How we're responding to the coronavirus crisis
30 Mar 2020 |Written by Adam Micklethwaite
We all face unprecedented challenges with the spread of coronavirus, and at Good Things Foundation we’re doing everything possible to support our network of community partners. They’re playing a vital role in supporting digitally and socially excluded people in their communities to access essential information and services online.
To support our network - and in turn those they are supporting - we’re doing a number of things.
- We have removed performance requirements for all funded projects with Government, private sector and philanthropy, and focused on getting the money out to community organisations. This is helping organisations to continue delivering vital services to their community, without worrying about where funding is coming from or how they’re going to meet delivery targets.
- We are working with Government officials to build the case for an emergency relief fund, matching this with our own reserves. This will mean that organisations who are facing tough times can apply for funding to ensure they can continue delivering the essential services needed by their communities.
- We have reached out extensively across our community partner network, through calls and a light touch survey. This is helping us to find out what our partners really need, so we can shape our response and develop the right support for them.
- We have started a rapid sprint to adapt our learning platform (Learn My Way) and make it even more accessible and relevant. Learn My Way provides important learning opportunities for those lacking essential digital skills, and we want to make it as easy as possible to access. The first step we’ll be taking is to remove the requirement to register for the site, which - although it allows us to collect useful data - can present a barrier. We have also designed new resources to help community organisations provide support tailored to the current situation, including a bundle of digital skills courses covering online health information, contacting your GP online, and video calling.
- We have started discussions with our corporate partners around the support their employee volunteers can provide. We know some of our community partners need extra help and support to continue delivering their services in this difficult time - and that there are a lot of people keen to use their skills for good. So we’re talking now about how we can make this happen.
We are also exploring other actions we can take - including bringing forward grant payments so we can ensure we’re getting money out of the door quickly to keep our community partners going, and whether we can use some of our reserves to support this.
The community sector is being affected in the same way as every sector of the economy - this blog explains it well. At this stage, community partners in our network are either closing, or changing what they do and how they do it. In the face of unprecedented challenges, they are digging deep to continue helping those in greatest need, showing huge determination, ingenuity, and resilience. Some examples are here.
Responding to the emergency is the first phase - we need to keep the support going, reaching out and listening and enabling community partners to do what they need to do. There is no other way to act.
The next phase will come soon. We’ll be building new resources and assets that respond to new challenges. And working to pivot each of our funded projects so they can continue to have impact. In doing so, we’ll be listening to and working with our community partners and drawing on their ideas and skills.
Nobody has answers yet. But together, we can and will find them.