Community in a time of Covid-19

| No responses | Posted by: Helen Goulden | Theme: Covid, Health & Wellbeing, Work with Communities

Building on our long heritage of seeking to understand and involve communities in issues that directly affect them, The Young Foundation has today launched a landmark programme of research, focussed on understanding what it really feels like to live in a society characterised by contagion and containment. 

As the pandemic spreads on a global scale, we want to capture what impact Covid-19 is having on our individual sense of well-being, our sense of connection to our communities and to understand what the long-term impacts the coronavirus will have on community life in our towns and cities in the years to come. 

Take a detailed look at the opportunities available, or jump straight to participation on the Open University NQuire platform: 

Covid -19 & Community  Take Part in a public, social study, contributing content, comments and photos on how your community is changing and responding to Covid-19

Covid-19 and You – Take part in a confidential study about well-being during lockdown & beyond

 

Why are we doing this? 

The debate about the changing state and role of communities in the 21st Century is not perhaps one that made the headlines too often in recent years. Successive governments have tried to create a coherent agenda for this, including the ill-feted ‘Big Society’.  And while Boris Johnson last week was clear in is belief that there is such a thing as society after all; in mainstream media, we most often talk about communities when they are broken and where cohesion across neighbourhoods is lost. Or we talk about it in heroic terms at times of crisis – like now.

This kind of civic muscle, which is so often championed and applauded in times of crisis, can often be seen as fluffy and unimportant in less turbulent times. Community is still characterised by some as nostalgic; a harkening back to a time of idealised notions of mutual support in a neighbourhood. And while Robert Putnam has consistently reminded us that “community connectedness is not just about warm fuzzy tales of civic triumph” – that we find solidarity in our communities in times of crisis cannot be downplayed – either in its acute relief in a desperate situation or the longer-term connections made through it.  

Community has, of course, been at the forefront of the Covid-19 crisis; central to narratives about shared responsibility and the urgent efforts to contain infection. And, if we just pause and just look at how many rainbows are popping up in windows across the UK, how many letters offering to do the shopping or pick up medicine are being pushed through letterboxes and the 750,000 people volunteered as NHS responders recently, it’s clear that many of us are finding solidarity and purpose in our communities. There is no doubt we are coming together at a time where we are physically required to be apart. 

But it’s also true that we are all experiencing Covid-19 very differently. This is because of our different personalities, of where and who we live with, how we make our living, how old we are and our general mental and physical health. We talk of community and solidarity but the impact Covid-19 is not experienced equally. The extent of our community strength, how it evolves, how it will be tested over prolonged periods of disruption and what investment is needed to support it, will be an ongoing focus for The Young Foundation and our Institute for Community Studies.

Why we need you to be involved 

And that is why we are asking you to participate in the largest UK study of how Covid-19 is changing community life in the UK, sharing with us your experiences of how physical and social distancing are affecting everything from your well-being to how you connect with others in your community during this historical time.

This immediate, real-time research into how communities are adapting, changing and coping through the Covid-19 crisis will, in partnership with the Open University, help us shape, as much as report on the future of community life in the UK.

At The Young Foundation, our commitment to supporting stronger, more connected communities is unwavering. No matter where you live or what your circumstances are, we are inviting you to participate. By sharing your individual experiences with us, we can explore the real extent of the UK’s “community spirit,” chart changes in our tolerance for social and emergency restrictions and, crucially, better understand the resilience of our communities and our many different experiences across different parts of the country.

For many communities, 2020 had already been beset with crisis. A series of storms left parts of the UK battered and under-water and, every single day, many of us are actively dealing with individual and personal emergencies of many different kinds. That’s why we’ve chosen to embrace a “citizen science” model for the first phase of our work. 

We hope you’ll take part in this first wave of research & you’ll have opportunities to contribute further, as our mission evolves.

Take a detailed look at the opportunities available, or jump straight to participation on the Open University NQuire platform: 

Covid -19 & Community  Take Part in a public, social study, contributing content, comments and photos on how your community is changing and responding to Covid-19

Covid-19 and You – Take part in a confidential study about well-being during lockdown

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