Covid-19 Action Fund winner: community response

The Covid-19 Action Fund provides grants for Churchill Fellows to increase their vital contribution to the national effort against Covid-19. Hundreds of pandemic projects nationwide are being run or assisted by Churchill Fellows, using the international expertise they gained during their Fellowships overseas. Here is the Action Fund recipient working on community response issues.

Melvin Hartley: learning from voluntary community response during the pandemic


In response to the Covid-19 crisis, there has been an outpouring of voluntary community action to support those who are in need at this time. Much of this action has arisen spontaneously, with varying degrees of coordination and success. Melvin Hartley from Portsmouth is a local council resilience manager who, on behalf of Eastleigh Borough Council in Hampshire, has been leading a coordinated project to engage and work with local spontaneous volunteers to deliver aid and assistance to people in need in the community. This includes setting up a Local Response Centre to act as the central coordination point for organising the delivery of help, and engaging via social media with over 2,000 spontaneous volunteers to form the entire delivery arm of the operation. This has been successful, yet the practice of engaging with spontaneous volunteers varies across different local authorities and, in some cases, doesn't happen at all.

Melvin will use his grant to gather learnings and best practice from his council's response, as well as that of other localised responses across the UK, in order to make recommendations to the Civil Contingencies Secretariat who write national guidance. He will do this by conducting an extensive online survey of spontaneous volunteers working across the whole of the UK during the crisis, and by identifying a range of projects within the UK as case studies of best practice. He will share his findings via the creation of a dedicated website and report, with local resilience forums, emergency planning bodies and councils, in order to guide them during ongoing and future crises. Melvin's Churchill Fellowship to Germany, the Netherlands and the USA, investigated how to engage spontaneous volunteers in emergencies.

View Melvin's profile

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