Civil Society Consulting (CIC): Review of our work during the Covid-19 pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic brought with it multiple lockdowns. Alongside it, a new way of working – office settings changed as we adapted to ways of working from home. Following a period of CIC dormancy prior to the pandemic, CSC recognised the social justice inequity many small grassroots organisations faced – with 87% of all ethnic minority-led community organisations facing imminent risk of permanent closure at the start of the pandemic – and we just knew that we must lend our skills and energies to tackling the potential resulting urgent social and health issues this would cause.  

Therefore, with our team working remotely from the East of England, London/South East, and Northern England, we are proud to have supported 54 ethnic minority faith led and civil society grassroots organisations, during a six-month period through ‘Steps to Recovery’ (S2R) programme which graduated from our flagship programme ‘Steps to Sustainability’. 

The S2R programme was funded by the DLUHLG (formerly Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government) and commenced in mid-March 2021 as part of the Government’s ‘Community Champions’ programme, managed by our excellent partners Strengthening Faith Institutions and Ostro Fayre Share Foundation. Through our collaborative S2R programme, we offered one-to-one consultations with up to four days of follow up dedicated support. This focused support helped to build the confidence and capacity of ‘Community Champions’ in ethnically diverse communities enabling them to strengthen their public health, wellbeing and other social support delivery within their organisations.

Looking at the past year or so we’ve now published our annual review  reflecting on our wide-ranging work during the Covid-19 pandemic – and these are a few of the highlights:

  • We have been commissioned by eight other regional and national organisations including Mind, Derby Faith Faith Centre and the Campaign to End Loneliness to deliver community engagement, research, training, evaluation and business planning assignments
  • We’ve worked with, supported and provided training to 127 social action organisations 
  • The National Lottery Community Fund has awarded 18 months funding to further enhance and continue the highly successful ‘Steps to Recovery’ programme into 2022.

Martin Burrel,  Chairperson of Luton Roma Trust Board of Trustees comments:

“On behalf of all the trustees of Luton Roma Trust may I thank you for all the invaluable time you and your team gave to our charity. I do feel that we have identified the key areas we need to address going forward. Above all, your encouraging and non-judgemental approach encouraged us all to be really open as the process went forward.”

Celso Oliveira,  Coordinator of East Timorese Association Peterborough comments:

“[Through S2R] we have been supported and successful [with Local Connections Fund for] ESOL classes funding. Also, we’ve been supported [with] the ETAP Impact Report document. I think this is wonderful support. Really appreciate your help and support.”

Mark Ereira-Guyer, CSC Founder Director comments: 

“ We’ve a truly amazingly talented freelancer team, always prepared to go the extra mile to deliver support and help to civil society and faith-based organisations, especially those facing the toughest challenges and working in the most diverse communities where Covid wrecked so many lives. Together, we’ve stepped up to the plate and made, I believe, an outstanding contribution to the effective responses of grassroots organisations to the challenges thrown up by this cruel pandemic in reaching the most vulnerable, and making the difference we all want to see.”

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