The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally altered the UK, both positively and negatively.
Factors include the sheer scale of the number of deaths, the proportion of the population who have had a positive test result, the number of people – roughly estimated to be one in ten – who exhibit symptoms for 12 weeks or longer, as well as the direct and indirect effects on mental and physical health and wellbeing for a significant proportion of the population. With no UK-wide initiative or charity specifically dedicated to supporting those affected by the pandemic, we believe that there is a vital need for a new charity as the pandemic enters a new phase – from crisis to chronic. It is evident that the effects of COVID-19 will be with us for years to come, as we enter a period of recovery and reflection.
Is there a need for a COVID-specific charity? After all, the public and social sectors, charities, community groups, and other local organisations have all been doing amazing work – and refocusing existing services. The simple answer is Yes. All of the above organisations have enviable reputations in their respective fields, however, we would argue that a more joined up and holistic approach is required. This would involve organisations working collaboratively with existing services to identify and fill the gaps within service provision. There needs to be a recognition that the role of health in economic development – which has traditionally been peripheral at best – will likely form a more important and explicit part of national and local rebuilding.
Launching in May 2021, covid:aid will be the first UK-wide charity and initiative dedicated to providing the widest possible range of guidance and support digitally to adults, young people, and children affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, directly or indirectly.