I was reading a Guardian article this morning which detailed how unprepared governments across Europe were for the coronavirus pandemic.
Apparently, on 26th February the Italian government issued an appeal to the EU as a whole asking for help as their hospitals were overwhelmed with the numbers of patients and they didn’t have either the trained staff to deal with people coming through their doors or the equipment to keep the staff safe. The appeal was met by a deafening silence – not because no-one wanted to help but because no-one was prepared in any way shape or form to deal with this level of crisis.
On 17th January only 12 of the 27 EU member states joined a conference call which was convened to address what public health experts knew to be a major crisis.
Against this backdrop haven’t we absolutely nailed it as a sector!
Citizens have volunteered in every community, voluntary organisations have provided immediate support and help to people, voluntary organisations have worked together to ensure no-one was left behind.
As a sector we didn’t just think about immediate needs – food, medicines, getting the dog walked – or longer-term needs – loneliness, anxiety – we actually DID SOMETHING ABOUT IT. So thank you to every single “problem solver” out there, thank you to everyone who peeled the tatties, walked the dogs and turned their hands to anything that needed doing.
The newsletter highlights some of this amazing work – we can’t possibly cover all the amazing work but we wanted to celebrate in a small way.
Chief Executive, EVOC
UPDATES FROM TSI SURVEY
The national Third Sector Interface (TSI) survey that many of you will have completed has been published.
This gives a Scotland-wide picture from across third sector organisations who completed the survey.
On Wednesday EVOC will publish an in-depth analysis of the results from those organisations working in Edinburgh that completed the survey.
Keep an eye on our website should you wish to see a copy.
UPDATES ON TRAINING
Our usual training sessions for trustees have been on pause as we all went into lockdown and adjusted to new challenges and new ways of working. But after getting some requests to restart we decided it’s time to take the plunge into online delivery!
These are sessions we’ve done hundreds of times before, it’s obviously impossible to perfectly replicate face to face training, and of course, there are things lost in not being able to do that, but there are some real advantages as well. Namely, it makes training so much more accessible when no one has to travel or arrange childcare.
For people attending our (or other) online training sessions, our best tip is to try to embrace it and continue to ask questions or add your comments as it really helps the sessions feel a bit friendlier and interactive despite the format.
One of the best things about our training sessions normally are the excellent questions people raise and the discussions they lead to, and also the valuable experience that people share, and if your child wants to say hello or a cat jumps in front of the screen, the more the merrier!
More online training sessions will be confirmed soon, please keep an eye on the training page of the EVOC website.
If you’d like to read our full review of how our first few online training sessions went then click head over to the EVOC blog here.
SHINING A SPOTLIGHT ON ORGANISATIONS THAT ARE A LIFELINE FOR OUR COMMUNITIES
It’s so important to build on and celebrate the positives that have come out of the past few months such the willingness of organisations to learn and adapt their services and offerings; networks and communities coming together as well as maintaining the equal respect of everyone within our communities.
One such smaller organisation that we wanted to shine a light on is ACE IT, an Edinburgh based charity that helps older people learn IT skills.
We got to know ACE IT through their attendance at one of our voluntary sector forums (VSF’s). Katie from ACE IT gave us her view on how the VSF’s have helped ACE IT, as well as how they have enabled her to connect with other organisations for their and their communities benefit.
The VSFs have been fantastic for me. I was new to this job in June and within two weeks, I had built up a large contact list of people from other charities/organisations.
We were able to reach out and promote our projects to new audiences as well as collaborate with other charities/organisations to improve our outcomes.
– Katie, ACE IT
Please also share your partnership stories with SCVO #nevermoreneeded campaign which is focused on how essential the voluntary sector is in society.
THE IMPORTANCE OF FORUMS AND NETWORKS IN KEEPING US ALL CONNECTED
Recent months have shown us the continued importance of us all keeping connected. One of the positive things to have come out of the Covid crisis is how networks and organisations have adapted and come together to help and support each other and their local communities in different ways.
Whether that be sharing ideas, peer support, or new connections made, the digital world of the past few months has enabled us all to keep in touch with one another.
There are different ways that we can all stay connected with each other – as well as the network forums we also have our increasingly popular non thematic Voluntary Sector Forum.
As many of you know, these forums are held across localities, bringing together different organisations and groups both small and large.
The past few months have seen the VSF’s go into overdrive with new links that have made been between groups and organisations.
The aim of the VSF is to link people and networks for present and future working be it for signposting or laying the groundwork for future partnership working.
‘The tenacious linking with the four small area networks, from Gorgie to Oxgangs, Broomhouse to Wester Hailes has also been of real support’
– Bridie, Space Broomhouse
‘The VSF lead has supported the VSF with insightful comments about everything from technology platforms and challenges to supporting people to feel included.’
– Leah, WHALE Arts
We would like to say thank you and to celebrate the commitment of all of the local organisations in coming together for the benefit of their local communities.
If you haven’t yet had a chance to join your local VSF but would like to please contact Kate, using the contact details below.
Another reminder that our Slack online channel is still open.
Many of you will have joined your respective online networks and forums on Slack, but if you haven’t yet we would encourage you to do so.
Please join if you are an Edinburgh voluntary sector organisation – it is where you’ll get the most up to date information, be able to share things quickly, and stay connected.
How it works
When you join you’ll have access to a number of ‘public channels’ on topics such as community food, funding, legal regulation, offers of help and training.
Each network and forum will also have a more focused ‘private channel’ which members will be invited to join – both the geographic Voluntary Sector Forums and the various thematic networks and forums.
How to join
Please contact the forum leads for access to specific channels: please just get in touch:
|Older People’s Forum||Roisin Hurst|
|Substance Use Network Edinburgh||Maria Arnold|
|Edinburgh Mental Health Forum||Christina Hinds|
|Edinburgh Disabilities Forum||Hugo Whitaker|
|Children, Young People and Families Forum||Katherine Anderson|
|Voluntary Sector Forums – across Edinburgh’s localities||Kate Barrett|
|Voluntary Sector Carers Forum||Maria Arnold|
EDINBURGH COVID – 19 SERVICES MAP
The map is continually being updated with information submitted to the Directory – please use and share it to promote what you’re doing.
NEAR ME NOW: INVITATION TO PROVIDE YOUR COMMENTS AND SHARE WITHIN YOUR COMMUNITIES AND NETWORKS
The use of video consultations in Scotland has rapidly escalated since the Covid-19 pandemic started. Prior to March, there were around 300 appointments using the Near Me system, by June, there were over 17,000 every week, with over 150,000 in total.
Building on this and looking to the future the Scottish Government has produced a vision that all health and care consultations in Scotland are provided by Near Me whenever it is appropriate.
To raise awareness about the vision an engagement exercise is underway across Scotland. The purpose is to find out what people think about having their appointments by Near Me and how it might be improved for the future.
The engagement will include inviting the public to take part in an online survey or the option to phone or email their views to the National Near Me team.
To ensure that as many views are captured, please share this amongst your team/ members and communities as you deem appropriate.
The Technology enabled and Digital Healthcare Innovation Directorate would also like to invite comments from you and your teams including potential policy links, benefits, and barriers for future use from your perspective. As well as ideas and support as to how we reach out to those not online or seldom online during Covid-19. Please contact Maimie Thompson – who is overseeing the public engagement by emailing her direct to firstname.lastname@example.org
The findings will be analysed and published and will feed into the wider evaluation which will inform the future use of Near Me.
EVOC’S REMINDERS FOR YOU, YOUR NETWORKS AND YOUR COMMUNITIES
As we start to slowly transition out of lockdown it remains our responsibility to be vigilant and to help and guide our local communities on how to continue to protect themselves and their loved ones.
Whilst we are only in July, the months leading up to Winter will be crucial in helping prevent the spread of many winter viruses including Covid-19.
The past few months have shown us that prevention and keeping on top of the things we take for granted can have a positive impact on our local community, so we would appreciate you sharing and continuing to share the following ‘health housekeeping’ messages within your networks and communities.
- Keeping on top of your medication: make sure that you request your repeat prescriptions in plenty of time so you don’t run out of or leave getting your regular medication to the last minute
- If you aren’t already then register with a local GP. Details on how to find a GP local to you, and on how to register can be found here
We will be adding more messages for you to share with your communities over the coming months, thank you for sharing!
CYBER RESILIENCE & COVID SCAMS: LATEST NEWS
As a result of the significant rise in COVID-19 related scams, over the next few months, the Scottish Government Cyber Resilience Unit will share important information. They aim to share these updates weekly.
Advice and information is changing daily as we navigate our way through the COVID-19 pandemic, so please ensure you only take information from trusted sources.
EVOC MEMBERSHIP AND BENEFITS
Full EVOC membership is open to all voluntary and community organisations. Membership helps to support EVOC’s work and whilst membership is not necessary to be part of any of our networks or forums, membership does provide an established network of all kinds of voluntary and community organisations working in Edinburgh.
All EVOC members can now benefit from our partnership with Law at Work. Find out about all the benefits of EVOC membership here