Our project, Community Network NI, has recently received funding from The National Lottery Community Fund and The Community Foundation NI.
What’s the plan?
We are continuing to provide our support matching service through the winter to provide vital support in local communities. Our goal is to get the right support to the right people at the right time, without duplication. Support requests are quickly matched with available, local support via a digital platform.
We aim to enhance this support through the winter months to address the new needs arising as a result of COVID-19. This goes beyond matching support requests with offers of support to deliver basic needs, such as shopping and medication, and actually encourages collaboration and cohesion amongst local volunteers, community groups, and organisations to respond better to the changing needs of their communities.
What difference will it make?
We have developed a highly effective community support matching service which has enabled us to match urgent support requests to available support offers in as little as a few minutes in some cases. A digital platform to register and offer support with a collaborative community network working together behind the scenes to improve response times and eliminate duplication.
For people in vulnerable situations who are in need of support, it quickly matches their needs with available, local support. Unlike Volunteer Now, NICVA or BITC, our platform has been specifically designed to match support with individual members of the community in real-time and includes peer-to-peer support.
Who will benefit from it?
We are supporting people who experience disproportionate challenges and difficulty as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Members of the community who benefit from our services are being matched with support across a wide range of needs and challenges.
How is it different from what we were doing before?
We are extending our matching service to cover a wider range of basic and professional support for our local communities. This ranges from friendly phone calls, shopping and prescriptions runs to food aid, financial support and mental health. In addition to matching support requests to community volunteers, we are now…
- Collaborating with an increasing number of regional food banks, charities and other VCSE organisations to meet the needs of our communities.
- Accepting offers of support from local businesses and individuals who specialise in areas of particular interest to our beneficiaries such as self-care, fitness and well-being.
- Working to meet the new needs arising as a direct result of COVID-19, such as support with going digital, employability skills and digital support for parents/carers.
- Launching a schedule of online events including live streaming of performances from local musicians/artists, creative workshops and interest based events.
- Matching volunteers, resources and donations with other VCSE organisations, such as those in order to increase capacity and capabilities of existing community support.
If you are an individual or an organisation in need of help, you can request support here.
How to get involved
There are many ways you can get involved and support your local community. That may be as an individual, community volunteer or as an organisation. Can you spare some time, skills or perhaps you’d like to make a donation? Find out how you can get involved here.