Between March and June the Trust surveyed all of our funded partners to find out how they were coping with the effects of the pandemic, and to discover how we could best support them as we navigate through this difficult time. We received an overwhelming response; stories of challenges, of successes and of innovation to keep people connected despite the social distancing measures. Read the report here
So much has changed since this report was published in July, and as the country faces a second national lockdown, we are sharing the results of an update survey we conducted at the end of August 2020 to find out more about how our funded partners had been continuing to adapt. With the first survey, we saw many of our funded partners move online, and it’s positive to see that even more people have managed to make that transition since then as we move even further back into lockdown. It is these foundations that many projects built for themselves earlier in the year that will prove integral during the next few months.
The Trust also surveyed the ways people were coping with being locked down, and these innovative measures and ways to support each other will once again prove imperative as we face a second lockdown. We also asked our funded partners who they thought would be vulnerable or were concerned about. The groups highlighted; those with mental health issues, people living alone, disabled people and people without digital skills or the funds to buy smartphones, tablets or laptops, are not surprising and we know that funded partners will be doing all they can to ensure people who are particularly vulnerable have the support they need during the next lockdown.
The COVID-19 update survey summary:
What have we learned?
- An even higher percentage than before – 82.3% - shifted activities online. More than two-thirds offered telephone support, including one-to-one support, helplines and buddy systems, and nearly 40% undertook emergency support work and delivered entertainment packs. More than three-quarters intend to continue to offer online activities as well as their telephone support offer.
- Of those projects who suspended their grants, many faced challenges that seemed insurmountable: their premises were either closed, their activities banned (singing and swimming, for instance), many supported residents who were shielding, and lots were posed by the challenge of digital literacy and exclusion. Positively, many of these projects ensured participants stayed in touch, utilising distanced walks, WhatsApp groups, or online video chat services.
- Regarding challenges in getting back to normal, respondents highlighted having a safe physical space to meet in (71%), the confidence of project members to reengage (76%), and navigating government restrictions on activities (77%) as key issues. Loss of funding and fear of getting ill were also highlighted by more than half of all projects who responded.
- Regarding challenges for residents, people reported disengagement from community life (83%), mental health issues (85%), experience of disadvantage intensifying (79%), poor physical health (71%) and financial concerns (64%). It is clear from this that the impact of the pandemic within the communities we invest in will be felt for a long time to come.
In terms of what the Trust can offer, the most popular suggestion was availability to talk through ideas about what projects should or could do next (72%). 43% of respondents requested help and guidance around transitioning to a new way of working, and the same percentage (43%) requested the creation of peer-support spaces, so projects can learn from one another. One in three respondents (35%) requested we offer webinars and training. In response to this we are expanding our network spaces and continue to talk to projects on a 1:1 basis to offer support.
As we approach a second lockdown, many of our funded partners are well prepared for the challenges they will face, and are determined to continue to support their local communities. But it must not be underestimated how difficult these challenges will be. The Trust is committed to supporting our funded partners where we can, and is continuing to campaign for government support for local communities.
To read more news from the Trust, click here.
Support us, play The Health Lottery!