Communities are Committed to Good Support

Approaches to Community Support in lockdown

Since lockdown started it has been amazing to see and hear all the good support that communities, volunteers and individuals and community groups have created and delivered. Responding quickly and simply to the emerging crisis and then developing new ways to support each other as the lockdown extended over the summer.

Looking across Scotland we found that many local groups and organisations were responding in the same way to coronavirus. Initially the responses were about meeting basic needs such as picking up shopping, delivering food, meals, hygiene packs and prescriptions for those who were isolating.

Once these key needs were met and ongoing systems in place to support people, we saw organisations developing innovative ways to keep people and communities connected. The supports offered covered a huge range of activities and relationships, and as in real life had many overlaps and benefits.

For some people it meant that they had more connections and supports being offered than in the normal circumstances. Fewer questions were asked, and no proof of need was required.

The impacts of community support

Some comments from people getting help included:

“I’ve been having a phone call every few days for a chat and check that I’m ok and have everything I need from the local support group. Before the lockdown I could go all week without talking to people.”

“We just said we needed some help with the shopping and it was sorted. It’s been so great and we are really thankful to the local volunteers. They just asked us what we needed.”

“So many people needed help with things that I didn’t feel like I was the odd needy one for change. It just seemed normal to ask for and get support.”

What we have learned about community support and responses

● It can be quick and responsive to changing needs and circumstances – working well in an emergency but also people and communities have solutions and ideas around what will work well in their locality.

● Different communities and people need different things and have different ways of doing things. A ‘one size fits all’ approach misses people and communities out and reinforces inequalities.

● Volunteering is absolutely crucial and was an opportunity for lots of new and different people getting involved in new and different ways.

● The experience and knowledge of existing volunteers was really needed

● Nothing happens without trust. If this is missing, there are no volunteers, activities, services, money or people using services or asking for help and no partnerships.

● Partnerships were crucial to the responses. New alliances and new groups were formed, and established partnerships began to work in new innovative ways.

● People like the community spirit and activity of everyone helping each other out and sharing skills and resources.

● We all need some support and people who receive support also have time, gifts and the desire to contribute too. For example, people who were shielding took on making the checking in phone calls to ensure other people were ok and had social connections.

“I like doing my bit and I was feeling isolated because I couldn’t get out – but by using the phone to talk to people I felt so useful and knew I was helping out and doing my bit. And it made me feel good and gave me something to do instead of sitting and worrying.”

● Community Support is flexible and can develop over time, often evolving into different things. Meeting basic needs is important but is just a starting point so much more is needed for healthy, connected communities.

Does this match your experiences of community support response?

We would love to hear from you.

For more information, contact

Learn more about what we’ve been doing and the resources we’ve created to support community groups on the Committed to Good Support page.