Crises tend to bring about both the best and worst in us. As initial panic ensued amid the spread of coronavirus and a worldwide lockdown, stories circulated of arguments in the street and tug-of-war tussles over toilet paper. Meanwhile, we’ve witnessed compassion amid the chaos as people have rallied together to support one another. A great deal of the support being provided has come from social enterprises and community groups, which is no surprise, given they have long been providing solutions to some of the most pressing problems we face as a society. While many have had to quickly adapt to continue serving those most vulnerable, a number of impressive initiatives have also been set up in direct response to the crisis.
Dare to Care Packages
Protective equipment for healthcare staff has been in short supply throughout the pandemic, with some frontline workers even forced to use bin bags to guard themselves against infection. In response to this dire need, Dare to Care Packages is helping provide PPE to NHS staff across the country. They collect equipment such as surgical masks and medical gowns from donors, sending it free of charge to hospitals and GPs who need it.
Dare to Care Packages are also providing donated goods to those most at-risk, such as elderly people and those with existing medical conditions. Packages include essentials like hygiene products and food staples, as well as a treat and a thoughtful note. These are assembled and delivered to people who are self-isolating, by a group of dedicated volunteers.
You can support them by providing resources, donating to their crowdfunder, or by becoming a volunteer. Or why not send one of their cards to someone you’re missing while in isolation? All profits go towards funding the initiative.
Meals for the NHS
It’s not just gloves and masks that healthcare workers are lacking. With thousands working around the clock in an effort to save lives, NHS hospital staff are faced with canteens closing early leaving them with little options to eat. Often their only choice is vending machine snacks to keep them going.
Meals for the NHS was set up to ensure our healthcare workers are well fed during this unprecedented challenge. In their words, “you can’t save the nation on an empty stomach”!
Donations to Meals for the NHS are used to link up local restaurants with hospitals to provide and deliver meals for staff. They’ve already delivered over 40,000 meals to NHS workers across the country. You can donate to the initiative here.
Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK
In rapid response to the coronavirus outbreak, Covid Mutual Aid was established to help people take action and assist those most affected in their communities. It is an umbrella organisation for the thousands of grassroots community groups that have been set up since early March. As a result, people across the country are now self-organising, with anyone able to start their own group. Local groups are largely hosted on Facebook and Whatsapp, allowing community members to connect and to ask for or offer support. This might mean delivering medicine to an elderly neighbour or dropping off groceries to someone struggling to afford essentials.
Run an Errand
While the rules for lockdown might be strict, those in good health are still able to get out of the house for exercise or to volunteer to help others. With Run an Errand, you can do both at the same time. Set up by the team who started Active Things, an app to get people exercising more often, Run an Errand encourages you to go for a run or a cycle on the way to providing someone with support.
It’s been heartening to see so many people willing to offer their support to help others during the crisis. Spare Hand was set up to bridge the gap between the demand and supply for people power by helping organisations find and manage volunteers during the crisis. They match volunteers to community groups, like local food banks, by their location, availability and skills, sending them specific tasks through an app.
Supply Change exists to help social enterprises thrive by connecting them with organisations who want to make their spend matter. We know that this is an incredibly difficult time for many social impact organisations and are continuing to support them as much as possible during this period.
One of the ways we’re doing this is through the Social Enterprise and Community Organisations Directory which we have created in partnership with the Social Value Exchange. The directory allows private businesses and public sector organisations to see social enterprises who they can still buy from at this time. It also features organisations they can help support, either financially or non-financially during the crisis.
If your social enterprise is still offering B2B goods and services or if you need support during this time, let us know by filling in this form and we’ll feature you in the directory.
We’re also crowdfunding so we can continue our work during the COVID-19 crisis. Donate to our campaign here.