COVID-19 resources

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Health on the high street: embedding healthy living into urban regeneration after the pandemic: briefing paper

Social Market Foundation

This briefing is based on a roundtable event held in November 2020, under the Chatham House rule, which brought together experts from local and central government, planning, development, housing and the retail sector to discuss the future of town and city centres, and the extent to which urban regeneration can and should focus on improving public health. The shift towards online retail has accelerated as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic; a shift towards hybrid homeworking is also likely to see reduced demand for office space in town and city centres. The paper argues that e that unused retail and office space could be repurposed and replaced in a way that not only prevents urban degeneration, but also supports public health. Possibilities discussed at the roundtable event included: investment in active travel infrastructure to encourage walking and cycling, and the creation of “20 minute neighbourhoods” in which shops, places of work, leisure facilities and public services are within easy reach on foot or by bike; creating new parks and green spaces in town and city centres; creating “health hubs” and “public sector hubs” in urban centres in which services such as gyms and GP surgeries are in close proximity; replacing commercial real estate with “healthy housing”, including retirement housing designed to reduce loneliness and improve health outcomes for older generations. The report makes a number of policy recommendations, including: adopting a “Health in All Policies” approach with respect to spatial planning; updating the “town centre first” planning policy; providing a clearer framework for how Infrastructure levy funding can and should be used; granting local authorities new revenue-raising powers to support ongoing costs associated with parks and other health-enhancing infrastructure; ensuring local authority planning teams paying more attention to the “curation” of town and city centres.

Last updated on hub: 25 January 2021

The Open University: the path forward for social care in England

The Open University

This report examines the issues confronting adult social care (including workforce professionalisation) and makes recommendations to resolve them. It does so through a review of available literature from around the UK, examining the circumstances and approaches of the four nations. It also draws on a survey of 500 English leaders and managers – based in every region and working for public, voluntary and private-sector organisations delivering social care services, and within local authority social work teams – in order to gauge individuals’ experiences, hopes and fears. The study found that across the social care sector, 76% of respondents said they were sufficiently staffed, with a third (34%) saying they had too many staff for their current workload; despite optimism about numbers, concerns about skills shortages persist – nearly half (44%) of all respondents said they had only the bare minimum of skills to operate, or lacked vital skills to run their operations successfully; COVID-19 has changed working practices, making flexibility a priority, but has not shifted longer-term perceptions of where skills gaps lie; most managers are worried about social care’s enduring challenges squeezing their future access to the staff they need – 54% were worried the UK’s exit from the EU will make it harder for them to source skilled employees; many leaders believe sustainable funding and structured career development are needed to maintain and rebuild the sector – 42% said a defined career would be beneficial for the social care workforce.

Last updated on hub: 25 January 2021

Coronavirus response toolkit for charities

New Philanthropy Capital

A toolkit to help charities to respond and adapt to changes in the environment and in need caused by COVID-19. The toolkit is divided into resources that will help charities now, and resources that deal with less immediate concerns and may be used over the coming months. Many charities will have different needs and they will face different challenges at different times. Topic areas for the immediate crisis cover: understand your users' needs; review your core mission; understand your environment and manage uncertainty; plan for monitoring and evaluation; and embed inclusion in your work. Topics for charities to consider in the coming months are: adapt your strategy: redesign services; work with others; measure and assess your result: and assess and strengthen your internal resources and capabilities. For each topic, the toolkit presents: questions charity staff and trustees should ask themselves; useful resources to read on each topic; and tools or frameworks to use.

Last updated on hub: 25 January 2021

Coordination in place: interim report

NPC

This interim report for the Coordination in place project brings together learnings from the first three months of research—covering the changes seen, some of the main challenges and the early signs of opportunities. The project worked in three areas, where the were signs that coordinated, place-based activity has had a positive impact on the community during the Covid-19 crisis. The study found that Covid-19 has accelerated the shift towards many of the ways of working and attitudes that place-based working had been aiming to address for years. In terms of how organisations work together we are seeing: faster collaboration; a stronger shared focus; more pooling of data and resources, and less bureaucracy; and the lowering of organisational boundaries. These are underpinned by some fundamental attitudinal changes, including: stronger levels of trust, demonstrable appreciation of the third sector and a relinquishing of power by local councils; a willingness to take risks and try new things; more honesty about what’s working and what’s not working in meeting needs; and a stronger awareness in the community of underlying societal issues, which have been exacerbated by this crisis. These changes were enabled by mechanisms that were quite unique to the crisis response. These mechanisms include: permission to focus on a single shared priority; the momentum driven by the immediacy of the problem and the need for urgent solutions; and the additional time and flexibility afforded to us by remote working. The report also explores what currently threatens those shifts the most, including: a breakdown of trust; a loss of momentum; skills and resource gaps; and difficulties in keeping up with changes in need and provision.

Last updated on hub: 25 January 2021

Your care home during winter

Department of Health and Social Care

Explains how care homes, local health partners, families and residents can work together to minimise risk of COVID-19 transmission this winter and look after their wellbeing. The guidance covers infection prevention and control measures; testing; visiting; wellbeing; and COVID-19 vaccination.

Last updated on hub: 25 January 2021

COVID19 care home support: implementation status

Department of Health and Social Care

Template for local authorities care home support planning.

Last updated on hub: 25 January 2021

Working with people in their own homes this winter

Department of Health and Social Care

Explains how home care and support workers, social workers, health professionals and families can work together to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection this winter. It covers infection prevention and control measures; testing; vaccination; and wellbeing. [Last updated 22 January 2021]

Last updated on hub: 25 January 2021

Financialization, real estate and COVID-19 in the UK

Community Development Journal

In the UK, financialization has transformed many areas of the economy, including the housing market. The deregulation of financial markets that took place from the 1980s onwards, combined with the privatization of social housing, has transformed UK real estate from an ordinary good, insulated to some extent from consumer and financial markets, into a valuable financial asset. The financialization of real estate has had a largely negative impact on the UK’s housing market, the wider economy and individual communities; wealth inequality, financial instability, gentrification and homelessness have all increased as the role of the financial sector in UK property has increased. The financial crisis only accelerated many of these trends as distressed real estate was bought up by investors in its wake, and as loose monetary policy pushed up house prices in the period after the crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic is only likely to exacerbate these issues; the UK is sleepwalking into a potential evictions crisis, and ongoing loose monetary policy is likely to prevent a significant and necessary correction in house prices over the long term.

Last updated on hub: 22 January 2021

The coronavirus pandemic and immigrant communities: a crisis that demands more of the social work profession

Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work

As the coronavirus pandemic has taken over matters of life and death globally, immigrant communities were some of the most deeply impacted. In the United States (U.S.), Latinx immigrants and other minorities have experienced greater economic burden and worse health outcomes, resulting in alarming rates of death from COVID-19. Yet the government’s relief measures to support individuals did not extend to millions of immigrants. This left many immigrants with the cruel choice to either stay home to protect themselves and their loved ones from the virus or go to work to support their families. Disregard for a large segment of the population is further complemented by strict immigration policies, harsher border restrictions, and public health guidelines that failed to account for the realities faced by immigrants. This brief highlights the unequal toll of the COVID-19 pandemic on immigrants and consider social work response. This paper argues that the pandemic demands more of the social work profession, as the coronavirus crisis exposed more clearly the systemic inequalities toward immigrants and aggravates their vulnerabilities. Insofar as systems are unequal and racist in the context of coronavirus, there is a great need for social work response that is innovative, brave, and deeply connected to communities.

Last updated on hub: 21 January 2021

COVID-19-related social support service closures and mental well-being in older adults and those affected by dementia: a UK longitudinal survey

BMJ Open

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on delivery of social support services. This might be expected to particularly affect older adults and people living with dementia (PLWD), and to reduce their well-being. Aims: To explore how social support service use by older adults, carers and PLWD, and their mental well-being changed over the first 3 months since the pandemic outbreak. Methods: Unpaid dementia carers, PLWD and older adults took part in a longitudinal online or telephone survey collected between April and May 2020, and at two subsequent timepoints 6 and 12 weeks after baseline. Participants were asked about their social support service usage in a typical week prior to the pandemic (at baseline), and in the past week at each of the three timepoints. They also completed measures of levels of depression, anxiety and mental well-being. Results: 377 participants had complete data at all three timepoints. Social support service usage dropped shortly after lockdown measures were imposed at timepoint 1 (T1), to then increase again by T3. The access to paid care was least affected by COVID-19. Cases of anxiety dropped significantly across the study period, while cases of depression rose. Well-being increased significantly for older adults and PLWD from T1 to T3. Conclusions: Access to social support services has been significantly affected by the pandemic, which is starting to recover slowly. With mental well-being differently affected across groups, support needs to be put in place to maintain better well-being across those vulnerable groups during the ongoing pandemic.

Last updated on hub: 21 January 2021

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