basic I think we need to talk about community resilience and social cohesion, because as the wide-ranging implications of COVID19 become apparent, it’s becoming clear that people are going to need support in all kinds of different and changing ways.
Essentially, I think we have two options when faced with a threat like a coronavirus epidemic. It’s either an individual survivalist response, or a broader perspective based on the belief that we survive and thrive together, and that in times of crisis we need each other more, not less.
What is heartening to witness in my own local community, and right across South West Wales, is that people are choosing the latter: ordinary people saying, let’s figure out how we can mobilise collectively to support those that might need help in the coming weeks, and activate those who feel able to offer help.
Just with simple things, initially, like collecting medicines and groceries for people who don’t want to leave their homes; but if the virus spreads or the crisis materialises, it’s these community social networks powered by local people that will provide resilience and give us the ability to support each other and work together.
Our suggestion is that we work together to form a network of community groups specifically focused on developing social cohesion and community resilience – sharing ideas and resources, connecting people who want to support their local communities in this way, and hopefully creating a basis upon which we can start to build lasting regional resilience.
We are meeting with Swansea Council for Voluntary Services in the next few days, along with other partners who may wish to collaborate, to consider safeguarding issues and other logistics. And we would love to hear what you’re doing locally, have you got ideas you could share with others, would you like to be part of the conversation?
We have created an open map as a starting point, which community volunteers may wish to adopt as a means of coordinating activity in their local areas, and to be part of a “community of best practice” to share plans, ideas and resources.
You can begin adding your community volunteers to the map, and, as ever, we welcome all feedback and co-creation.
Contact us with your ideas and expertise, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org