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Covid-19: Listen and Respond
UCL Culture’s Engagement Team is combining forces with the Volunteering Service to explore how UCL as a whole can best “Listen and Respond” to the needs of communities and the voluntary sector in London as they confront and recover from COVID19.

The voluntary and community sector (VCS) has a crucial role to play in dealing with the immediate impact of COVID-19 - particularly for the most vulnerable in our communities - as well its longer-term effects. In turn, UCL has an important role to play in supporting the sector and a strong track record of work undertaken by academic and professional services staff and students to build on. The emergency has already shown that UCL staff and students are keen to continue to make a difference.

The principle aim of UCL Listen and Respond is to better connect VCS organisations with people and groups within UCL who are interested and able to provide support. There is also potential to work in partnership with Local Authorities around specific areas of advice and guidance. The work is designed to fully align with UCL’s commitment to being a publicly engaged university, to making a difference to London and Londoners, and to the vision for UCL East. 

Thus far, we have been working closely with our community partners, particularly those in Camden and Newham around our current and future campuses, to scope their needs. This is what they told us:

  • Research; to help VCS organisations understand and respond to clients’ changing needs and circumstances.
  • Policy; empowering VCS organisations to both influence and access emerging policy.
  • Evaluation; VCS organisations need support in reflecting on and learning from rapid reconfiguration of services and resources.
  • Development of virtual educational and engagement practice and content to meet clients’ needs. 
  • Infrastructure support; for fundraising and organisational strength and sustainability, IT, HR and transition planning.
  • Physical resources; space, digital hardware, food.
  • Network and capacity building; how to maximise and mobilise resources across VCS organisations and communities.

The next step is to establish a process and platform to co-ordinate responses to identified needs – drawing on the expertise and capacity of both academic and professional services staff and students. More details on how to get involved will follow shortly.

In the meantime, if you have any questions or would like further information, please email listen-and-respond@ucl.ac.uk

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