What has coronavirus (COVID-19) taught us about the importance of community spirit?

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This year has been tough to say the least, but seeing how communities have come together to support one another has been incredible. So, what have we learned?

  • Claps for carers, rainbow walks and support bubbles
  • Checking in on our vulnerable, elderly, or lonely friends
  • Showing our respect and thanks for all key workers 

Community spirit has never been so important

How did we come together as a community during lockdown?

Everyone has had a different experience of coronavirus (COVID-19) and the continuing impact it’s having on our everyday lives, but the same phrases are echoed in households across the globe; ‘new normal’, ‘social distancing’, ‘support bubble’… the list goes on. Many of us have been working at home and a lot of us have even found that we are taking on the role of teacher too. Our lives have been turned upside down and we’re all still adjusting and adapting as the situation rumbles on, but one silver lining (because we have to find them!) is that communities have truly been formed. Neighbours, friends and colleagues have been there for one another when it matters most.

So, whether you’ve been doing the weekly food shop for an older neighbour, been picking up medication for a vulnerable friend, or calling a family member who lives alone to check in on them – we’ve all played our part in some way. We’ve also all been reminded of just how important our key workers are, and how invaluable our NHS nurses and doctors are too… we don’t know about you, but we definitely had a lump in our throats during the claps for our carers on a Thursday night. Never has there been such a feel of community spirit, with many admitting that they’d never spoken to their neighbours before, until that first clap for our carers.

Whatever you did, big or small, will have made a difference to those in your friendship circles, neighbourhoods and families. Even the beautiful rainbows children drew and put in their windows would have truly brightened up many people’s walks - even a small gesture like that shows that we’re all the same really, and we’re in this together. That’s what makes a community. Let’s never forget how important it is to have people you can rely on when you need it most.

At LV=, we’ve made sure that our customers and community felt supported during the pandemic in various different ways…

What did we do to support our customers and our community?

Knowing that you can call on someone when you need help, support or even just a chat, is invaluable. Having a community around you of people you can trust and rely on is important – pandemic or not! So at LV=, we wanted to show our support for each other, our customers, our community and our key workers in as many ways as we could. Here’s some of what we did…

Letters of Kindness 

Our Letters of Kindness scheme encouraged our employees to write letters or send pictures or drawings to residents at a care home local to our Bournemouth head office. The care home staff send responses back to us, with all postage costs covered by LV=. We hope this allows our people to form long-term bonds with older people in care, and help fight against loneliness. 

LV= and the Trussell Trust 

We know that so many people across the country are struggling to provide food for their families due to the financial impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. We’re encouraging our people to make donations to the Trussell Trust to support the vital work of food banks in England. We have a designated JustGiving page, and we will match the amount raised.

Financial support

We’ve made £30 million available to our car and motorbike insurance customers through our Green Heart Support to help those who are struggling financially as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19). If you’ve been furloughed, are self-employed and unable to work, or were made unemployed due to coronavirus (COVID-19) and are struggling financially, we’re here for you.  

What have we learned and what will stay with us post-lockdown?

…and what would be good to know if we have a second wave? Knowing that you can call on someone when you need help, support or even just a chat, is invaluable. So, having a community around you of people you can trust and rely on is important – pandemic or not! Here’s what we’ll take with us going forward…

Group chats

Whatsapp group chats, Facebook pages, email threads… whatever it is, having an ongoing conversation with your local community where you can stay up to date with what’s going on in your local area and keep in touch with your neighbours is invaluable. There’s also an app called Nextdoor which is a neighbourhood hub and a great way for people to offer (or request) help from their neighbours. You can download the app from: Google Play Store or Apple App Store or sign up at nextdoor.co.uk. 

Key workers

We’ve recognised and shown respect for our key workers during lockdown, and we need to remember that as lockdown eases and the impacts of coronavirus become our new normal, our key workers continue on. Just because we’re not clapping on a Thursday, doesn’t mean they’re not still working hard for us all. Let’s make sure we don’t forget about our key workers and how much we need them. Feeling like they have a supportive community around them who respect them and are thankful for them, can only be a good thing.

Remote working

During lockdown, a lot of us have realised that in many jobs and industries, working from home or working remotely is possible, and for many people it’s meant that there’s been more of a work/life balance. A lot of us would usually miss our kids’ bedtime due to long commutes, or would eat dinner separately to our partners because we get back so late, but working from home, even if it’s just once in a while, means a little more balance.

Virtual socialising 

You may not always be up for going out, but if lockdown has shown us anything, it’s that we don’t need to go ‘out out’ to have a good time. From virtual pub quizzes to video calls with family abroad… and even the odd online hen and stag do, the possibilities are endless. Obviously there’s nothing quite like having a cuddle with a family member or being side by side with your friends at a gig, but our safety and our compliance with government guidelines has to come first. We reckon virtual meet ups could be a permanent fixture… saves you buying your mates a round too!

Looking after each other

Shops have supported senior citizens and vulnerable members of our communities by having dedicated opening hours for them to shop safely. This is a brilliant show of support and care for those who need it most. Aside from what business are doing to support vulnerable customers, we also need to make sure we are checking in on friends, family and neighbours. Whether you drop someone a phone call, a text, write them a letter, or even drop their favourite biscuits on their doorstep – any show of support to each other can help fight loneliness and ensure we keep conversations going. Talking is so important.

A lesson to parents 

Look, we all loved the bonus time with our children, but we think it’s fair to say that our respect for teachers, child care professionals and helpful grandparents is at an all-time high. From home-schooling our children, to working from home with them running around, it’s been tough. So, we all need to remember how much we missed the helping hands we have when it comes to keeping our kids safe and educated. Thank you all! 

A final thought… 

So, whether we’re coming out the other side of coronavirus (COVID-19), or we’re staring down the barrel at another lockdown, whatever comes our way, let’s not forget the importance of community. We’re all the same really, we all have the same worries, struggles, responsibilities and fears… so let’s talk to each other, support each other and truly be there for one another in this craziness we call our new normal.