Local Rep Report Apr – Jun 2020

April – June 2020

These last three months of reacting to the Covid-19 pandemic have had a huge impact on our neighbourhoods and communities. We have been faced with questions and concerns we could not have even imagined and we approach the summer with many uncertainties ahead. Yet, people’s warmth and compassion, understanding and action in responding to such unprecedented need are the lasting tribute to the community’s compassion and resilience. Thank you all.

Local Trust continues to support the 150 areas through help with online networking and events and is holding Big Local Connects online from 9-11 July. Any likely Covid-19 related funding is flagged up such as the Emerging Futures Fund. We share local issues and action to influence wider policy, stressing how Big Local succeeds through strong local relationships, responding to community need, open communication with residents, collaboration and partnership.

 Priorities and achievements looking back: running things well and responding to Covid-19 through close working with partners, support to key families and moving to partnership meetings online.

 Running things

Despite the disruption caused by the pandemic, plan delivery is going well, with successful completion of the first year of the three year plan in March. The partnership meets monthly via online conferencing to review plan progress and finances. Minutes are posted on the website. In February, quarterly management reports were approved and these and the service level agreements are posted on the website along with good news stories of local action and change and newsletters. In addition, short videos from partners are being posted to social media to increase contact. The partnership has put on hold planning for ways of shared working and collaboration after Big Local ends.

 Doing things

Allenton Big Local supports deliveries to 36 families each week. The content of the parcels rotates between food, cleaning products and toiletries. Two young volunteers help put the packs together. There has been very positive feedback; it has proved a valuable opportunity for workers to check how families and young people they support have been managing.

Partners are adapting to circumstances and need. Enthusiasm, for example, has highlighted young people struggling with mental health and wellbeing, coping with complex, difficult and dangerous home circumstances such as domestic violence, alcohol and substance abuse, being at a higher risk of exploitation by local criminals due to being out of school for such a long period, being at increased risk of online grooming. They are continuing their support through regular phone calls, virtual youth activities, such as virtual FIFA tournaments, and responsive online mentoring, advice and support. More recently some face to face work has been able to resume.

St Martin’s community centre has had to remain closed except for food bank activities and nursery type activities. Recently, Steps has reopened its support to young adults with additional learning needs.

Key priorities looking ahead: keeping on supporting local families, opening up further support services as social distancing allows, continuing to run things smoothly in the partnership and being ready to bounce back once the worst is passed, including exploring future options regarding sustainability.

 Key achievements: the partnership continues to meet online and remains well connected with local action to support vulnerable people in the community. Partner organisations represented in the partnership have adapted services successfully and have plans in place to open up further as guidance allows.