COVID-19 – early insights into the response part 2


Financial fragility and fuel insecurity are among the issues frontline workers are seeing, according to early research into the impact of COVID-19 in high poverty settings across Scotland.

The Network for Social and Educational Equity (NSEE), alongside Children’s Neighbourhoods Scotland, Policy Scotland and the Glasgow Centre for Population Health is undertaking research and intelligence gathering to understand how local responses are working in this currently rapidly changing context. The research will provide insights that can support the next phase of the COVID-19 action at the local and national levels.

‘It’s coming in waves’ – deepening crisis for vulnerable families

Frontline workers have explained that they are seeing increasing numbers of families struggling to cope with the lockdown.

This is particularly challenging when parents are dealing with existing issues such as poverty, mental health problems, addiction, or domestic violence.

These issues have been exacerbated by the ‘new normal’ of isolation, loss of social networks, fear and uncertainty of what the future holds, and a sense of feeling trapped, particularly for those in overcrowded homes.

Single parents in particular are experiencing loneliness and the impact of being unable to have any time away from their children (and vice versa).

Financial stress

Families are experiencing ‘financial fragility’, particularly if they were precariously employed, and coping with increased fuel and food bills.

Food insecurity has been responded to well by services, and provision of food parcels and regular hot meals to families has been greatly welcomed in terms of ‘easing the burden’ on parents.

Frontline workers are seeing more families falling into fuel poverty and are using voluntary funding to top up electricity keys and gas cards as well as providing data and minutes for pay-as-you-go mobile phones and SIM cards to help families stay in contact.


Download the briefing here – Early insights into the COVID-19 response 30 April 2020

Read and download the previous week’s briefing here.

Read NSEE researcher Jo Neary’s blog about our changing role in the wake of the pandemic here.

Logo of the Creative Commons licence Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA)Written content is published under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 licence.

To cite this briefing: Children’s Neighbourhoods Scotland, Early insights into the COVID-19 response – 30 April 2020,



We are the Network for Social and Educational Equity, based in the Robert Owen Centre for Educational Change at the University of Glasgow. We work with governments, educational institutions, local authorities and teachers to promote educational change.

Leave a Reply

About NSEE

The Network for Social and Educational Equity (NSEE) is part of the Robert Owen Centre for Educational Change (ROC) at the University of Glasgow.

It works in collaboration with schools, local authorities, Education Scotland and partner services to tackle the poverty-related attainment gap in young people’s education.

NSEE helps schools to use appropriate evidence and data within collaborative working approaches to critically examine context and current arrangements, make changes based on evidence, monitor the impact of these changes and reflect on what they learn.

Recent Posts


Sign up for our Newsletter