Kate Shurety Reflects on the Impact of Covid-19 for HIWCF

# HIWCF blog

I’m really pleased to be writing the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Foundations’ first blog.

As many of you will have experienced first-hand in so many ways – the past 18 months have been incredibly challenging – in terms of our health, economy and the resilience of the charity, community and social enterprise sector.

I came to the Community Foundation as Interim CEO fresh from leading the Campaign to End Loneliness and keen to experience first-hand how local funders can help support communities at grassroots level.

 ## Why local grassroots work in communities matters

At the Campaign, my belief was that in order to support vulnerable, isolated or lonely people, what is needed is not a single programme or approach – but a diverse, interconnected web of activity, services and support at the hyperlocal level so that people can thrive, grow and meet their individual challenges in a community they feel part of.

So, it has been an immense privilege to be able to work closely with the team at the Foundation www.hiwcf.com/about-us/our-people/  and witness their dedication and professionalism, and also hear directly from some of the many charitable projects that we have supported over the years.

 ## Seeing first-hand the great work in our community

Early in July we visited Basingstoke Young Carers. Like many, we switched to remote working in the past year – and as we aren’t ‘frontline’ we have made the decision to stay remote. But, there is still a need to meet each other and see each other in person, so, as a team we have decided to make sure that when we come together in person, we also meet up with some of the people and projects we have supported. It keeps us inspired and motivated – and is a very welcome break from zoom!

It also means we can better communicate to potential funders some of the work that is happening and the impact it has on people who need it most.

We’d like to thank Basingstoke Young Carers www.basingstokeyoungcarers.org.uk/ for hosting the HIWCF team and giving us an insight into their work. Meeting with Ed, Collette and Ian from Basingstoke Young Carers team was inspiring and covering in equal measure. Carers of all ages do really valuable work that is often invisible, which can leave them feeling isolated and unsupported. That is also true of young carers, who in this past year have also had to contend with the added challenges of having their education interrupted, the isolation of supporting shielding family members and in some cases dealing with complex bereavement.

 ## We want to hear your stories

This past year has changed our ways of working so much that we have recently reviewed our work and strategy in light of all that change and challenge to look at ways in which we can reach out further, to share more of our work and understanding across our communities. This blog is part of that. And we hope too that it can also be a place where others in the community can share their views, knowledge and experience so we all gain and grow from it.

As I reflect on what I have seen and learned here at the Foundation, I am all the more convinced that the work we do together in understanding and supporting our communities, giving them voice and opportunity remains of central importance

Please do get in touch with us if you have a story to share about how you are making a difference in your community.

Kate Shurety, Interim Chief Executive, HIWCF