The Building Connections Fund and COVID-19

Giulia Todres

Before Covid-19, NPC was working with a really committed group of grant-holders to capture evidence and understand how the fund tackled loneliness.  Once the pandemic hit and lockdown restrictions were imposed however, it was clear that it no longer made sense to continue as previously planned. The dramatic lifestyle changes imposed by social distancing meant survey responses about loneliness and well-being could no longer be fairly compared to any follow ups after March 2020.

Moreover, services themselves were changing dramatically. The virus has forced a major shift to digital and telephone services as grant holders adapt to keep pace with an ever-shifting context and changing needs. Thanks to the flexibility and forward thinking of the funders (DCMS, The National Lottery Community Fund and Co-op Foundation) we decided we too needed to shift our approach and move to a developmental evaluation to learn from the current situation and capture emerging findings. To read more about this approach, check out this blog by NPC’s Elizabeth Parker.

We are facing an unprecedented situation, which means we have no existing studies or research to show us the best path to take. We want to adopt a transparent and collaborative approach to help support grant-holders and others in the same boat to share useful insights as quickly as possible. We hope to be able to share insights as they arise here, on NPC Labs, so stay tuned for more updates!

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