The Young Foundation has today unveiled the findings from its programme of work Covid-19 and you; research projects carried out over 100 days to understand the social impact of the pandemic on communities across the UK. More than 600 adults (aged 18+) participated: 75% female, 25% male; 21% of whom identified as ‘key workers.’ 

The first-person stories, captured from April to June, paint a fascinating picture of real-life during lockdown; revealing tales of hope and community solidarity, family struggle and boredom, anxiety and resilience, and more, as the pandemic unfolded. Organised week by week and according to significant dates in the public news cycle — like the introduction of new government guidelines, the Queen’s speech or Capt. Tom Moore’s fundraiser for the NHS — the new interactive booklet creates an important digital archive of how UK society responded to the crisis in real-time.

How Covid-19 changed community life in the UK also presents a suite of recommendations which are aimed at policymakers, government influencers and future researchers. These include: 

  1. Recognise that people do not necessarily want things to return to how they were before. 
  2. Take a systems-approach to old and emerging challenges in work, housing and technology inequality. 
  3. Take the unexpected insights forward to inform other global challenges. 
  4. Explore ways to sustain community strength and deepen engagement with communities outside of times of crisis. 
  5. Put well-being and mental health at the heart of all decision-making. 
  6. Take steps to build trust now and respond to the need for positive stories about the future. 
  7. Make space for social innovation. 

Helen Goulden, CEO at The Young Foundation said: “To better understand the short- and long-term impact of the pandemic on UK communities, we knew that we had to hear directly from people all over the country to understand what has been really happening. Listening to communities is essential to understanding what really works and what doesn’t in times of crisis.  It is our hope that the recommendations included open the door to more engaged dialogue between decision-makers and communities, especially in this economically uncertain recovery period.” With a focus on ethnographic research, the research engagement was carried out digitally: composed of an open-source “citizen science” project, delivered in partnership with The Open University, and via weekly diary entries, asking participants to complete specific tasks on a regular basis via the digital platform Recollective

The booklet is available to view here

Posted on: 9 July 2020


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