Understanding & responding to the impact of Covid-19 on our communities
As we transition from the pandemic and begin to mix more freely with family and friends, travel, and get involved with leisure activities, it would be easy to think that things are getting back to normal for our communities. The reality, however, is that for many, Covid -19 has created a legacy of social, economic, physical, and psychological challenges, which our communities are having to deal with and which Parish Councils should be aware of, understand, and respond to with collaborative energy.
Lockdown Transition - Youth Survey
In early November, over 100 students from Years 8, 9 and 10 in Balcarras School completed a health & well-being survey designed by the CK Health Connect Project team, with the assistance of our partners Emily Vincent, Educational Psychologist and Mark Constance, Head of Year 12 and lead on the school's Covid recovery strategy.
We wanted to find out how young people have experienced lockdown and what supports they feel they need more of in the future, to improve their health and well-being.
The responses from our young people focused very much on their personal feelings and reported that what matters most to them in maintaining their health and wellbeing is "being with friends and family", "being listened to", "support and validation", "safety and security", and participating in outdoor sporting activities. One poignant comment stated simply "Thanks for asking". Concerns were also expressed about managing school homework, and access to mental health supports.
At a well-attended Community Open meeting in November 2021, we shared our preliminary research findings from the youth survey with the community, and with representatives from some of our partner organisations, including local schools, churches, medical practices, political representatives, and the police. The research findings and recommendations for further action have now been expanded on in a more detailed report, commissioned by the Parish Council and compiled by local resident and Educational Psychologist Emily Vincent.
To take forward the recommendations, we will be circulating the report to relevant organisations for their consideration, and we will be giving feedback to our young people, teachers and parents in partnership with local schools.
You can read the full report here.
Lockdown Transition - Adult Survey
In April of this year we launched a short online and paper copy Health & Well-Being survey, so that as a Council we can better understand the collective experience and needs of the Charlton Kings wider community as we move forward out of lockdown. It is recognised that for many people, to a greater or lesser degree, there has been and will continue to be an emotional, social, physical and financial impact as a result of the pandemic.
Over 200 people responded to the survey and we set to work on the analysis of these responses, which we have now summarised below. These responses highlight some of the challenges and shared experience of our parishioners over the last 18 months, including the impact of school closures on families and young people, digital exclusion and feelings of isolation and anxiety at not being able to meet up with others. It is however heartening to be told from a number of parishioners that it is the strong community spirit and volunteer supports across Charlton Kings that helped to sustain them throughout the pandemic.