Todmorden features in report showcasing how towns have responded to Covid-19 pandemic

The experience of Todmorden during the Covid-19 pandemic has been outlined in a new report by the Carnegie UK Trust, as part of a project designed to explore how communities and public services across the UK responded to the crisis.

Wednesday, 2nd December 2020, 1:00 pm

Over six months of the pandemic, the Carnegie UK Trust had more than 80 conversations with people from 16 communities throughout the UK.

The conversations focused on how organisations and communities were adapting to meet the changing needs of the people around them, and the evolving relationships between the public sector, the voluntary community and social enterprise sector, and communities.

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Todmorden Town Hall

The report analyses the needs of communities such as Todmorden, including support with food, decreasing household income, mental health, and digital access; the impact of the pandemic on places; the community responses; and the role of volunteers and the local voluntary, community and social enterprise sector.

The trust found that at the onset of the pandemic, it was communities who first stepped up to offer the vulnerable and isolated essential support.

Communities were flexible in the support they offered, to a wide range of people and their individual needs.

Working in partnership, the local council and community were able to meet people’s needs more effectively than offering stand-alone support.

The response to the emergency showed the need for more local support and services, including staff skilled to support communities, flexible sources of funding, and recognising the value of the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector.

Local authorities should learn from both the needs of communities and responses unveiled during the pandemic, the report said.

Sarah Davidson, Chief Executive of the Carnegie UK Trust, said: "The experience of Todmorden during the COVID-19 pandemic became clear through our conversations, and we heard how those in need were treated with kindness and dignity by their communities.

"We hope that Calderdale Council and its partners will learn from this work about the needs of those who were vulnerable and isolated, as well as the flexible ways in which these needs were met, as we face the winter months ahead and future stages of the pandemic."

Mary Clear, chairperson of Incredible Edible Todmorden, said: “Todmorden is riddled with kindness: it’s all around us. We flood, we feel remote, our roads can let us down, but over hundreds of years people have learnt the way to get on in this steep valley is to be kind, stick together and expect nowt.

“We are capable of anything, we bounce back. Our town is creative and frugal.

“We might feel forgotten by state and authorities, but that just strengthens our resolve to look after each other.”