Greener Kirkcaldy and the COVID-19 crisis – planning for our future
Back in March, we closed Greener Kirkcaldy’s doors and moved the majority of our staff to working from home. Our staff and volunteers have been amazing during lockdown, quickly changing how they work and adapting our services to meet the needs of the community.
We have also been planning ahead – both for our reopening after lockdown, and for finding our ‘next normal’ in a changed and uncertain world. We know that just going back to ‘business as usual’ is not an option, and we want to look for opportunities as well as challenges as we plan for our future. This blog shares our approach and our journey so far.
First, we set up a Greener Kirkcaldy Covid-19 Planning Group to guide us through the crisis. The new group consists of members of our volunteer management committee and representatives of our staff team.
The Planning Group decided to use a five-stage approach – Resolve, Resilience, Return, Reimagination and Reform. That is based on the recommendations of management consultants McKinsey & Company, who published a framework for organisations in any sector to plan for the future. The McKinsey approach helped us structure our thinking and not rush into planning too far ahead, too soon.
The Resolve stage happened back in March and was about addressing the immediate challenges. We moved quickly and decisively to implement remote working, close our premises to the public, adapt some of our projects and put others on hold.
The Cosy Kingdom energy advice team stopped carrying out home advice visits, and quickly started offering a phone service instead. We also started delivering online events and sharing positive stories to help our community through these difficult times.
The Resilience stage started soon afterwards, and was about addressing the issues that the twin public health and economic crises posed to our community.
We secured funding from the Scottish Government’s Supporting Communities Fund to support emergency response work in Kirkcaldy. Our Community Food volunteers and staff stepped up to help people who needed support accessing food – they have prepared and delivered over 5,000 meals to people in Kirkcaldy since April. This funding also enabled Cosy Kingdom to make crisis meter top ups for hundreds of families at risk of disconnection. That was sorely needed – more people than ever are struggling financially, due to the lockdown’s impact on jobs.
We started to make longer-term plans for how we will do things differently when lockdown is eased. We consulted all of our staff to get their ideas, and shared learning with other voluntary-sector organisations. It was good to remember that we – as a community and as an organisation – are not alone in going through this. One thing we decided at this stage is to continue to deliver some events online after lockdown ends. Many people have told us that they find it easier to take part online, because of caring commitments or travel constraints, and would appreciate having this option even after face-to-face events can resume.
The next stage will be Return, when we re-open our premises and restart more of our face-to-face activities, when it is safe to do so.
We will re-open our town centre building as part of the Scottish Government’s Phase 3, with physical distancing and other enhanced health and safety measures in place. We hope to restart volunteer gardening sessions at Ravenscraig Walled Garden in Phase 3 too, following the detailed Government guidance for the safe use of community gardens.
We have already started some face-to-face activities, with social distancing. In June, we kicked off our new Lang Toun Cycles project with four days of free Dr Bike safety checks and repairs. That worked well, and we are going to be operating a temporary Cycle Surgery from our building at 8 East Fergus Place while we look for dedicated premises for the project. Lockdown slowed our plans for this project down a bit, but we are on track to open this summer.
At the same time as planning for Return, we have started the Reimagination stage – thinking about what the next normal might be and what that means for Greener Kirkcaldy. We are looking at the shifts in people’s preferences and expectations, and thinking ahead to the impacts on how we live, work and use technology.
We held a public meeting – ‘Kirkcaldy After Lockdown’ – and are carrying out a survey to gather views on what our community could be like after the Covid-19 crisis is over, and what part we should play in it. We will, this summer, publish an update to our Strategic Plan, setting out our new priorities for the next few years and the longer term changes we want to make.
The final stage will be Reform, when we put in place those longer term plans to embed our new normal. This will include restarting some pre-crisis activities that have been paused, but we will also be open to our programme looking quite different. We want to spring forward, not just bounce back, from this crisis.
Throughout this process, we have been listening to our members and the wider Kirkcaldy community. Your ideas and feedback have helped us plan and prioritise.
Please keep telling us what you think. Our Kirkcaldy After Lockdown survey should only take 5 minutes to complete. We will use the results to help us plan for our future, and how we can best support our community.|