Octopus Communities Network Respond to Covid-19

Coronavirus has changed our lives significantly. The measures taken by the government like the lockdown are needed but have had negative impacts on: food poverty, mental health, physical health (exercise) furthermore social distancing has caused people to feel isolated and there to be a lack of unity. Before COVID-19 All 14 Octopus Community Hubs mission was to help address food poverty, health inequalities and improve wellbeing. They did this by providing a place for activities to be done and organizing local community events, this has now become unavailable due to evident reasons.

These 14 hubs have had to adapt quickly and efficiently. The first week of lockdown was a shock to all staff but they quickly recovered and formed a plan. They have created parcels, toiletries, food delivery, telephone and online activities. There have been challenges such as a shortage of food and toiletries, lack of funding and a need for workers but this hasn't stopped them.

Donations, volunteers and the Islington council have been vital to the running of this project. A local resident has kindly made and donated 100 masks in 3 days for the volunteers. The administration team, center managers and CEO have become cooks and drivers - they are working overtime. Colin, chair of Octopus Network /Brickworks manager has become an avid driver; Nathalie, Elizabeth House manager has become a sous chef in the kitchen.

In light of this, a positive impact has been the union of the community, this project has created a stronger partnership not just within the Octopus Community Hub and its collaborators but also with the volunteers and residents. This is an inspiring story. It comforts the residents of Islington as it shows us that in these unpredictable, scary times, we have a support system to rely on.