Public Solidarity and Responsible Business

This week our Social Impact Briefing continues to focus on the COVID-19 pandemic: how public displays of solidarity continue in the UK, the emergence of a new responsible business network, and more.

Authors: Borimir Totev
  • Reading time: 6 min.
  • Posted on: April 6, 2020

As the Queen urged for unity in a rare public address last night, we continue to see an upsurge of support networks and community initiatives tackling the ever-growing – approaching 50,000 – positive cases of COVID-19 in the UK. Here’s a rundown of just some:

Solidarity on display

Tomorrow is World Health Day. The World Health Organization (WHO) will launch the first ever State of the World’s Nursing Report 2020 highlighting the current status of nursing around the world and setting an agenda for generations to come. The report comes at a time of unprecedented support and solidarity for health care workers across the globe, including here in the UK:

– Rainbows on windows have become a common sight in the UK, as children  provide us with the message to stay positive. Several online groups have subsequently been created to keep the movement alive. The emergency coronavirus Nightingale hospital, which opened last week in East London’s ExCel Centre, has encouraged children to draw messages of hope and share them online with the #RainbowsForNightingale hashtag. These will later be used to decorate the walls of the hospital.

– Blue Hearts for NHS set up by 11 year old Tamara McAuley from Suffolk.

– The daily Good News letter set up by Northamptonshire sisters Bethan and Holly Botterill. 

Easter focus:

– ‘Shine a light’ and take part in Ireland’s national initiative to honour all those who have lost their lives to COVID-19 at 9pm on Easter Sunday.

– Our partners from The Catholic Women’s Council invite all women to hang white scarves from their windows and balconies on Easter Sunday to carry the resurrection message out into the world.

Racial Injustice in the COVID-19 Response

Read a live position paper by #CharitySoWhite looking at the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the BAME communities. The paper outlines an urgent call to action, including specific recommendations for civil society and its funders, to put BAME communities at the heart of their response to ensure it addresses root issues and maximises impact.

The initiative looks ahead to the lifelong impact of this ‘new normal’, urging the charity sector to commit to an intersectional approach in tackling the crisis. The live position paper highlights:

  1. We risk not only reinforcing existing structures of racial inequality, but further imbedding them.
  2. The choices made by us today will have a lasting impact for generations to come

If your work covers any of the principles or issues highlighted in the live position paper, contact the #CharitySoWhite team on so that the paper can be updated with newly gathered intelligence and understanding.

Reprioritising COP26

The UN Climate Change Conference Conference (COP26), a key climate summit scheduled for November 2020, has been postponed. Around 30,000 people including world leaders, delegates, journalists and environmental campaigners were due in Scotland for the meeting. 

The meeting was set to update the Paris agreement from 2016, with nations providing updated climate action plans. CEO of the European Climate Foundation, Laurence Tubiana, said it is hoped that COP26 in 2021 will become ‘’a centre-piece of revitalized global cooperation’’.

Read independent climate change think tank E3G’s piece on how COVID-19 could mean a new era for climate action.

Championing responsible business

In the past few days, new research by the Directory of Social Change announced that over half of surveyed charities could disappear within 6 months. Further research by the Institute of Fundraising outlines that in times of declining fundraising income, charities are expecting a 43% rise in demand for their services.

In light of this, we are delighted to feature the launch of the National Business Response Network by Business in the Community, a charity set up by Prince Charles to champion responsible business. 

The network identifies national and local community needs and connects them to businesses who have the resources to help. Charities will be able to partner with businesses to get free support during the coronavirus pandemic. Third Sector reports ‘issues that the network would seek to address include food shortages, helping people connect using technology, and social care.’

If you are a business interested in offering support please explore options here. If you would like to request support for a community, you can call the 24-hour hotline on 0141 285 3821.

Abortion during COVID-19

In March, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) – the UK’s leading abortion care service and one of our partners – announced it has had to close a quarter of their clinics due to staffing issues, a direct result of COVID-19. BPAS usually sees 100,000 women per year for reproductive healthcare services but estimates that at least 44,000 women will need access to abortion services over the coming months. 

Clare Murphy, Director of External Affairs for BPAS for Shape History’s Social Impact Briefing:

For some weeks, we had been urging the Secretary of State for Health who holds power over abortion regulations to change the rules to enable us to provide early care at home – this was initially approved before being inexplicably withdrawn just a few hours later. Following a successful campaign involving women’s health advocates, public health experts and 10,000 of our supporters urging their MPs to take action to protect women’s health, the regulations were reinstated – and we are now able to provide the care women need in these challenging times.

Despite the successful campaign and the government reinstating telemedicine for Early Medical Abortion in England, similar services in Northern Ireland are yet to be established. 

You may also like: The Quarantine Supper Club

Recent restaurant closures have left millions out of work. Amidst this, a virtual supper club is bringing isolated people together to learn new recipes, connect with new friends, while supporting a local chef in the process.

Co-founders Robin Pierro and Kira Prince shared with us

We’ve had three successful events to date, and the feedback has been incredibly positive. It’s surprising how connected you can feel with people after cooking a meal together and chatting virtually for a few hours – it feels like we’re all in the same room by the end. On top of feeling connected, we’ve learned some great recipes and the chefs we’re working with have had the chance to make some money, or have put the proceeds to an important cause. We have three new events lined up this week, and more to come for the following weeks!

If you’d like to join a virtual dinner party with chefs from the UK, check out The Quarantine Supper Club Facebook and Instagram pages. 

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