COVID-19 Urban health

COVID-19: supporting our partners and local communities

30 March 2020
2 min read

As an organisation focused on health inequalities, we are deeply motivated to minimise the impact of the pandemic. This applies to both our local communities and the partners we work with.

Our priority is to support the people we work with through these uncertain times. By doing so, we hope to position them to continue offering vital services to thousands of people across our boroughs and beyond.

Short-term: supporting our partners during COVID-19

We are in close contact with our partners to understand what support they need and to shape our help. We aim to be a rapid, responsive and flexible partner. 

Acting for the ‘now’, much of our focus has been on responding to the immediate needs of our local communities. In the first few weeks of March, we committed over £2,000,000 to the London Community Response Fund, citizen-led funding channels and critical local organisations.

We have also started connecting insights from our urban health programmes into London’s response effort – for example, on targeting food voucher schemes to families on lower incomes, and on using digital approaches to improve people’s mental health in their homes.

Identifying communities most vulnerable to COVID-19

Long-term: preparing for life after the pandemic

The world will be different after the current crisis has passed, and we are thinking through the steps we and our partners can take now to prepare for it. The tough realisation of this pandemic is that when all of this is over, it won’t be over. 

Beyond the immediate effect of the virus itself there will be the lasting – and no less real – health impacts of an economic downturn. This creates an urgency to act both now and for the longer term. 

And that’s shaping our response because our distinct impact as a long-term institution is in our ability to influence and to plan. To that end, we have begun work with others to think through what the world will look like after this pandemic. What is clear is that widening health inequalities will have accelerated. What is less clear is how to minimise this.

So that’s our focus. And to the extent that any good can be said to flow from such a human catastrophe, there are now huge opportunities for change. 

We have seen an extraordinary capacity for people to come together, and a previously unimaginable willingness to redefine the role of the state – all of which are critical for many other global health challenges.

Are you interested in our response to COVID-19? See what else we’ve been working on to support people during the pandemic.