What is being done across the country to support communities?
On 29th April, the BBBC Knowledge Share & Exchange programme held an intimate meeting to start exchanging experiences and learnings from the current lockdown situation. Prior to this meeting, a survey was shared online to prepare the themes.
Bromley By Bow Centre is also delighted to share its brand new document on a “New and comprehensive delivery model in response to the Covid-19 crisis lockdown”! Check out the document here!
More than 20 representatives of organisations from various sectors (VCSE, community, NHS etc.) gathered virtually and told each other about the initiatives that they have been putting into place and the challenges they were encountering.
Some of the key outcomes of the discussion were:
- All of our organisations have now moved as many services as possible to being online or on the phone.
- Reduction of contact even in GP practices
- Increase in health and non-health (i.e. advice) phone appointments
- Online workshops for communities and staff (Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Citrix, Webex etc.)
- Creation of live and recorded content
- Access to internet, and the difficulty of reaching people via the phone is one of the main challenge of this move
- Support groups (WhatsApp etc.)
- People are being approached proactively, prioritising the most vulnerable people, to check on their wellbeing and health, and to avoid some people from getting even more isolated due to the lockdown situation. The important of Social Prescribing has been recognised widely, and link workers are playing a central role in making sure the community members stay connected.
- Language is an important factor too as there are many different ethnic communities in the UK, and especially in London.
- An important factor is information, and directories are being made to ensure people are aware of what is available. This is why it is necessary to keep communicating and ensure we keep connected to be able to provide the best support our communities.
- A lot of organisations are only focusing on the crisis and not running their usual services.
- Providing remote support to service users is difficult at this time due to anxiety, fear and mental health. Training is necessary for frontline staff to learn how to deal with this, while looking after their own wellbeing.
While we all work hard to support our communities in times of crisis, change needs to be long-term! As we all fast adapt to the situation, some barriers that would normally slow down change are now being removed due to the crisis, and it is the best opportunity for us to make long-term changes to the way we deliver services and reach out to our communities. Things must not go back to the old “normal” after the crisis, and we need to keep the learnings we are acquiring to make our services better in the future too.