COVID Recovery – Why Networks Matter More Than Ever

Hilda Campbell, Chief Executive of COPE Scotland has written a guest blog for our ‘Recovery’ series. 

The Recovery series considers how we might we move forward from the COVID pandemic, and examines what this means for health and social care services, charities and communities across Glasgow.

In a first blog, Hilda talks about talks about the importance of relationships and networks as we look ahead after the last two years.   Her message is – we need to work together.  None of us can move forward alone!


COVID Recovery – Why Networks Matter More Than Ever 

When we went into the COVID19 pandemic, communities and the third sector worked closely together to do what they could to mitigate the impact of lockdown and the new challenges brought to those already facing health, social, emotional, and financial hardships.

That work was inspiring.

As we move on, we are not only dealing with the aftermath of the pandemic, and how we adjust to living alongside the virus.  We also have a cost-of-living crisis, and we are rocked daily by the suffering of others due to conflict in other parts of the world.  We also want to do what we can to ease their suffering. 

All of this at time when people may already be feeling exhausted by all that has been happening.  Services are still in high demand and trying to play catch up on pre pandemic need.  

New demands are appearing on the horizon; there are diminishing budgets and no immunity from the cost-of-living crisis. Local community-based centres are trying to reopen, facing all that this brings alongside higher fuel costs. Perhaps people paid for workshops or classes before; and now that income stream decreases as people make cutbacks and have less or no disposable income. In turn, this impacts on revenue to keep valued local services going.

With all of this, it would be expected that people are on their knees – yet they keep going. Part of the reason for this is compassion and caring about others as well as ourselves, part of it is about supporting each other to keep going. But also, part of it is this:

What is the alternative?

No battery – no matter how strong – can go on forever. This is why networks matter more than ever. We need to support each other, share, collaborate and be compassionate to ourselves and towards each other.

We need to be working together to find a common voice and have those difficult conversations which may help us move to a better place for everyone – when that better place is so desperately needed.

COPE Scotland is pulling back from one-to-one work as of March 2023 because we recognise new groups are emerging within the heart of communities; that new ways of working to offer support need to be explored and led by communities. We were never about growing an empire, but an idea. If you are interested in more about why this has come about please click here.

Our focus moving forwards is sharing our learning, the tools we have developed to support resilience and wellbeing.  As we know, not everyone who needs support will reach out and access it.

We also are delighted to be collaborating with partners to develop a suite of learning resources around network weaving, based on the work of June Holley. This is a time of change and transition; being part of a network will help, but like anything, networking does require actions to make it work.

If you are interested in learning more about network weaving or wellbeing resources – co-designed by COPE Scotland with the voices of lived experience – then please visit www.cope-scotland.org or follow us on @COPEScotland. You can email us too.

Sharing and working together may not solve all the problems we face, but they may help them hurt less and let us know that even when it feels like it, we are not alone.

Recovery is needed; it will happen but it will take time.  Relationships and networks matter here more than ever because we cannot move forward alone.

That’s what matters to us at COPE.

Hilda Campbell, COPE Scotland

www.cope-scotland.org

@COPEScotland

PS – This webpage and images may be of interest and helpful for managing our expectations of ourselves and each other in joint endeavours.

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