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METRO GAVS, in collaboration with Volunteer Centre Greenwich (VCG), surveyed the voluntary, community and faith sector in the Royal Borough of Greenwich between March and April 2020 to capture how the sector was responding to the COVID-19 outbreak and the necessary social distancing and shielding within the communities they serve. 

Findings from the 69 organisations and groups that responded show that the majority of the sector has adapted delivery approaches to be able to continue delivering vital services, often extending their services and hours of operation: 

  • 72%, of organisations who responded have adapted to continue delivering at least some of their existing services.
  • 21% of organisations have been unable to adapt services and have closed (7% of responses unclear services are continuing).
  • 14% of organisations needed more volunteers to support their adapted delivery of existing services.
  • 65% of those providing extra services, needed additional volunteers to support that delivery.
  • 41% of organisations that remain open are delivering extra services in response to COVID-19.
  • 51% of organisations with adapted services are either considering or already delivering services outside of core office hours

Further research is now underway to understand the proportion of organisations’ existing services that have been adapted to continue delivery and the impact on capacity; the types of organisations that are closed to identify if certain services users or communities are currently less likely to be being supported; the barriers faced by the sector in being able to continue delivering services and how these might be overcome. 

METRO GAVS and Volunteer Centre Greenwich continue to work in partnership to gauge how well the need for volunteers and the ability to manage them is being met and to capture volunteers’ experiences and insights.