Community activity at its finest - how the people of Brighton & Hove have responded to the Covid-19 crisis
Over the last few months it’s been incredible to witness how the people of Brighton & Hove have adapted to the Covid-19 crisis. The many groups, organisations and individuals we work with across the city were already dealing with significant inequalities which have only intensified as the crisis has unfolded. These community champions are now dealing with additional challenges amidst a vast uncertainty of what is yet to come.
Our city has mobilised to take action and make sure the most vulnerable in our communities are not forgotten. It’s community activity at its finest and at TDC we have not only been in awe at the actions of groups and individuals but incredibly proud of our staff who have adjusted their roles to do what is needed during this unprecedented situation.
On our blog we've been sharing stories about some of the amazing community initiatives that have risen out of the Covid-19 crisis and how our team has been able to support those local people taking action.
You can find links to all the stories below and view all the stories in one place on our blog →
Overcoming the language barrier for Bangladeshi women
Mish, a member of the Moulsecoomb Bangladeshi Women's group, has been providing assistance to people throughout the pandemic, particularly with regards to the language barrier, which has restricted people’s access to food and health advice.
Anna is cooking! – and improving English skills along the way
Our MESH programme helps migrants, refugees & asylum seekers integrate themselves into life in Brighton & Hove. During lockdown some of our clients got together online with a local chef who cooked whilst they chatted to each other, learning English as they went along.
Delicious food and positive messages to NHS workers
Maha, a recent recruit to our equalities team, has community spirit running through her and during the Coronavirus pandemic she has shopped for vulnerable people in her community and put together 37 food containers with delicious food and positive messages for NHS workers.
Resilient community response to lockdown: A foodbank adapts
The Bevendean food bank has been open since 2012 entirely run by volunteers. As lockdown began many of the volunteers had to isolate or shield whilst demand rose to 70+ households per week. The food bank had to adapt in order to carry on their vital work.
Community led – a new food hub is formed
The Phoenix Residents’ Group is an organisation dedicated to improving the lives of people in a central area of Brighton. As the Covid-19 crisis unfolded it became apparent that the area needed a food hub and it now delivers to 30 households each week.
Volunteer power – A foodbank copes with quadrupling demand
The Vale Community Centre Food Bank experienced a rise from 25 to almost 100 households at peak in lockdown. To meet this demand, they were supported to move site to the closed Edge Community Centre and merge with the Pankhurst Area.
An Online Youth Programme
When the lockdown began, the TDC Youth team took swift action to create an online programme of youth work, providing a weekly schedule of events such as facebook chats, zoom youth clubs and other live streams plus daily challenges and quizzes.
PPE for care workers
Kerry, the Care Manager at Downlands Court wanted to organise activities for the residents but was unable to do so due to insufficient PPE. TDC’s Sue reached out through her network of volunteers and found craft volunteers to make face masks.
Covid-19 IT support
Earlier this year TDC’s Cal had been working with residents of Ravensbourne Court in Woodingdean to tackle digital isolation - a term used to describe when individuals can't access the internet or digital devices as much as other people. The skills he taught helped people to remain connected to the outside world during the lockdown.
Delivering Newsletters in the West of Hove
Communication has been crucial during the Covid-19 pandemic as normal channels have been disrupted and people have needed to swiftly find new ways of interacting with each other. Our teams have worked with Brighton & Hove City Council as well as local services in each of their areas to create local community newsletters.
New Networks in
TDC works closely with the Hollingdean Development Trust who runs the Hollingdean community centre and other neighbourhood projects. In the first few weeks after the lockdown was announced the HDT had to adapt to the centre closing, staff working remotely and were able to respond to the demand for emergency food.
Post lockdown promo for East Brighton Park café
After renovating and reopening the East Brighton Park cafe at the start of this year, it had to be closed down after just 5 weeks due to Covid. Despite the difficult situation, owners Stephen and Marilyn didn’t lose hope and improvised with a takeaway menu. They then worked with the Due East newsletter team to introduce themselves to local people.
A reminder that the online coronavirus help directory is still active - providing trusted information on Covid-19 to residents of Brighton & Hove.
COVID Brighton & Hove contains welfare advice, support offers, public health advice and more vital information on Covid-19. It has a special focus on protecting and supporting the most vulnerable and excluded members of our communities.
The most recent Annual Report of the Director of Public Health featured a case study (pg. 41) from the Supported Employment Team (SET) at Brighton & Hove City Council. This team runs a service helping employers to improve diversity in their workforce, and working with local residents with disabilities to overcome barriers to employment.
One member of the Health and Adult Social Care team had attended a TDC course on working with communities in 2019. This prompted her to get in touch with the SET team and explore ways for people with disabilities to work in care homes and supported living services. The case study featured in the report was one of the people she worked with as a direct result of this.
We are delighted to welcome Mike Pattinson to TDC as Interim Chair of the Board of Trustees.
Mike is a resident of Brighton & Hove and brings a wealth of experience to TDC. He has been an Executive Director at Change Grow Live for over 20 years, formerly chaired Community Works, and also has experience on the board of criminal justice charity Unlock. Mike has a track record in Community Development, was previously involved with the Hangleton & Knoll Project and is a strong supporter of the local voluntary sector.
“As a local resident of the city for the last 35 years I have had a long personal and professional interest in TDC's work that stretches back many years.
I hope that I can bring my experience to help steer TDC through our next stages of development. This will include broadening and strengthening the Board to better represent the communities we serve and to support the team in delivering services and projects, as well as building upon the reputation TDC has grown over many years and continuing to influence the city to become a city of equality and inclusion.”
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