Coronavirus

Towards resilience: strengthening the systems that failed us

As we begin a third national lockdown, partnerships lead Georgie Burr and senior communications officer Jessie Powell introduce a new series of discussions looking at why the pandemic has overwhelmed our society and how community can play a part in building a more resilient future.

The past year has shown us that many of our society’s systems are fragile. Our country’s response to the pandemic has relied on individuals and communities to fill shortfalls where services have failed. This has been demonstrated in the countless stories of communities across the country stepping up to support their neighbourhoods.

We need to think seriously about what we want life to be like after the pandemic and how we can get there.”

At the beginning of the first lockdown in March 2020, we ran a series of online conversations to explore some of the responses we were seeing in communities across the country. We worked with leading organisations in different sectors to better understand how valuable these local, resident-led responses were.

These conversations showed us that community-led action was having impact across a range of issues, from loneliness and mental health to food supply and digital connectivity. In many cases, these responses were not only meeting a need, but providing a level of support for residents it would be difficult for other service providers to match, thanks to local knowledge, diverse skillsets and relationships rooted in their community.

We want people to consider the role that strong, confident communities can play in creating a more sustainable, equitable future.”

As the pandemic rolls on, it’s increasingly clear we need to think seriously about what we want life to be like afterwards and what changes need to happen in our society to get there. We want people to consider the role that strong, confident communities can play as part of a more sustainable, equitable future, for positive impact in the long-term — not just in times of crisis.

In the coming months, we are going to be hosting a new series of events exploring the importance of strong communities in renewing our national life beyond coronavirus. The sessions will look at:

  • Education with the Education Policy Institute: Tuesday 2 February 12 – 1pm.
    This session will look at how the pandemic has exposed existing inequalities in our education system and how we can learn from this to make a fairer and more resilient school system. Read an introduction to the topic from chief executive Natalie Perera.                                                                Sign up
  • Energy with Forum for the Future: 24 February 12 – 1pm.
    A change in daily activities during the pandemic exposed the lack of adaptability in our centralised energy system. This session will explore how the sector could learn from the past year and existing community activity to develop more resilient energy system.
  • Green space with Friends of the Earth – date to be announced.
    With most of us having spent more time inside than ever before, access to local nature and outside space has been invaluable to maintain our health and wellbeing, yet the pandemic has highlighted major inequalities in access to green spaces. In this session we’ll look at how community can play a part in making outside spaces more accessible for everyone.
  • Social care with Think Local Act Personal (TLAP) – date to be announced.
    Personal connection has been crucial in supporting people through the pandemic. In this session we’ll consider how community can be put front and centre of social care offerings to provide better, person-centred care that build on local assets, to create a more resilient system at a local and national level.

Each session will look at the potential for community-led approaches to be part of a more resilient future and include contributions from community members as well as leading practitioners and thinkers working on these topics.

The events are free and anyone is welcome to attend. There will be time in each event to ask questions and the option to submit questions beforehand to the panel, but equally you’re welcome to come and listen in. Each session will be available to sign up to following the previous event. We hope you’ll be able to join us!

To learn more about the topics we explored from April to July 2020 you can read reports from each session, looking at community responses to loneliness, food supply, digital inclusion and the relationship between communities and public services.