all too easy to allow the division and hurt to drive sections of the community apart.
As with all significant incidents and events, it is how we deal with what happens that is the most critical thing and will define us. We have to move things forward and make sense of the situation we now find ourselves in. Who will step forward and helped to shape the future? Who will work through the fine detail and the problematic days ahead to achieve the right results? How can we create a brighter future?
What can we do in the coming days, weeks and months? It doesn’t matter what way people voted, or whether they voted at all, we all have a part to play in the future of the UK and our communities. The important part is that we set aside our differences and find that common ground that we can agree and build upon in the future.
Rome may seem like a distant memory now but as I sat in a room with representatives from Italy, Spain, the UK, Romania and Greece to name a few I remember thinking how much we had in common. That is something that I want to ensure I can take forward as we head into what I expect will be difficult times.