Podcast #24: Community Development & Covid-19 (pt. 1) – “The time for normal rules goes out the window”

During lockdown Russell reached out to the Community Development fraternity across the world to invite it to share its experiences of supporting communities during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Part 1 of this Community Development and Covid-19 series visits Bangor in north Wales and Winnipeg in Canada and reveals community development responses to the pandemic from contrasting scales: the local and the strategic.

In Maesgeirchen, Bangor, grassroots community-led action has been focusing on meeting people’s essential needs. We hear from the local elected member, Dylan, and the co-ordinator from a local substance abuse charity, James, who are providing additional capacity to the tremendous community effort.

Finally, we hear how Jess Silvester from MaesNi, the local steering group for the Invest Local initiative in Maesgeirchen (often known colloquially as “MaesG”), has been co-ordinating efforts, despite enforced isolation.

In Winnipeg, Manitoba Michael Barkman from The Canadian Community Economic Development Network (CCEDNet), provides examples of community and social enterprise responses to the pandemic in his province. Michael’s work in Manitoba is shaped and driven by a desire and need to de-colonise Canadian society, and from this perspective he provides a sober reminder that though Covid-19 might be indiscriminate in who it infects, its impact is experienced unequally along quite stark racial, gender, age, class and socio-economic lines.

He talks about how, despite the (hyper)local responses happening on the ground, his strategic role as a policy co-ordinator is requiring him to capture these stories of grassroots capacity, inequality, and resilience; continue to advocate for communities; and to push back against some of the dis-enabling provincial government responses to the pandemic in Manitoba.

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