Unprecedented challenges

Wed, 18 March 2020

This week we have written to National Voices members, below is the content of our letter.

The arrival of coronavirus in our communities creates unprecedented challenges. We want to thank our members for all the vital work that they are doing to support vulnerable people through uncertain times, and to share more widely what we are doing.

The valuable contribution of National Voices’ members

The civil society response to the coronavirus crisis is essential. As organisations supporting people with ‘underlying conditions,’ as the Government guidance puts it, the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise sector are making lifesaving contributions, including:

  • Tailored clinical information: Working with clinical advisors to produce tailored information about covid-19 for the people you support, to complement official government guidance.
  • Advice lines: Reassuring people and guiding them to evidence based advice
  • Professional and peer support: Helping people cope through befriending, visits and activities
  • Health advocacy: Advocating for people and communities who are easily forgotten or ignored: people living with stigma and discrimination already, people who are homeless, people who don’t have good English, people who struggle with loneliness or mental ill-health.

We want members to tell us about your activities so that we can share these with other members and government who are keen to collate all bespoke support offers.

What we are doing to support our members

We know that health is about more than medicine, and now more than ever, we are reminded that it takes neighbours, communities, volunteers and charities to support people’s wellbeing. We at National Voices are working with NAVCA, the British Red Cross and their Voluntary Community Sector Emergencies Partnership to see how we can support this crucial work of charities and communities. NCVO have also produced this useful Q&A covering a lot of different aspects of how voluntary organisations can be impacted by the coronavirus.

We are also continuing as much of our work as possible. We are grateful if our members and partners have capacity to support this, but understand if you need to focus elsewhere. We too will be keeping the situation under review, and thinking carefully and responsively about how we can further support our members and the civil society response to this public health emergency as it unfolds.

For now though, we will keep talking about issues such as peer support, health inequalities, and people’s emotional support needs. Not because we don’t understand the pressures people and services are under. But because we believe that a good life is about more than survival: it is about working together to make every person, every experience count.

We are grateful to every charity, volunteer and organisation who are stepping up. Thank you for everything you do – in this crisis and beyond.