COVID-19 resources

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Same as it ever was: ‘Life during the pandemic was no different to normal… I’m always lonely’: loneliness and Covid-19

Age UK

This briefing provides an overview of drivers of, and solutions to, loneliness. Loneliness is very personal, and circumstances will affect people differently but there are some key drivers of loneliness that we can identify: Covid-19 – the pandemic and the associated lockdowns created a new wave of lonely older people, who had previously been managing to avoid loneliness by keeping active and socialising, opportunities which were then taken away during the pandemic; poor health and wellbeing – difficulties with physical and mental health can reduce older people’s ability to participate in community activities; bereavement; income; and digital exclusion. Solutions to tackle loneliness include: social prescribing; volunteers; voluntary sector access to sustainable funding; digital inclusion; transport and access to services.

Last updated on hub: 26 January 2022

Living in a digital world after Covid-19: the experiences of older people who don’t live their lives online

Age UK

This briefing explores what life has been like during the pandemic for older people who do not use the internet or only use it to a limited degree. There has been a steady increase in the proportion of older people using the internet over recent years, but despite many things moving online because of the pandemic, two in five (40%) of people aged 75 or older in the UK, and more than one in eight (12%) of those aged 65 to 74, do not use the internet. Older people we interviewed who either do not use the internet or only use it to a limited extent recognised that the use of digital technology is increasing, and this was likely to continue. Views and experiences of this varied. While some people are relaxed and feel it makes little difference to them, many expressed some concerns. The main reasons people gave for not using the internet were around not being interested or saying it was not something they need, a lack of digital skills and mistrust and concern about scams. It is essential that those who cannot, or do not want to, use the internet, or do not have a smartphone are not excluded or put at a disadvantage. People must be able to access information, keep in touch, shop, manage their finances, and access public services in ways that suit them.

Last updated on hub: 26 January 2022

Learning from innovation in a crisis: GMCA real time learning project May-September 2020

Innovation Unit

This summary report shares the findings from a rapid, appreciative inquiry into the activities, effects, and implications introduced across Greater Manchester in response to COVID-19 and lockdowns. Across the city region providers of public services, voluntary and community organisations, businesses, families and individuals mobilised and committed their talents, energy, ideas and resources to protecting the most vulnerable members of their communities. Their actions were unprecedented in recent times, inspiring, and visibly and rapidly transforming neighbourhoods’ capacity to help one another. Key findings include; leadership and governance – the emergency response brought a unity of purpose that aligned and liberated informal leadership across the city region, cutting across hierarchies, professional affiliations and organisation boundaries; system conditions – existing system levers failed during the crisis and regulation, inspections, commissioning, funding, designed to manage quality, risk and resources simply evaporated – in their absence risk and resources were shared by local teams and quality outcomes were co-produced with residents; practice and citizen experience – self organising local response teams initiated a rapid shift in modality to provide support driven by people not programmes; workforce and culture; a pattern for a new community workforce was drawn, characterised by blended and flexible teams that include residents and volunteers working as equals alongside professionals in the service of communities.

Last updated on hub: 26 January 2022

From crisis to renewal: redesigning the mental health system around people and communities

This report forms part of the Covid-19 response from the Living Well UK Programme, making the case for a different kind of mental health system. Based on interviews with people with lived experience, front line professionals, managers, leaders and commentators, it draws out a series of insights into how the system has responded to the Covid-19 pandemic, and what this tells us we should drop, maintain, change and grow if we are to improve mental health outcomes and reverse the worsening of our collective mental health. Key messages include: the Covid-19 crisis has contributed to greater mental health inequalities in the population; the Covid-19 response from mental health services has made accessing support harder; as access to services became harder, people described increased importance of, and reliance on informal networks and called for shared community spaces for compassionate support; greater use of technology in service delivery created new possibilities for some and new barriers for others; user choice and flexibility made the difference; staff had very different and unequal experiences of working in the mental health system during Covid-19; response to Covid-19 has shown that rapid change in the mental health system is possible, and highlighted the potential of collective civic action.

Last updated on hub: 26 January 2022

A qualitative exploration of the impact of COVID-19 on food decisions of economically disadvantaged families in Northern Ireland

BMC Public Health

Background: The first UK-wide lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19 had a serious financial impact on low-income households, a population already in higher risk of food insecurity and poor dietary choices. Qualitative data on the impact of COVID-19 lockdown on food decisions of UK families are scarce. This study aimed to explore how the measures to control the spread of COVID-19 influenced the food-related decisions of socioeconomically deprived families in Northern Ireland. Methods: A qualitative study captured data from online individual interviews. Participation was open for parents of children 2–17 years old living on a tight budget in urban and rural areas of Northern Ireland. A sampling matrix enabled equal representation of single- and two-parent households, as well as parents of younger children (<12y) and adolescents (≥12y). Data were collected by using the methods of Photovoice and mapping exercise. Data were analysed through a thematic approach. Results: Twelve online interviews were conducted and five distinct themes were identified reflecting families’ food-related decisions that were affected by the COVID-19 lockdown: 1) food planning; 2) food purchasing; 3) meal preparation; 4) eating and feeding behaviours and 5) eating food prepared outside the house. Conclusions: The restrictions put in place to inhibit the spread of COVID-19 influenced all aspects of dietary decisions of low-income families. Changes observed during this period included frequent consumption of homemade meals, but also increased unhealthy snacking. Infrequent food shopping encouraged good meal planning, but was also a barrier to securing adequate fresh food. Food-related support including school meal assistance contributed to families’ food security, particularly those of single parents.

Last updated on hub: 25 January 2022

The neglected ones: time at home during COVID-19 and child maltreatment

Children and Youth Services Review

The early months of the COVID-19 pandemic led to extreme social isolation, precarious employment and job loss, working from home while tending to children, and limited access to public services. The confluence of these factors likely affects child health and well-being. This study combines early release child maltreatment reports in Indiana with unique and newly available mobile phone movement data to better understand the relationship between staying at home intensively during the COVID-19 pandemic and child maltreatment. These findings indicate that the prolonged stays at home promoted by the early public health response to COVID-19 resulted in reductions in child maltreatment reports overall and substantiated reports of maltreatment. However, relative to areas that stayed home less, children in areas that stayed home more were more likely to be both reported for and a confirmed victim of maltreatment, particularly neglect. These areas have historically been socioeconomically advantaged and experienced lower rates of maltreatment. This study only observes increases in confirmed child maltreatment in metropolitan counties, suggesting that the effects of staying home on child maltreatment may reflect both the differential risk of leaving home and access to services in metropolitan–rather than non-metropolitan–counties. Staying at home has been challenging for many families. Families likely need assistance as the pandemic persists, evolves, and when it ends.

Last updated on hub: 25 January 2022

The effect of child neglect and abuse information studies on parents' awareness levels during the COVID-19 pandemic

Children and Youth Services Review

The research was conducted in order to increase the knowledge and awareness of parents with children between the ages of 4-6 during the COVID-19 pandemic process, through social media applications and programs. The research was designed as a quasi-experimental study with pre-testing, post-testing, and control groups using a quantitative research method. There are 67 parents in the study group, 32 of which are experimental, and 35 are of a controlled group. Data was obtained using The Personal Information Form, Child Neglect and Abuse Awareness Scale for Parents, and Parental Abuse Scale. The “Child Neglect and Abuse WhatsApp and Online Education Program” was applied to the participants in the experimental group. Each day, three messages were sent to the participants in the experimental group on the subjects of child neglect, physical abuse, emotional abuse and sexual abuse, respectively. In addition, online training was given on the same subjects and in the same order in four sessions over the Zoom application. The participants in the control group did not receive any intervention. Before and after the implementation of the Child Neglect and Abuse WhatsApp and Online Education Program, data collection tools were given to the participants in the experimental and control groups. Paired samples t Test, Wilcoxon Signed Ranks Test were used to analyze the data. As a result of the study, there was no statistically significant difference between the pre-test scores and the post test scores of the parents in the control group. When the differences between the pre and post test scores of the parents in the experimental group and the pre and post tests scores of the parents in the experimental and control groups were compared, it was observed that there was a significant difference in favor of the experimental group. In line with this result, it can be said that the education applied has had an impact on the parents' knowledge and awareness of child neglect and abuse.

Last updated on hub: 25 January 2022

Covid Realities: documenting life on a low income during the pandemic

Covid Realities

This report summarises the evidence from the multiple strands of the Covid Realities research programme, which documented the everyday experiences of families with children living on a low income during the pandemic across the UK. Evidence from across the 14 projects that Covid Realities convened showed the impact of the pandemic on low-income families. With a combined cohort of over 4,000 parents and carers, the evidence base showed how families navigated the ongoing challenges and uncertainty around income and expenditure as a result of the pandemic. The projects explore how families living on a low income were supported (or not) by the social security system. The pandemic has highlighted how inequalities of race, social class, disability and gender can interact and cause worse inequalities overall, particularly for those on a low income. Minoritised ethnic populations are at particular risk from the health effects of Covid-19, but also from income shocks, increased precarity and poverty. There was strong evidence of gendered inequalities made worse by the pandemic. Women were often juggling multiple and complex roles, particularly in relation to home-schooling. Women were also more likely to manage household finances, alongside caring for children and paid work. The collated evidence shows that the pandemic had significant mental health effects. People with fewer financial resources at the onset of the pandemic experienced the largest increases in mental ill health during earlier lockdowns. The evidence base from across the 14 projects shows the urgent need to learn from the pandemic, and for government action on social security and mental health in particular, including doing much more to first acknowledge and then act on the relationship between poverty and mental ill health.

Last updated on hub: 25 January 2022

Survey of NCF membership: impact of the Omicron variant

National Care Forum

Findings from a survey of NCF Membership on the impact of the Omicron variant, suggesting an increase in the pressures facing the social care sector as a result of the new variant compounded by the limitations of government support on the frontline. 66% of the homecare providers responding are now having to refuse new requests for home care and 43% of providers of care homes are closing to new admissions, while 21% of providers of home care are handing back existing care packages. Overall, the providers responding reported 18% vacancy rate and 14% absence as a result of the Omicron variant. While the absence rate may be temporary, the vacancy rate has been well documented as growing at an alarming rate over the last six months and has been compounded by other policy decisions such as mandating vaccines as a condition of deployment.

Last updated on hub: 25 January 2022

Children and Young People's Mental Health Coalition: member's report 2021

Children and Young People's Mental Health Coalition

This is the second Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition Members’ Report. It reflects on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic; mental health and wellbeing in education; babies, children, and young people’s mental health in the community; and improving mental health outcomes. To inform the report, we draw on the direct views of Coalition members, children and young people, and parents and carers. The pandemic has highlighted the vital role of the voluntary and community sector in providing mental health support to babies, children and young people, and it is crucial that this role is recognised. Whilst steps have been taken to improve the accessibility of mental health support in education, health settings and the community, gaps still remain. Babies, children and young people still struggle to get the support they need at the right time and in the right place. The pandemic has taught us that collaboration is key. Improving the mental health and care of children and young people means that people and systems need to work well together at every level. Systemic barriers to improved mental health support have included poorly aligned strategies and funding streams, patchy or inconsistent data, and workforce shortages. Overcoming these barriers will be vital to ensure new investment is used well and every opportunity is taken to boost children’s mental health. Steps have been taken towards greater joint departmental working, but it is now more important than ever that a cross-government strategy for children and young people’s mental health is put in place.

Last updated on hub: 24 January 2022

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