Government support for charity sector a valuable first step in helping charities protect the most vulnerable.
As the government announces a package of financial support for charities, a new coalition has been formed to help build stronger connections within communities and neighbourhoods despite the the physical isolation made necessary by Covid-19.
The Jo Cox Foundation has come together with Mind, Age UK, British Red Cross, Facebook, Nesta, Nationbuilder, The Cares Family and other expert organisations to address the need to maintain social connections and protect the nation’s physical and mental well-being.
The creation of the coalition has been welcomed by the government. The Secretary of State at DCMS, Oliver Dowden, said it would it was important to “keep in touch with our loved ones and reach out to those we don’t know” and the coalition would “help combat loneliness in a time of social distancing” (Times Red Box).
Catherine Anderson, CEO of the Jo Cox Foundation, said:
“Our nation and communities face intensified social and emotional crises including loneliness, mental health and bereavement. We believe that meaningful social connection is key to overcoming these challenges. Strong reciprocal relationships build solidarity, belonging and the belief that we have more in common than that which divides us.”
Connection Coalition members will use their expertise to provide inspiration and on-line tools to build the capacity of all those seeking to create and maintain strong reciprocal social relationships.
Members will focus both on the immediate pressures on individuals and communities, and also the longer-term need to ensure that the many ways by which we support one another are sustained once the health crisis has passed.
In practical terms the coalition will use on-line tools and innovative technology to help charities and other organisations use their stretched resources as efficiently as possible to strengthen the social connections that protect the most vulnerable.
Responding to the government’s announcement, Catherine Anderson said:
“Firstly, we pay tribute to our dedicated colleagues from across the sector for their hard work in securing this commitment. Charities protect the wellbeing of the most vulnerable, and we welcome the recognition of DCMS and the Treasury of the incredible contribution they are making, alongside the NHS and so many others, in the battle against coronavirus. The government's financial package of support is a much-needed investment that will help sustain the social fabric of the country and we’re sure it will pay dividends. Above all, charities must be able to continue their essential work - now, more than ever before. This support is an important first step in ensuring that our civil society remains strong, flexible and adaptable in these uncertain times."
The Connection Coalition is inviting interested groups to sign up via the website: