Date

19th August 2020

Audience

Social and third sector stakeholders

Engagement

22 delegates

Objectives

To share our research on the impact of Covid-19 on our communities with our partners and understand in light of this, how we can better reach customers in vulnerable situations impacted either directly, or indirectly, by the pandemic. Secondly, we wanted feedback on how we could shape the Community Partnering Fund as a result of the changing landscape.

Your comments & our responses

55%

Having shared our research into the impact of Covid-19 on our communities, 55% said that the economic impact had had the biggest effect on the communities and customers you serve

You told us  while that the support provided to community organisations by adapting our Community Partnering Fund in March to August had been incredibly valuable this shouldn’t be a permanent change and we shouldn’t lose sight of the original purpose of the fund and the support provided to community projects.

Considering this feedback, we will maintain the existing structure of the Community Partnering Fund and add in an additional fifth funding category of Covid-19 and Community Resilience to ensure we continue to provide the right support for our communities

During discussions around how we can better reach customers in vulnerable situations you told us we should have more focus on CO awareness, gas safety checks and explore further the links to households with cold related health issues. This was due to the increase of financial issues for people meaning they were unable to get their appliances maintained or replace therefore increasing the risk of CO.

Whilst we already have a good programme of CO support, we have embarked upon an exercise to gather better data around CO and understand how to target those in specific areas. We have also included boiler repairs as an element of our new Hardship Fund which will launch in 2021.

Having shared our research into the impact of Covid-19 on our communities, 77% of you said NGN could have the most impact in helping people to access services and support.

We will tailor our October workshop on The Vulnerable Customer Journey and Customer Touch points to allow us to explore how communities can best access services and support in more detail and enable us to build out an effective action plan to act on this.

You said that a clear knock on effect of Covid-19 was an increase in mental health issues and, as well as supporting communities and customers we also needed to prioritise mental health support for our own team at NGN.

Colleague well being is always of importance to us, and as part of our new well being strategy that we are developing we are already planning a colleague engagement event in early October and will ensure that as part of the conversation discussions are had around the types of mental health support and well-being services we can provide.

There was a high level of support for our continued evolution of our social workshop structure online, and you told us they are providing a platform to discuss, learn, engage and find solutions for problems/challenges in relation to vulnerable customers. However, we needed to increase the time spent in breakout rooms and that attendees were keen to build relationships with each other.

We will tailor our October workshop to ensure that more time is spent sharing ideas and discussions. Prior to this we will share details about what each of our partners do, how to link up with each other and how each partner’s work links to NGN. We will also gather your ideas on what is the best way to network in the current climate and how to work together better, to increase referrals.

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