Community groups struggling to survive amid Covid-19 pandemic, research warns

Six out of ten community groups have been forced to close or reduce their support services due to Covid-19.

The findings have been published by community charity Groundwork into the impact of the pandemic on community groups this year.

Groups looked at include voluntary led services, sports clubs, community choirs and specialist support services.

Despite 60% saying they have been forced to stop operating or reduce service provision, a similar proportion (67%) say demand for their help is increasing.

Goundwork’s report Community groups in a crisis: insights from the first six months of the Covid-19 pandemic found that eight out of ten groups have lost income and only around half feel confident about their long term viability.

Among those surveyed 84% are confident they can help communities as long as they are supported through partnerships with councils and the private sector.

"The pandemic has highlighted the positive power of community action, but the voluntary groups and organisations we rely on for a vast range of local services have been massively impacted by restrictions,” said Groundwork national chief executive Graham Duxbury.

“Just as we continue to help businesses through the crisis we need to recognise that this ‘social infrastructure’ of community organisations also needs support.

“If we want to ‘build back better’ then having a thriving network of organisations able to help keep our neighbourhoods safe, healthy and green needs to be a critical part of the plan.”

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