Published on 9th Sep, 2020
Communities and COVID is a project capturing moving and uplifting accounts of how grassroots groups in Northern Ireland responded to the impact of COVID-19.
When the pandemic broke out, the organisations involved were taking part in peacebuilding and social justice programmes supported by SCI, the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland (CFNI) and the St. Stephen’s Green Trust (SSGT).
Their response to the pandemic is captured in 25 stories reflecting their shared experiences of loss, isolation and fear. The stories also recount the ways in which communities came together to help those in need of basic day-to-day essentials, to support services, and provide human connection, care and solidarity.
The collection includes a diverse range of voices including those working in inner-city settings, supporting rural communities, addressing the needs of LGBT communities, former prisoners, those addressing the pandemic's impact on women, migrant voices, and much more.
The stories offer a snapshot of the extent of community activity and the important role it played in society’s response to the pandemic, collaborating across community boundaries, with public bodies and businesses. This grassroots activity mobilised and supported people within and across communities and sectors.
The stories also capture important learning and point to the need to find better ways of dealing with the residual post-COVID issues including mental health and wellbeing, social isolation, financial hardship and unemployment.
As we think about Building Back Better, it is clear that a vibrant and properly resourced community sector is one of the key building blocks required to complement strong and effective public services shaped by local community need.