We’ve never needed our communities as much as we do now

At Grapevine we’ve been helping people and communities work together to solve their problems for over 25 years. 

We know what can happen when local citizens have the skills and confidence to act on what they care about, when they connect through their shared humanity and take power into their own hands to transform their communities. 

Health Team on Zoom
The Health Team’s ‘Tune In Tuesdays’ have opened up to help people stay safe, healthy and well

Our work puts us on the frontline of making a difference in neighbourhoods and communities and we’re proud of the impact we’ve had and the lessons we are now able to teach others.

Now we’re determined to share what we know, advocating connection as strength when connections have never mattered more in our world.

As a society we have a rare moment in which we view our problems – of an isolated and restricted life – as shared. We’re being reminded how deeply we all need each other – and how much we have in common. 

Grapevine aims to stir and sustain that solidarity so that more and more of us won’t want to go back to the flawed normal in which too many people are isolated or lonely. By making choices about the future we want now, we have a chance to work together to build the right one.

We continue to be grateful for the support of other agencies on the front line of responding to the unprecedented challenges of coronavirus. Whenever we can, we are connecting people at risk to those emergency efforts. 

Our own focus is to strengthen and keep well the 536 isolated people across Coventry and Warwickshire we were already working with as crisis struck.

Across five projects and 15 community-led initiatives we have not only moved our own support online but enabled others to connect and support each other digitally. 

So far there have been 38 online events led by and for 313 people in Coventry with many more to come. New people are joining in and getting help to develop their isolation fighting ideas. New habits are evolving and changing at every moment.

Fitness Vibes poster

In Stoke Aldermoor, the Social Action Partnership is stepping up, with local people running a phone line to keep their neighbours supported and informed as well as distributing food through St Catherine’s Church.

Legal training is in progress for members of the partnership through Central England Law Centre to provide the right advice quickly and effectively and draw people back in, away from the edge.

Over in Warwickshire, we’re intensively helping 60 people on the edge of care to move back from crisis point (a crisis within this crisis). 

15 disabled people are hosting a digital ideas factory generating ways of keeping others safe, well and connected. More on that soon. The group is also offering advice to Warwickshire services so that they effectively adapt their own emergency efforts. 

The aim behind all this work is to enable people to come together in spite of being apart and take action on the challenges we all face. 

Beyond Coventry and Warwickshire, we’ve joined the national Connection Coalition. Together we are convening this national cross-sector coalition to reinforce meaningful connections throughout the COVID-19 crisis and to harness the power of strong relationships for the future too. 

And by contributing to the thinking of the national Better Way Network, we want to ensure that learning from how people are creating connection and community now, even at a time of ‘social distancing’, can help a better future to emerge.

More information

Here are some examples of how people are connecting online for now. More is going on behind the scenes on a one-to-one basis and in development for the future. We’re building on what was in place and adapting for what’s next.

There are also five other developing ideas but they are in their infancy. More news on these to follow.