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Community Responses to COVID 19: An equalities perspective

Posted September 11th 2020 by Ciara

Throughout the pandemic we have seen communities responding in creative and flexible ways. The urgency of the situation meant that many supports were put into place quickly to respond to the immediate needs of community members. The lack of red tape and bureaucracy meant that innovative solutions could happen quickly and at a local level, with community members organising the things that worked for them.

While there were benefits to this way of working, it sometimes meant that the needs of specific communities weren’t considered. Meal delivery services often didn’t offer halal, kosher or vegan options. Some LGBTQ people didn’t feel safe reaching out for support in their communities as they worried about facing homophobia or transphobia. People who didn’t have access to WIFI connections or computers felt isolated as more and more activities moved online.

Many Equality organisations responded to these specific needs and were able to expand their services to support people throughout the pandemic.

Glasgow Disability Alliance offered phone support, providing IT equipment and support to get people online, online and phone peer support, online learning, coordinating shopping and medicine deliveries, and support with welfare rights and legal information.

Amina Muslim Womens Resource Centre have been producing blogs on wellbeing and coping with lockdown, along with a helpline and a survey to find out how Muslim and BME women are affected by COVID 19.

LGBT Health and Wellbeing have been sending out Virtual Hugs- frequent newsletters with information, tips on wellbeing, and input from community members. They have transformed their programme into virtual meet ups and events via zoom.

QueerCare Network produced a series of COVID-19 protocols and organised community care volunteers throughout the pandemic. They spoke about how they were uniquely positioned to respond to the crisis as they already had community care processes in place, as well as well trained volunteers as they were already supporting LGBTQ people who were unable to access more formal avenues of support.

No Evictions Glasgow organised food, phones and clothing for asylum seekers who had been moved into hotel accommodation during lockdown. They advocated for better conditions and coordinated with local organisations to provide support.

We can learn from these responses the need to have a fully considered, inclusive approach to community care. By working with individuals to find out their specific needs and what they need to make them feel safe and supported, we can make sure that no-one is left behind or feels isolated within their communities.

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