Blog

How we’re responding to the Coronavirus pandemic

Derek Walker writes an update on what the Wales Co-operative Centre is doing to help people and communities across Wales during the Covid-19 pandemic.

By Catherine Evans · April 8, 2020

See this page in: Cymraeg

The last four weeks have been a period of unprecedented global change. At the Wales Co-operative Centre, our focus has been on developing new initiatives, support services and delivery mechanisms so we can provide critical assistance to our communities.

Our business support team, Social Business Wales, is providing urgent help to enable social enterprises and co-operatives to survive the Coronavirus crisis. Many businesses are facing huge cash-flow challenges as their income has disappeared overnight. Others are able to deliver more of their services online and we are assisting them with that too. We are sharing information with Welsh Government and others to make sure that the necessary help and funding is provided as quickly as possible. Whatever we can do to help, we are looking to do. And we are doing away with some of the form filling, as our clients have enough to deal with already. If your social business needs information or support, our expert advisors are ready to help. Please call 0300 111 5050 or email us at info@wales.coop.

Our digital inclusion programme, Digital Communities Wales, is also very busy. These are worrying times, particularly for people who are facing the prospect of self-isolating for a long period. Thankfully, for many people, digital technology means they will be able to socialise online, shop for groceries, find health information and access activities to keep them occupied. For many people however (roughly 1 in 10 of us) this is not the case. Many elderly and vulnerable people are not online and are not able to undertake GP consultations virtually, to contact family or to conduct other activities of daily living such as ordering home deliveries. As a result we are fundamentally revising our work programme. We are promoting resources directly to the public that help beginners get started – using a mouse, keyboard, setting up email accounts and using internet search engines. We are sharing guides that help people make video calls, socialise online and shop online. We are going to start a programme of advice surgeries. And we are proposing to scale up our device loan scheme significantly so that we can distribute tablets to those that need them.

Throughout this crisis my colleagues have risen to the challenge with the urgency that is necessary. We are doing things differently as well as doing different things, thanks to the flexibility of our funders. And as a result of an investment in digital technology and modern ways of working, we have been able to move to a position with everyone working at home without too much trouble.

The Wales Co-operative Centre is in a strong position and we are using that solid foundation to help others as our members would expect. Please get in contact if we can help you. Above all, please stay safe and well during this awful pandemic.

Best wishes
Derek

If you need our help, call us on

0300 111 5050

Covid-19 resources

Social Business Wales has a range of resources to help you during the Covid-19 pandemic