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Different starting points

To what extent has your experience of Covid-19 been impacted by your own starting points or those of your local community?

The different contexts and situations we all found ourselves in before the pandemic proved critical in our ability to meet the challenges of the pandemic, quickly and responsively.

The same is true for the communities we live in, the organisations we engage with or the companies we work for.

Community doesn’t come out of nothing and I really feel that looking back on it… We just had our eighth AGM last week and I’m like holy moly, it has been eight years! It takes so much time to build that community in an urban setting, where people’s sense of community is so temporary a lot of the time.

Chairperson of the community greengrocer Dig In, Edinburgh Isla McCulloch

What we heard...

"There's so much deprivation right next door to the gentrification of other areas where it's million-pound houses - all within a mile of each other. So how would you start to speak with a common voice when people's experiences are so different?”

Advisor in person and community centred approaches, Greater Manchester

“Communities with historic mistrust of medical intervention, “If someone says ‘the vaccine is about making GP’s rich’ or ‘I don’t trust Pfizer, look at what they did to our communities...’, the question is really, what did ‘they’ do to our communities?”

Samira Ben Omar, co-founder Community Voice, North West London

Nick Dixon, senior advisor in person and community centred approaches, Greater Manchester


Different starting points for communities


  • A pre-existing digital divide excluding older people and disadvantaged communities


  • Impact of climate change on our coastline and communities
  • A shift from communities of place to communities of interest
  • Pre-existing food poverty


  • A frantic pace of change and unsustainable growth 

North West

  • Polarisation and division growing and showing up in communities



Stats and Facts

  • Action for Children finds that early intervention services for children have seen spending cut by 46% (PDF, 450KB) in the eight years to 2018/19
  • According to the Office of National Statistics, the difference in life expectancy between the most and least deprived areas in England widened between 2013 and 2018
  • By 2015 the Local Authorities in the most deprived areas had seen budget cuts of £220 per head compared to £40 per head in the least deprived areas


Food for thought

“The pandemic has deeply affected us all – but not equally. The crisis has ruthlessly exposed how our vulnerability to shocks varies hugely, determined by a complex web of existing inequalities, across genders, age groups, races, income levels, social classes and places.”

Unequal Britain report (2021)

“14 million people, a fifth of the population, live in poverty. Four million of these are more than 50% below the poverty line, and 1.5 million are destitute, unable to afford basic essentials. For almost one in every two children to be poor in twenty-first century Britain is not just a disgrace, but a social calamity and an economic disaster, all rolled into one.”

UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights (2018)

Navigating change before the pandemic

  • Different starting points

    To what extent has your experience of Covid-19 been impacted by your own starting points or those of your local community?

  • Clouds of austerity

    How have the cuts in public funding impacted you, your family and your local community over the last decade?

  • Peaks of power and privilege

    What did power and privilege mean to you before the pandemic?

  • Old world inertia

    To what extent do you feel the pull of the old and the familiar in your own life and the communities and institutions that you are a part of?

  • Lake of latent energy

    Where were you seeing energy for change before the pandemic?

  • Castles of command and control

    What has been your experience of engaging with public, voluntary and other services – to what extent did you feel they were designed to meet your needs?