Laura Sharman 13 October 2020

Connecting with 'hardest to reach' holds key to COVID recovery, says report

Failing to connect with so called ‘hard to reach’ individuals will have wide ranging implications for public health and wellbeing, a report has warned today.

Centre for Public Impact UK and Changing Lives argue that public services are not doing enough to engage with people whose lives are already ‘tough and traumatic’.

The report said this connection could be the key to the COVID recovery in the coming months.

The report warns: ‘If we cannot effectively listen to and engage with people who have varying levels and types of need, our policies and responses at a local and national level will always fall short.’

The report wants to rename these groups of people to the ‘seldom heard’.

Nadine Smith, UK director of the Centre for Public Impact, said: ‘Trust in public services locally is fragile and we heard trust between people and government nationally deteriorated in lockdown too, so we need to remove hierarchy, assumptions and bureaucracy from all communications and engagement processes and instead enable those who have that trust to be vital connectors to the parts of society others are failing to reach, whoever they are.

’Listening better not only saves lives but enhances people's sense of belonging at a time when services are struggling to cope with the knock-on effects of people who feel ignored.’

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