Insights from our Needs Assessment Survey

Insights from our Needs Assessment Survey

We wanted to share some Insights from our Community Southwark Needs Assessment survey that we sent out earlier this month (April 2020). A huge thank you to all those who responded, as we know this is an extremely busy and difficult time. This information is helping to inform us about what your capacity is and what you need support with due to the Covid-19 crisis.

The Information presented below (unless stated otherwise) is based on 79 complete responses to the survey. There were a further 22 responses that were either incomplete or were not applicable (e.g. from individuals rather than organisations).  

Funding status

  • 57% of respondents are either partially funded or not funded at all for current activities (out of 77 respondents)
  • 32% of respondents are fully funded for current activities (out of 77 respondents)
  • 5 months is the average length of time that respondents thought their funding would last (based on 23 responses) - the range was between 2 weeks and 12 months

Volunteering needs

  • 22 organisations requested volunteers
  • In total, the organisations said they needed over 195 volunteers


  • 46 organisations (58%) said they were able to take on new service users 
  • 33 organisations (42%) said they were not able to take on new service users 
  • 49 organisations (62%) said their staff or volunteers have capacity to contribute to potential community-wide efforts in dealing with this crisis


  • 61 organisations (77%) said that they have had to stop some or all their services (and they are not delivering them through alternative means e.g. online)

In light of the needs emerging as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, which response services have you started doing, planning to do, or not considering?

We found that over half of the organisations have already started, or are planning to: 

  • leaflet/get the word out
  • provide befriending by telephone
  • source/collect and deliver food and household supplies
  • and/or take calls and manage requests from people requesting help.

Innovating services

  • 36 organisations (46%) said that they have already started or are planning to start offering a new or different service in the current context (different to the above) 
  • We did some analysis on answers to the question: “Another new or different service relevant to your organisation” and “What existing services are you continuing to deliver?”. We found that organisations have been innovating in a number of ways: 
    • Predictably, the most common way that organisations have adapted their services have been to offer them online (32 counts). Zoom, Google Hangouts and Padlet were mentioned as tools to deliver services. Organisations were offering a wide range of online support including: health/fitness classes, ESOL sessions, virtual book clubs, social meet-ups, art classes, quizzes, online accredited pre-employability training and Personal Self Development courses
    • This was closely followed by phone calls (27 counts). Organisations mentioned phone calls as a way to provide one-to-one support, befriending, counselling, checking-in with clients and connecting people to local services
    • Other ways of adapting services included sign-posting to services that are still running; producing resources or guidance (such as activity ideas, art packs, gardening advice, interactive maps) in the absence of being able to run services; and setting up WhatsApp groups to encourage peer support 

What we are doing/ plan to do in response so far?

  • We have set up a dedicated Covid-19 information and support section of our website here
  • We have shared all of your Covid-19 volunteer requests on our Covid-19 volunteer pages here.
  • We have sent Covid-19 emergency funding information to those of you who requested it
  • We are supporting organisations daily with funding queries online and on the phone
  • We have worked with our local food SFAA Newwork partners to create a Southwark food map
  • We have collaborated with the council to set up a much needed food hub in the Kingswood Estate 
  • We have pulled together lots of information on our website, including around furlough, redundancy and recruitment and sent this out in weekly ebulletins
  • We have created two videos plus a guide around safeguarding and risk assessment 
  • We have created a business continuity guide for organisations 
  • We are, along with our partners Southwark Law Centre and Southwark CAB, running an online Covid-19 Universal Credit Network for front line staff supporting people with UC issues
  • We have created a Mutual Aid Support Network to support all MA group leaders
  • We have run one Volunteer Managers Network meeting and are supporting volunteer managers and coordinators daily online and on the phone
  • We are planning to run an online conference to further support the MA group leaders
  • We are building a Southwark database for council and VCS referrals
  • We are creating a public wide community map, from the database info, to search for services for self-referral and sign posting 
  • We are, along with our partner Nesta, putting together a post Covid-19 recovery strategy for organisations

Follow up

We would really like to know how you are doing now since you filled in the survey, we will be sharing the community map soon and so you will be able to fill this in yourself. Alternatively, please do email or call us:, 020 7358 7020.

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