‘People don’t want things to return to how they were before’ — Findings of coronavirus study released by Bethnal Green charity

Findings of "Covid-19 and Me" project have been released by Bethnal Green charity The Young Foundati

Findings of "Covid-19 and Me" project have been released by Bethnal Green charity The Young Foundation. Picture: The Young Foundation - Credit: Archant

The findings of a ‘Covid-19 and Me’ archive project launched earlier this year have been released.

As reported by the Advertiser in April, Bethnal Green charity The Young Foundation invited people to share their experiences via an online platform, with the aim of gauging the virus’ social impact.

Over the course of 100 days, more than 600 adults — 75 per cent female, 25 pc male, and 21 pc key worker — contributed to the project, broken down into first-person stories and recommendations.

There were similar threads through many of the accounts, say the charity, such as community solidarity being a key focus at the beginning of lockdown.

Other shared experiences included a quick acceptance of the ‘new normal’, the missing of physical touch, the impact of having less space, and, as time wore on, increased levels of worry over the future.

The stories are organised week by week, with links made to significant dates in the public news cycle, such as the introduction of new government guidelines.

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Helen Goulden, CEO at The Young Foundation said: “To better understand the short and long-term impact of the pandemic on UK communities, we knew that we had to hear directly from people all over the country to understand what has been really happening.

“Listening to communities is essential to understanding what really works and what doesn’t in times of crisis.”

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In terms of recommendations aimed at policymakers and government influencers, many contributors urged those in power to recognise that people don’t want things to return to how they were before.

They want the pandemic to be a catalyst for change, in terms of prioritising both community and positive mental health.

A key recommendation was that decision makers use this experience to inform the handling of future challenges.

Helen continued: “It is our hope that the recommendations included open the door to more engaged dialogue between decision-makers and communities, especially in this economically uncertain recovery period.”

This digital archive — created in partnership with the Open University (OU) — is available to view on The Young Foundation’s website.

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