• Led by Public Health Wales, in partnership with the University of Bristol.
  • Research project to understand the role of community-led action as a protective factor against widening health inequalities during, and in recovery from, the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Will hold in-depth interviews with people who provided, received and coordinated community support during the pandemic, carry out a national survey of community volunteers, and analyse social media data.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, communities across Wales came together to support each other, for example by delivering shopping and medicines, or providing care. Community support is important for building longer-term resilience in communities.

Early in the pandemic, the University of Bristol and Public Health Wales created an online map of need and the level of community support in response to COVID-19 across Wales. This showed where there were pockets of highly visible community support and where there was less support. This research project aims to understand why there was more community-led action in some deprived areas and not in others.

The project team will interview people who provided (community members), received (those self-isolating or shielding) and coordinated (voluntary organisations) community support, and will carry out an online national survey of volunteers. The aim is to find out what factors contributed to strong community-led action, and how this support addressed the needs of the most vulnerable within the community.

The project will also look at how community-led action can help with addressing inequalities in health, how new and existing community-led action be sustained and effectively integrated into the health, third sector and social support system, and whether social media data can provide insights into the levels of need and community-led action across Wales in real-time.

The insights gained from the project will be used to ensure that community-led action can be supported to help protect against the longer-term differences in the health, social and economic impact of COVID-19 across local areas.


For more information about this project, please contact Dr Charlotte Grey, Public Health Researcher, Public Health Wales.

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