Covid-19 Support in Communities
Community Regen has adapted to the current Covid-19 situation.
We continue to support and work to strengthen both communities and organisations in their projects and with their changing priorities
Continued community support
These are difficult and strange times for communities. Many people’s lives and livelihoods have been affected and many aspects of getting together in communities have been disrupted. Over the last few months we have found that communities have been incredibly resilient in responding to COVID-19. A number of communities have organised, built connections/networks, rallied together, adapted their pre-planned projects and offered support for those in need.
We have included examples of projects we have been working on through during this time below.
If your community group would like some support or guidance about adapting in these current circumstances, please feel free to contact Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org
We have been supporting the Noel Park Big Local Partnership in Haringey, North London in developing their community support response to COVID-19. In order to clarify specific support around COVID-19 that may be needed, we have worked with them to map existing support for residents in the area. We have talked to local organisations to understand what links can be made with Noel Park Big Local to ensure that support around COVID-19 can be delivered effectively. We made some recommendations to the partnership about relevant support projects, and are currently working with the them to implement their resultant plan. We have supported the partnership to produce a COVID-19 newsletter (right). Since May, there have now been two newsletters and we have supported the partnership on things such as running a plant distribution project, working with schools to support digital inclusion, holding a virtual Big Lunch and running a Community Chest.
Community Regen has been working with three Big Local areas over this time, enabling them to respond to and support their communities through a range of projects and programmes. We have regularly been checking in with fellow reps, workers and partnership members from across the country to share learning around how to best respond to COVID-19 (Zoom partnership meeting (left)). Paul is the Big Local rep for Elthorne in North London, Farley in Luton and Wormley and Turnford in Hertfordshire, and has supported all them during this time. Many Big Local areas are directly supporting their communities with food deliveries. Others have adapted pre-planned events into Zoom meetings to encourage neighbours to engage virtually.
GLA Sport Unites Steering Group
One of our projects that has continued despite COVID-19 is our work supporting the GLA Sport Unites Steering Group. There has been great enthusiasm from organisations across London to continue with the workshops as planned. We have successfully facilitated six workshops using Zoom; this included doing some whole group work and then smaller group work in ‘breakout rooms’ (right). The work of identifying and developing potential project ideas is progressing, and the young facilitators have excelled throughout the sessions. We are now writing a report on the work to draw out the key themes and recommendations across the workshops.
Sompting Community Hub
We have also adapted the project delivery of the Sompting Community Hub feasibility study in West Sussex. Following the completion of the online community research with residents and stakeholders, we facilitated a virtual workshop in late April. This was conducted on Zoom and had 15 attendees. The workshop worked well, with a virtual visioning exercise to formulate purpose and vision for the proposed hub (montage pictured on the left). This adaption has allowed the project to stay on track and following the workshop we drafted and finalised the feasibility study.
CB1 Estate, Cambridge
The way we have delivered community engagement support on the CB1 Estate in Cambridge has changed but has not diminished! Community Regen continues to work on the project three days a week. He has been working with resident groups and local councillors to ensure support is provided to those in need. A flyer has been put together and will be delivered to all residents to inform them of the support available. We have also pulled together information on the CB1 Community website about different local groups and online resources that may help residents and employees during this time. In addition, we have been running some virtual community activities online, including a free virtual workout (right) and a virtual coffee morning. These are designed to bring people together and create a sense of community, even while we cannot physically socialise.
Hertsmere Borough Council – Cowley Hill Ward
We have been working in Cowley Hill Ward in Borehamwood, Hertsmere to engage with the community. This work is about developing shared priorities for organisations and residents to come together to make the ward a better place to live. We have used Zoom and phone calls to interview stakeholders, ran an online survey with residents and facilitated an online workshop in July. This was conducted via Zoom, with around 40 attendees. The half-day workshop worked well, with digital postcards helping to formulate a vision for the ward over the next year (montage of postcards pictured on the left). We also used breakout rooms to allow for group discussion on what key priorities should be and how they can be achieved. Following the workshop, a group will be formed with key stakeholders to look at progressing the priorities agreed. We are now in the process of writing the final report.
The Engagement Group
We work with three other organisations in a new partnership called the Engagement Group. Our mission is to rethink how engagement happens in the built environment and deliver clear engagement that involves the community throughout the development process. In the early part of 2020, we spoke with organisations and stakeholders we regularly work with to hear about their experiences of engagement in the built environment. As a result, we developed our offer to try and fill the gaps. In May 2020, we presented this in a virtual workshop via Zoom. The workshop was well attended, and included some useful discussion regarding challenges with engagement at the moment and how a new approach could address these.