“Many of our community enterprises do day support – you can’t do physical day support at the moment so many have moved to virtual support. We work with other community enterprises that are frontline workers supporting people in their own home. They have just carried on. We fought locally to get access to personal protective equipment and we have had one or two poorly people but that is all. 

The really interesting thing we noticed in our work in communities and with community organisations is that all the local authority rules just got abandoned. All this worry about risk – the local authorities just stopped and said: “You do it.” Stuff that looked as though it would be set in stone forever just got abandoned.

“What is interesting now is that some local authorities are now saying: “What have we learned, what shall we continue?” Others are rushing back to how it was before. What we’re trying to do is encourage and highlight the local authorities who are thinking intelligently about this and trying to redress the balance between the state and communities.

“As an organisation, we remained working in all our areas but the pipeline dried up – the enquiries coming through stopped. Now we’re coming out and it’s building back up again. But this gave us a bit of space to think a bit and position a bit and decide what we want to fight for. The mutual aid webinar has been part of that.”

"These calls have enriched my thinking around what it will take to make permanent changes to the way that social care is delivered at a local level." [tweet this]

“I have seen on these calls that all over the country during coronavirus, councils have moved out the way quickly to allow communities to act.

“The network has been an invaluable part of sharing ideas for more systemic change. We need to keep that conversation going.”

“The breakout rooms have been good. I joined the micro-enterprises thread, and what’s nice is that we had enough time to have a proper discussion. From this thread we have started talking to Flourish who are about supporting women to become entrepreneurs in Stockport. They have the business element and we have the health and social care element so we’re hoping to be useful to one another.”

Sian Lockwood is the chief executive of Community Catalysts, a community interest company working with local authorities to enable local people to use their gifts, imagination and skills in social care and health enterprise.