Covid, Community and Collaboration – #HelpAndKindness
Taking a moment to look at the work that we’ve contributed to over the past four months
| Covid, Community and Collaboration It’s been a hectic few months since we last shared an update with you, reflecting on all the things that have been happening with #HelpAndKindness. It’s been an extraordinary time; full of inspiration, love and collaboration, to provide vital support to some of the most vulnerable people in our community. Here are some memorable moments from this amazing journey. COVID-19 Community Response|
Just weeks after we publicly launched the #HelpAndKindness website the coronavirus pandemic crisis began. Our work to map the local community services and support across Dorset suddenly drew the attention of the countywide Community Shield for safeguarding the most vulnerable people in our community during lockdown, and we were invited to join the Community Response Team, led by Dorset Council. The Team’s task is to draw together the volunteer and community responses to Covid-19 with the local government and healthcare services’ responses.
We have been so proud to be part of an exceptional collaboration of individuals and organisations, who have worked intelligently, pragmatically and swiftly to deliver an evolving service that has given Dorset’s residents a seamless range of support to keep people as safe and well as possible.
The work we’ve contributed has provided information and communication services to serve the front line support teams, helplines and volunteers, as well as being a reference point for the public when they need help.
We participated in daily briefings and meetings, hearing about the emerging needs, discussing potential ideas, and then rapidly building the solutions. We received financial support from Dorset Council and successfully applied for three small Covid emergency grants to enable us to focus our efforts on this work. Rapid Service Development As the Covid crisis response has developed we have delivered some amazing services to support the Team’s work and shape our understanding of people’s needs across the county. Here are some of our major projects: Community Group Mapping We researched and built a system to gather information on the local volunteer Covid Response Groups that sprang up across the county to help people with getting food and medicines, and offering befriending. Dashboards for Call Centres We created quick reference lists for helpline staff to use to find local volunteers to support the public when they rang in needing help with shopping or medicine collection. Shopping Service Mapping When people couldn’t get delivery slots with major retailers we built a system to show local village food businesses who could offer delivery services across the county, allowing people to get help locally.
Data Sharing for Planning Strategy We have developed data sharing solutions with Dorset Council’s mapping and strategic services, allowing them to discover the local volunteer support provision for shielded and vulnerable people. Research and Analysis We’ve carried out extensive research into service provision beyond the Covid support groups too, looking at the effect of Covid on normal services, and tracking how they are evolving or having to be mothballed due to health and safety challenges. Listening and Responding The core focus of #HelpAndKindness on the grassroots support and services that serve and evolve within communities has continued to guide our work. We’ve listened to what has been needed, and what has been changing and developing in this unparalleled social response to the coronavirus pandemic.
What we have heard has directly triggered our efforts. Supporting those who serve and support has led us to create new aspects to the #HelpAndKindness project. Some needs have meant we’ve brought forward plans that we’d set for two years’ time; some have been completely novel and unexpected.
Across everything throughout these weeks has been a sense of urgency, meeting needs, directly contributing and using our project to enable the great work of others in large and small ways in the villages, towns and streets of Dorset.
Continuing to Respond and Listen As the Covid crisis response is now (hopefully) turning into Covid recovery we are building a host of new solutions and services to support community projects that are underway either as part of the Community Response Team or as part of local initiatives in many different localities.
The new ways of working that have been the exceptional feature of the Community Response have sparked so many new and re-imagined projects to improve the lives and wellbeing of people living in Dorset, and we’re so happy to be able to contribute to and get involved with many of these brilliant new developments.
Personally Speaking The whole #HelpAndKindness project has been a long-held personal passion, rooted in the hope and belief that we have something to offer, something that could serve people in Dorset, and make a positive contribution to their wellbeing. It has been profoundly moving and humbling to see this take flight and find a home in the service of the Covid Response.
We are proud to be a part of a brilliant team. We sincerely hope that this is a sign of what #HelpAndKindness can contribute, and are looking forward to people contacting us with other ideas that we can help with. Thank you to everyone who has encouraged, supported and contributed to #HelpAndKindness; it is how it is because of you. Thank you.
Get In Touch Anyone who would like to get in touch with project ideas, to support or sponsor or to volunteer to help, or to know more about what we’re doing, is very welcome to drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll arrange a chat, Zoom, Skype or maybe (hopefully soon) a face-to-face meet up.
Stay safe and take care.
With our warm wishes,
Jon and Nic
Co-Founders of #HelpAndKindness
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