Staying connected in times of challenge and change

East London Cares is all about helping people find connection and community in times of challenge and change. It's our mission to help our neighbours to reduce their isolation and loneliness; to improve their confidence, wellbeing, belonging, purpose and power through face-to-face relationships; and to bridge the gaps across social, generational, digital and attitudinal divides. 

We take very seriously our responsibility to all of our neighbours'  and our community's collective health and wellbeing: it is our first priority. 

So given the vulnerability of older people, in particular, to the new Coronavirus, we have developed a plan to protect our neighbours from infection while also ensuring that they can stay connected in this disconnecting time. That plan is based around three core pillars which broadly reflect the government's:

PHASE ONE – COMMUNICATE internally and externally based on the advice from government and health agencies: 

  • We have already communicated information from the government about containing the virus – verbally at our Social Clubs and in writing to older neighbours in our Love Your Neighbour programmes – to ensure as many neighbours as possible receive this information. 
  • We have written to all younger neighbours on our active email lists to ensure they are taking practical measures to protect their older neighbours – read the email here.
  • We have communicated with all our staff on the importance of following the advice from government and will continue to do so. 
  • We are not yet suspending any programmatic activity, in line with advice. 

PHASE TWO – RESPOND to further government advice as it emerges: 

  • We are reviewing information from government and health agencies every day and following advice and health protocols. 
  • If recommendations to postpone or cancel events over a certain size, or to extend social distancing, are published, we will slim down our Social Clubs, Love Your Neighbour and Outreach programmes accordingly.
  • We may continue our Community Fundraising activity in this scenario or create new campaigns to ensure income is protected in an emergency. 

PHASE THREE – ADAPT through broader programme suspension: 

  • In the event of a serious and ongoing epidemic, we may be required to suspend  current programming altogether. 
  • We are making plans for this eventuality.
  • We are also devising new ways to help our neighbours share connection remotely.

This final point is key. At a time of challenge, change and social distancing, when self-isolation or imposed isolation may become a necessity in order to protect community health, we will work with partners to develop innovative alternatives to help our neighbours to stay connected – online, on the phone and in the community, albeit not face-to-face. We are planning for the best but preparing for the worst case scenario. 

If you would like to support East London Cares to help our older neighbours stay connected at this disconnecting time, please read about how you can support us here.

Alex Smith

Posted by Alex Smith on Wednesday 11th March 2020

Alex is NLC's founder and CEO.

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