We are entering the second month of lockdown and the scale of the impact of Covid-19 is becoming clear on the health service, on society and on business. Much of our own work has also been dramatically affected by the Covid-19 crisis. Our planned Hackathon with university students looking at innovative solutions in health and social care has been put on hold as Universities shut their campuses and it is unclear when students will return this year. Other work such as our initiative with nursing homes has also had to be put on hold as healthcare organisations struggle with the impact of the disease and the societal interventions needed to combat the spread.
What happened? What’s next?
Much of my focus this week is how we can support individuals and organisations during this current Covid-19 crisis. Our two e-learning courses on caring for people with anxiety and depression and managing your own anxiety and depression are proving extremely popular at the moment as people struggle with the impact of this crisis on mental health. These courses are freely available at https://www.fcclearning.org/mentalhealth. This week we have been promoting the courses and making people aware of them as a free resource.
We have also been trying to collate all the information around Covid-19 at a local level so that everyone can see how to register as a volunteer, how to register as a vulnerable adult, how to contact their local council and the like. Click here to access the document.
We have also been looking at ways in which we can support organisations during this crisis, particularly looking at using various datasets to help target activity and support in areas that need it most. This work is at an early stage but we are hoping to be able to offer valuable real-time insights into how communities are responding to the Covid-19 crisis and ways we may better be able to target support.
What did I learn? What does it mean?
I believe that we are still some distance from the peak of this virus and it may be many months or even a few years before we return as a society to anything approaching normality. It is also unclear what that future might be and what the impact of this crisis will be on the economy, on the health and care system and on society as a whole. We are trying to “skate to where the puck will be” during a time where the future is very unclear.
I have been in touch with many contacts in the NHS, the independent health and care sector and in various for-profit and not-for-profit organisations to see how we can help support them and what their plans for the future are. It is clear that many organisations are in lockdown and there is a real concern about the impact of the crisis and the likely recession on whether or not the organisations will survive. It appears nationally that many organisations are at very low levels of reserves and a disturbing survey from the Institute of Fundraising, the National Council for Voluntary Organisations and the Charity Finance Group found that more than two in five (42%) said the pandemic would leave them in danger of being unable to cover payroll and 34% said their ability to pay bills and mortgage repayments would be reduced.
At FCC, we are in the fortunate situation of having sufficient levels of reserves to help tide us through this period and that is one of the reasons why it is so important to see how we can help others and collaborate with others to try and support each other. As John F Kennedy once said “in the Chinese language, the word “crisis” is composed of two characters, one representing danger and the other, opportunity” and even though this is not really true, this period and the subsequent post-Covid world will provide opportunities to innovate and opportunities for new ways of working to address the challenges in health and social care.
Even ideas which were once relegated to the fringes of mainstream political thought are beginning to be seriously considered. Universal Basic Income is now being championed by over 100 MPs as a solution to the post-Covid economic challenges, and even the idea of free universal social care is now being more widely promoted.