good life, good death, good grief

Community Responses to COVID-19

Communities are responding to COVID-19 in many positive and helpful ways. On this page we're collating the good ideas we've heard about in case you'd like to try them for yourself or they prompt new ideas of your own. If you've heard of a positive community response that others could emulate or you would like to share one of your own, please contact us. Please note, these are not our ideas, so we can't answer any queries about them directly. They're shared in a spirit of community without specific endorsement.

You may also be interested in our Compassionate Communities Week (27 April - 3 May 2020) which we have created to acknowledge, share and grow the compassion and innovation that so many communities are showing in response to COVID-19. We have small grants available to help communities create their own COVID-19 response. Please get involved.


Origami Hearts

At this time of isolation and physical separation, sadly some people may die without family and friends around them.

An origami heart may allow families and friends to send messages to someone who is dying as a way of saying the things that ‘are in their hearts’ that they are not able to say in person.

Loved ones can write their individual message on a square piece of paper and then fold it into the heart shape. The heart can then be passed on to the dying person to be opened by them or shown to them as allowed. It is something that both adults and children could do and any kind, or colour, of square paper can be used. The paper pictured was a 15cm square.

The instructions for making a simple heart can be found at websites such as:

Suggested by: Ailsa Hill

Give or Take Boxes

These ‘Give or Take’ boxes were installed within days of lock-down by the Community Council of North Inch and Muirton in Perth. The ethos is that people in the neighbourhood help each other out by giving what they can, and taking what they need by way of basic store cupboard items. With food shops placing restrictions due to COVID-19, it has become harder for folk to get out and buy stuff, and the GOT boxes are working really well. There was a special Easter one made, and children put cards and good wishes in it which were then given to the local residential home.

Suggested by: Emma Oram

Playlist Of Love

Music can be a great solace in difficult times. Our sense of it can remain with us even at times of serious illness. A Playlist Of Love can be put together for those who are seriously ill with COVID-19. Put together a list of the songs that are important to you and your loved one which can be played on a smartphone or other device. This can then be played to a loved one even if they are seriously ill and in isolation.

Suggested by: Kirsty Boyd

Virtual Cuppa

Invisible Cities is a social enterprise offering city walking tours. Their guides, trainees and supported volunteers have all experienced homelessness. With all tours suspended for the foreseeable future, Invisible Cities is continuing to support them with a Virtual Cuppa between everyone, to keep them connected and less isolated. Mental health is of vital importance as a lot of the team have had experience of addiction or depression.


Growing Blooms

Urban Fox have made up 250 packs of soil and seeds to give out to their community in the East End of Glasgow.

The seeds will be planted and fed by local people, who are encouraged to place them outside doors, windows and gardens

to show the community is blooming even in the midst of the crisis.

Kids Activity Packs

Created by Invisible Cities, these Kids' Activity Packs can be downloaded to help children discover their cities and have fun. Edinburgh, Manchester and Glasgow are available at the moment. The packs are free, though donations would be gratefully received.


Compassionate Inverclyde

Compassionate Inverclyde is a community volunteering programme originally established by Ardgowan Hospice. Since 2016, they have been aiming to transform attitudes and everyday practices around loneliness, social isolation, death and bereavement across Inverclyde. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they've set up three new programmes to help those who are most vulnerable in the community.

1. Telephone support: Over 30 volunteers have been giving isolated members of the public a friendly, daily phone call.

2. Back Home Boxes: This is an adaptation of a scheme that Compassionate Inverclyde ordinarily provide to people leaving hospital. The boxes are gifted by a local business and are filled with community donations of essential food items. These are now "self-isolation boxes" delivered to people who are alone or being shielded in the community.

3. Prescription Collection: Volunteers are collecting prescriptions for members of the community.

4. Patient support: CI are also providing nightwear and toiletries for patients in Inverclyde Royal Hospital.

Compassionate Inverclyde have paired up with other local organisations deliver these programmes. Partners are helping to get donations and organise referrals.

Find out more by following their Facebook page:


Strathcarron Hospice ABCD (Asset-Based Community Development) Community Builders

The ABCD Community Builders of Strathcarron Hospice are working with connectors in communities to identify groups and associations that are continuing to connect with their members and are learning from their creativity. They are lifting this practice up as an example of how to be useful at this time as an organisation, and encouraging other groups to keep meaningful connections going within local communities, and not to retreat to bunker mentalities and only focusing on their “clients” to the exclusion of the wider community.

Read more in this co-written blog

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