Communities Driving Change: COVID-19 Response to Recovery

In the summer of 2020, the Tower Hamlets Communities Driving Change (CDC) team at The Young Foundation came together with FutureGov to understand how communities have responded to the public health challenge of Covid-19 to date as part of CDC. We wanted to explore how we can work together as a programme to ensure we continue to support communities to drive change in unpredictable and unprecedented times. We have been inspired by the incredible resilience and community spirit residents in Tower Hamlets have shown coming together to support one another this year – creating activities for kids under lockdown, emergency food distribution centres and much more.

Our new report outlines our learning approach from Covid response to recovery and shares a series of insights and recommendations for partners across the programme. By sharing this report, we hope to showcase the ways in which systems can work together collaboratively to support local communities to improve health, wellbeing and resilience across the country.

You can download the report here. The report was co-authored by Thomas Wastling and Robbie Bates at FutureGov.

We invite you to consider how your community functions as a ‘system’ – which people, organisations and services exist and in what ways are they connected or unconnected? What might be blocking things from happening, or could enable changes to be made? What root causes are at play and how might they be interconnected? Feel free to use the tools shared in this work to map your ideas and start the conversation. We call on all players – from community activists, to businesses, local authorities and more – to think about their role in creating change, to reach out to one another, and embrace the approaches and recommendations outlined in these reports. Now more than ever, we need to be working collaboratively and in new ways which promote continuous learning and adapting. We call on power-holders to listen to the experiences and insight of the local people they serve, and to be responsive in times of great challenge and change. It is only together than we can move towards recovery.

This is one of several projects The Young Foundation has been working on alongside communities, pre- and during the Covid pandemic, looking ahead to the future.

If you would like to find out more about the Communities Driving Change project, or how you can get involved. please contact Senior Programme Manager Isabel Young on