While there is a lot of information emerging about COVID-19, at the national and international level, many of the impacts and responses will be experienced at the local level. Local services may be affected through temporary closures or reduced hours, and new or additional services may become available.
As people increasingly self-isolate in their homes, additional challenges and opportunities will emerge as people adapt to a different way of life. Your organisation is in the prime position to ensure those citizens in your community are supported and informed about what is relevant to them in a local context. We know you will now be considering how you will support and engage your community in the absence of physical services and the context of self-isolation and we want to be there to support you.
Luckily, digital engagement tools like The HiVE give you the capability to connect and engage with your community during the current global health pandemic.
Here’s a few ideas on using The HiVE in the current situation:
- Highlight local spaces offering new or additional services. COVID-19 has seen extra services being added by councils and state governments to cope with demand for things such as virus testing. Use the Hotspot tool with a local map image to highlight the areas where new or additional services have opened up.
For example, if your town/city has a drop-in testing centre you can highlight where it is. Or if the local library has added a no-contact lending window, add a hotspot with all the relevant details. Indicating markers for supermarkets/shops which are offering special hours for elderly or disabled people can be particularly useful too.
- Map local facilities with altered or reduced hours. As we see businesses (including council and state facilities) closing or reducing hours due to staff shortages or to reduce social contact, you can use the Web Map to highlight and update on an ongoing basis, when and where opening times are changing, or show which facilities are closed completely.
By switching to Social Map you can also add a level of participation to it by asking the community to flag businesses needing support or reducing hours because of the virus.
- Collect ideas on how to help each other locally. Numerous Facebook groups have popped up where people share ideas for how they can help those self-isolating. By using the Visioner tool you can collect ideas and help manage the community's response to self-isolation in a safer and more secure environment than social media.
Many people like to volunteer in times of need and having a safe place to collect and coordinate these ideas is a great way to support the community.
- Inspire and manage volunteerism in your community. With self-isolation some groups of people are being cut off from their daily life and social connection. By using the Form tool you could establish a simple register form to collect the name and contact details of people willing to volunteer and help with certain listed tasks for others in the community. On the other side develop a Form where you can collect the details of those in need and the tasks they need help with.
Activities volunteers could sign up for include those willing to collect and deliver library books to the elderly, help with making sure bins are put out and collected, even walking the dog to just asking whether they are ok via a weekly phone call.
- Support people during self-isolation. As more and more people self-isolate at home, for some the isolation process will be a big challenge in itself. Using the Gather tool can open up new and interesting ways to virtually connect people to each other in a digital context. Use it to:
- Share tips on managing self-isolation asking people what they are doing to stay healthy, fit, sane, etc.
- Set challenges or hold competitions to keep people engaged. For example an art competition to keep kids engaged if they are not in school.
- Collect stories and experiences about your local area to encourage community building. For example, by asking young people to interview someone older in their family by phone, or going through old family photo albums to find the oldest picture of their parents in the community to then share with others, memories and conversations can be shared and inspire connection.
If you are using The HiVE to engage and/or inform the community during the pandemic and have come up with some creative uses, we’d love to hear about them and highlight them to our user community.
Please note, we provide discounted services to smaller councils (under 40,000 citizens) and not for profit organisations to help make it possible for small organisations to connect and engage with their communities.
If you are interested in learning more or know of a neighbouring small council or NFP organisation that would benefit please visit and share our discounted subscriptions announcement