Over the past few weeks our COVID-19 member impact survey has already collected a huge number of responses from our members across Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England. The responses received so far indicate that across the country members have been profoundly impacted by the lockdown and social distancing requirements, but in many cases have also adapted and innovated rapidly in order to maintain farms, gardens and growing spaces and also to support the most vulnerable people in their communities. The survey will continue to stay open over the next few months, and we will be carrying out more detailed analysis as time moves on but here are a few of the initial findings:
*Results updated 07.05.2020
Operations - As expected virtually all members are now closed, but 87% have staff or volunteers carrying out essential work under social distancing, with 13% closed entirely. 18% have already furloughed staff.
Food - As a result of the crisis 35% of you are planning on growing more food this year, with an additional 21% expecting to grow the same amount as 2019.
Funding - 51% of members report already facing reduced funding and financial issues as a result of the pandemic.
Support - The most pressing support needs identified across the membership are assistance in finding funding, advice on working and growing under social distancing measures, planning for the future and tips on working with others in the community. See below for how we will be following up these requests.
Community - A huge 69% of you are either already working in your communities to provide support to people affected by the crisis, or are planning on doing so, including through donating seeds and plants, delivering food to those self-isolating and by supporting local food banks.
Next steps, and support for members affected by COVID-19
For those of you already in touch with our staff team you'll know that we're all working incredibly hard to provide support in these difficult times.
But in addition to this, based on what our members are telling us through the survey responses so far - we will soon be launching a series of online webinars and resources designed to help members tackle the most pressing concerns arising from this crisis, and to share best practice and inspiration from around the country.
We are also looking at ways in which we can increase remote peer-to peer support between members. More on this will be published in the next few weeks. If you are already a member keep an eye on your inbox and on our social media channels or you can sign up to become a member for free.
If you haven't already done so, please take our short survey