Community Groups in a Crisis

Insights from the first six months of the Covid-19 pandemic

A Report from Groundwork

The pandemic has highlighted the positive power of community action, but the voluntary groups and organisations we rely on for a vast range of local services have been massively impacted by restrictions. Just as we continue to help businesses through the crisis we need to recognise that this ‘social infrastructure’ of community organisations also needs support. If we want to ‘build back better’ then having a thriving network of organisations able to help keep our neighbourhoods safe, healthy and green needs to be a critical part of the plan.

Graham Duxbury, Groundwork CEO

The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted on every section of society. This research looks at the experiences of grassroots community groups during spring and summer 2020: how they have been affected by the impact of the virus, how they have responded to support their communities, and how they can be empowered to continue playing
a key role in their neighbourhoods through the next phase of the crisis and recovery.

Key findings:

  • Community groups have been severely impacted by Covid-19 with many pausing activities, losing income and having fewer volunteers available
  • Despite this, most say there is more need for their services in their communities than there was before lockdown
  • The pandemic has created a wide range of practical and emotional challenges including greater reliance on technology, maintaining contact with people and dealing with uncertainty
  • Community groups have responded in creative and resourceful ways
  • Groups have been particularly active in more disadvantaged areas
  • Confidence about continuing in the future is lower than it was before the pandemic, but most feel they have the potential to play a role in the recovery
  • What community groups say they need most is access to funding

This research draws on three sources of information: a survey of 2,658 community groups conducted in June 2020, in-depth telephone interviews with representatives of 103 community groups, and analysis of data about activities supported through the Tesco Bags of Help Covid-19 Community Fund between April and September 2020.

Read the full Report:

One reply on “Community Groups in a Crisis”

This replicates reports produced by CAN, Suffolk VA, Pro Bono Economics, Cheshire Community Leaders (declaration of interest – I produced and analysed that survey), VS6 (Liverpool), and the DCMS/NCVO survey being undertaken by Trent and Hallam Universities.

To date the government have produced £850m to support community groups – all of which has to be spent by 31st March. There is no plan beyond then. The crisis now is nothing compared to what will be seen then.


Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s