William Eichler 18 June 2020

We must all step up to support our communities

We must all step up to support our communities  image

Responding to the pandemic has required a concerted effort from everyone across the country. Like so many others, Neighbourly has been doing all it can to get urgent support to vulnerable communities, in partnership with our network of businesses and local causes. It has been relentless and with poverty, hunger and mental health problems in our communities continuing to rise, we must find ways to work together to ensure this support continues.

If we are to ensure a recovery in which nobody is left behind, the feelings of common purpose and shared endeavour that this crisis has caused must be harnessed to create a new social contract between government, businesses and charities. We must collectively step up, not step back.

Our new research with almost 1,000 local charity partners across the country has reiterated that people of all ages face severe hardship that isn’t going away. Almost three quarters of those surveyed – including foodbanks, homeless shelters, care homes and youth groups – expect the numbers of people in need to increase over the next six months. People who were previously struggling are now finding it impossible to make ends meet each week and research from the Food Foundation shows that almost five million people in the UK are currently experiencing food insecurity.

At exactly the same time, the services that many local charities provide are under threat. Recent analysis finds that nearly two-thirds of local charities have been forced to make significant cuts to services and one in eight expect to go bankrupt within months. This is hugely concerning; local charities who are best placed to use their intimate street level knowledge to know what’s needed and respond quickly, ensuring that people in their communities receive the help they need without delay.

We need policy makers, business leaders and individuals to maintain their support for their community and help existing grassroots organisations. While there will be a temptation to build something new as a pandemic recovery response, there are already a multitude of hyper-local causes working day in, day out to deliver food and other essential support. They know the people in their community on a named basis and have proved their ability to deliver over the last 12 weeks. We need to keep that lifeline alive.

The Government recently announced an additional £63m of local welfare assistance for councils to use to help vulnerable families. While certainly welcome, the scale of the challenge we face means this is just a start. Many communities face long-term hardship, and so we need a long-term change in our collective approach to create a new social contract.

This means many more businesses forging meaningful partnerships with community causes, to get donations of money, food and time to where it’s most needed. It means many more employees taking part in volunteering from home in the coming weeks and months, sharing their skills remotely to support front-line charities and helping to build capacity and resilience. It means policy makers prioritising the causes that so many communities depend on.

If we can channel support into local organisations that are already on the ground, not only can we meet the increased demand now – we can rebuild stronger, more resilient and fairer communities for the future.

Thriving communities mean a thriving economy; the link between our communities and our businesses, charities and policy makers needs to be stronger than ever before if we are to successfully rebuild from this crisis. Local community causes are key to our recovery and future. It’s all of our responsibility to help them.

Steve Butterworth, CEO, Neighbourly

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Senior Officer - Prevention Services

City of York Council
£36,476 - £41,830 per annum
This is an exciting new role within the Housing Standards and Adaptations team at the City of York Council delivering rapid support to... York, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of York Council

Traffic & Transportation Engineer

Conwy County Borough Council
£41,881 - £44,863 per annum
You should have a degree or diploma in civil engineering or other relevant discipline, and extensive experience in... North Wales
Recuriter: Conwy County Borough Council

Deputy Manager, Family Services

Camden London Borough Council
£40,829 - £47,360 per annum
You will be mainly based at one of Camden’s 5 community Children Centres hubs. Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Planning Officer

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council
£31,434 - £34,986 per annum
You’ll investigate, consider and report on a full range of applications, development proposals and enforcement matters within... Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recuriter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

Social Worker - Assessment and Intervention

Essex County Council
Negotiable
In Essex County Council we are "Serious about Social Work" Having won the Best Social Work Employer of the Year and been awarded 'Outstanding' by Ofs England, Essex, Harlow
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue