Revealing how COVID-19 has impacted local groups

8th October 2020

We launched our community listening project, ECF Listens, by surveying over 800 organisations about the impact COVID-19 has had on their work.

An amazing 323 voluntary organisations responded and we hosted a Zoom webinar on 24 September to reveal and discuss our findings with them. The event provided a space for reflection and to start a conversation to identify areas of work that we could prioritise within our grantmaking.

This online event was chaired by Jo Wells, Director of the Blagrave Trust and one of our Trustees. Joining the conversation with Jo was Rachel Brett, CEO of the Essex Council for Voluntary Youth Services and Sharon Alexander, CEO of Tendring CVS and Andy Payne Warpole, Head of Programmes at ECF.

It enabled us to bring organisations of all sizes together, acknowledging the strength and importance of their work in their local communities at such a time of crisis. During the webinar, we discussed the contribution from, and the impact on, small grassroots organisations, explore opportunities where they could work more closely together, and the importance of being able to share ideas and concerns, so they are not alone in facing this challenge.

We also discussed the impact COVID-19 has had on the mental health of their teams, the need to strengthen leadership and governance of grassroots groups, the importance of attracting funds to cover core costs and the loss of volunteers due to restrictions.

Matt King, from Trust Links, commented: “It is great to see that ECF is listening to its grantees and is keen to respond to the needs of charities and groups in a holistic and thoughtful way. ECF has a crucial role to play both in providing vital funding, and in helping to build the capacity of groups to respond to the needs of people. COVID-19 has had a profound effect on charities and community groups, reducing our fundraising income and increasing demand on our services. I congratulate ECF in taking a leading role in highlighting this dilemma and working to help address it”

Key findings:
-1 in 4 ​face real​ financial​ challenges
-2 in 5 have modified their delivery model
-1 in 5 ​had to stop delivery completely

You can watch the webinar below: