The social and solidarity economy in the Liverpool City Region has begun already to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. We will work with public agencies and other organisations who are committed to supporting our communities.
This page is an initial response to show what we are doing and what we might be able to do. We call for a coordinated – not a command and control – response to pool resources and help social organisations meet the needs of local communities.
Our letter to the Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram on what the social and solidarity economy can do and what support we need can be downloaded by clicking here.
In this we call for the setting up of a Community Resilience Fund and the start of the Social and Solidarity Economy Resilience Group. We also note that the correct support and resource needs to be put into the sector to enable its full participation in supporting our communities.
Ideas for a Covid Community Action Plan (CCAP) are being formulated. We will work with public agencies and help coordinate social organisations and volunteers for this purpose.
Our local voluntary services are mobilising within communities. Knowsley Better Together for example are bringing sector leaders together in Knowsley to coordinate a response. The CVS are involved in local resilience arrangements in many local communities and are encouraging people to think about how the volunteering effort is mobilised without discouraging neighbourliness. We have social organisations in the city region who are able to offer and coordinate volunteering efforts.
Those working in social care, health and wellbeing are well placed to make contact with the most vulnerable. Better coordination will reduce duplication and support this essential requirement.
We have community hubs at the centre of many of our poorest communities who must be enabled to play an active response. We know hubs like the Rotunda and SAFE are already active. We can use our community hubs to help coordinate things like food bank support, and create a physical space for volunteers – although we must recognise the risks involved.
Some organisations have designed self-isolation neighbour help cards such as this. You can download a version here.
Our local authorities have begun to plan. They can consider how we mobilise to meet increase social demands in the near future. How food banks can be supported, how those on free school meals will be helped when the schools close, how we reach the elderly and most vulnerable.
We need to think about cash flow for social enterprise and small business. This is critical. If local authorities are to administer cash flow assistance to small business, then social enterprise has to be included.
A number of local COVID-19 local community support groups have been set up and you can find them on Facebook.
Our aim is to ensure the social economy is supported so it can continue to work with other public agencies on the front line in response to this crisis.
We cannot wait for central government to protect our communities and this page is an initial response. Much more is being planned.