Amy Steel, Corporate Policy and Strategy Manager at Waltham Forest has shared case studies prepared by herself and two colleagues; Carla Johnson, Research and Consultation Manager and Yvonne Campbell, Head of Community Participation. They show how councils are working with communities to build recovery together.
Waltham Forest is one of the most diverse boroughs in London and has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout December and January, the borough consistently had higher rates of cases per 100,000 than the London and England averages. Residents have felt the impact significantly, with many suffering from health or economic consequences. But the past year has also been a vivid reminder that our communities will rally together and are willing to go the extra mile to help one another.
In these trying and ever-changing circumstances, working hand-in-hand with residents, engaging and listening to them has been more important than ever. Our citizens’ panel has allowed us to get representative insights at pace and steer our response to the pandemic. Our Stay Safe Champions have been incredible at directly engaging with residents, online or on the streets, to listen, inform and reassure. Finally, our community groups have been a vital part of the borough’s response to the pandemic and conducting a mapping exercise and creating a database of them has allowed better coordination. We have worked together like never before, all in the spirit of public service.
The insights and information collected from these three projects have been at the core of our hyper-local approach. Information was shared internally across departments to ensure a swift and adapted response to local needs, giving us the ability to target our resource and engagement where it’s really needed. We hope these case studies will inspire other local authorities and organisations in finding new ways to work with local communities.
See also our Post-Covid Councils Place and Community pillar.