Survey shows RCN's groups rising to challenges of lockdown

A survey undertaken with RCN member groups between 8th-24th April has shown how the community and voluntary sector has stepped up to the plate in rural communities to support their vulnerable members.


There were 75 responses across a cross section of the RCN membership. Half the respondents were groups with an average income of less than £25K per annum. 97% of respondents said that their organisation had been impacted by the Covid-19 Lockdown. 85% had cancelled events or had stopped services or activities. Nearly 60% have lost income as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown and 30% have been forced to lay-off, re-deploy or reduce hours for their staff or volunteers. 22% have applied to enter staff into the Covid-19 Furlough Scheme.

26% of respondents said that the lockdown was threatening the future financial viability of their organisation with a further 44% stating it was too early to judge whether their future financial viability was under threat. 73% of organisations indicated that they were responding to need in their community as a result of the lockdown.

These responses included delivering food parcels, collecting prescriptions, and checking in on vulnerable neighbours. 59% of these groups who are providing a community response indicated that they can sustain this work for at least several months but 33% were unsure if they could and 8% stated they would be unable to sustain their response beyond a few months without additional funding. Respondents commented that funding was needed for food parcels and meals, for volunteers’ expenses and for basic PPE.

Funding schemes and grants to meet the needs of vulnerable citizens and guidance on managing their charity were the key support from government/funders that organisations prioritised.

If you would like to discuss the findings of our survey, please contact Aidan at the office on email aidan@ruralcommunitynetwork.org