Early insights into the COVID-19 responses part 3 – the third sector’s crucial role


In collaboration with Policy Scotland and the Network for Social and Educational Equity, Children’s Neighbourhoods Scotland is undertaking a programme of research and intelligence gathering in high poverty settings across Scotland that seeks to understand local responses to the COVID-19 crisis and provide insights that can support the next phase of action at both local and national levels.

This document is the part of a series that shares regular insights emerging from the research. You can find part 1 here and part 2 here.

The third sector – a collaborative response to supporting families

The third sector have played a crucial role in responding to the COVID-19 crisis, particularly in disadvantaged neighbourhoods. Within hours of the government announcement, many third sector organisations had already adapted their activities to meet the urgent needs of families, for example shifting from teaching people to cycle to food shopping and collecting prescriptions.

Funders have been supportive of the fast, agile response from the third sector, allowing organisations to re-purpose their existing grants and relaxing eligibility criteria for new funding applications.

The ways in which third sector organisations have worked together to respond to the needs of families during the crisis has been impressive. The Glasgow Helps helpline was set up within four days. It was initiated by the Glasgow Council for the Voluntary Sector (GCVS) and involves Glasgow City Council, Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership, Volunteer Glasgow and Scottish Fire and Rescue.

The helpline and directory have been used to identify and plug gaps in local provision. Where there is an absence of food provision in an area, third sector organisations have responded to requests and expanded their reach. The helpline also processes offers of help from volunteers.

Read the briefing in full here: Early insights into the COVID-19 responses part 3 – the third sector’s crucial role 8 May 2020 (pdf)

For comments, feedback and further information, please contact Professor Christopher Chapman and/or Alison Drever. To sign up for Children’s Neighbourhood Scotland’s newsletter and further updates, follow this link to  join their mailing list.

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 – 8 May 2020, Policy Scotland, 8 May 2020, https://policyscotland.gla.ac.uk/cns-early-insights-into-the-covid-19-response-8-may-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.

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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.

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