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Research: Communities responding to COVID-19

Commissioned by Local Trust, this in-depth research explored how communities across England responded to, and recovered from, COVID-19

The study was undertaken by a coalition of researchers, led by The Third Sector Research Centre (TSRC) at the University of Birmingham. It explored how different communities fared during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings, alongside multiple outputs from the research, provide an insight into the impact of crisis on communities, and the factors that shaped their resilience, response and recovery.

Latest report

One pandemic, many responses

The final report in our research explored how, within the variety of responses to the pandemic, some communities were able to respond in a more comprehensive, strategic and inclusive way than others, and the multiple and complex factors that underpinned this.

Read the full report View all Outputs

The value of communities responding to crises is well-recognised, but it is rare to have the opportunity to assess it while it is happening. The COVID-19 pandemic enabled us to look at how communities reacted to, coped with and recovered from a major crisis that impacted almost everybody

We wanted to understand the help communities were best placed to give, how they made it happen, and how it might be supported. The research also drew out possible differences between the experiences of communities, for example those supported through Local Trust programmes and those not, and those in ‘left behind’ areas – places that rank highly on the indices of multiple deprivation and lack social infrastructure.

We were also looking forward and wanted to understand the support communities would need once the crisis passed, insight which could inform the future use of contingency funds.

The research was expected to end in March 2021, but was extended due to the evolving nature of the pandemic. The phases of the research were: phase one (April to September 2020), phase two (October 2020 to- March 2021), and phase three (April 2021 to March 2022).