Five new ways charities are helping people through the COVID-19 crisis

We have all had to adapt to the “new normal”. For charities providing support to individuals, this has meant finding new ways to help people remotely, where they would have once done so in person, writes Hannah Page from the Association of Charitable Organisations.

Recommended: Innovation during COVID-19

New services have been created specifically to tackle challenges lockdown has presented, from combatting loneliness to improving physical and mental wellbeing. As well as providing financial support, member charities from The Association of Charitable Organisations have been providing a range of holistic help for people who are struggling, with some of our favourite examples below.

AI counsellors

Charities have seen the need to create AI support and chatbots for the first time to help more individuals struggling from a distance. GroceryAid has responded to grocery employees’ calls for help with their wellbeing at this difficult time with Woebot. This artificial intelligence counsellor allows access to 24/7 emotional support via an app. It can track the user’s mood, give insight into issues that might be causing distress and teach the user techniques to manage stress such as breathing exercises.

Wellbeing webinars

Many charities have ramped up their online support offering in reaction to coronavirus, with many running webinars for the first time where they would have once done in-person workshops.

Click here to see ACEVO’s upcoming webinars

ICE Benevolent Fund, which assists civil engineers, has been running regular wellbeing webinars on a vast range of topics relevant for people facing lockdown. For those still working this has included how to work at home efficiently, to topics everyone would relate to at this time such as managing digital downtime and coping with anxiety.

Relationship advice

Whether it is keeping in touch with colleagues, or surviving lockdown with your family, there are many relationship struggles being caused by the current crisis. Several charities, such as The Charity for Civil Servants, are offering remote counselling and tips for maintaining healthy relationships at this time.

Sleep support

COVID-19 has been affecting many people’s ability to get a good night’s rest, amplifying the difficulties people with conditions such as insomnia have and causing more people to suffer from sleep-related deficiencies, which can negatively impact mental health.

Foothold, the charity supporting engineers, have started offering free sleep support and guidance to their beneficiaries. This allows people to receive similar support they would get if they were going to a sleep clinic from the comfort of home, as an alternative to taking sleeping pills.   

Help for older people

Older person’s charity Independent Age is helping combat some of the adverse impacts COVID-19 is having on our elderly population, who have been particularly affected by the illness, by providing neighbourhood response resources.

These resources include a card that can be put through elderly neighbours’ letter boxes to let them know you are able to pick up groceries or prescriptions, or are able to have a regular chat on the phone, plus many other resources for local volunteers.

About ACO: The Association of Charitable Organisations (ACO) is the UK umbrella body for benevolent funds and charities that give grants and welfare support to individuals in need. Founded in 1946, we encourage knowledge sharing and best practice in the charity sector through regular networking events, training and representing the interests of our members.

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