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Pioneering research to examine impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on third sector organisations

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A pioneering new research project will examine how third sector organisations have learned from the Covid-19 pandemic to better support the communities they serve.

Edge Hill University is partnering with institutions in the US, Canada and Poland to explore the resilience of third sector organisations working with vulnerable populations.

It will look at how they adapted to deal with challenges arising from the pandemic as well as the outcomes for service users. The project also seeks to find out about people’s levels of trust in governance and their levels of political participation.

It is envisaged that learning from the research will inform government policy in this area. It will also lead to increased collaboration between participating institutions and organisations through shared learning.

Post-doctoral researcher Jacob Obodai is currently conducting interviews with several Greater Manchester based organisations which have agreed to take part in the study.

He said: “This project will establish a framework for a sustained community of practice for government and third sector organisations within and across countries to enhance adaptive capacity for future public health and other crises.

“Through our findings, we hope to shed new light on how to mitigate the negative societal effects of Covid-19 pandemic and support recovery and renewal in a post-pandemic world.’

The next phase of the research will be to understand the views of each organisation’s client base through a questionnaire survey.

Similar work is being conducted by researchers at the University of Central Florida, Concordia University and the University of Warsaw to understand the challenges faced in the other participating countries.

Funded by The Trans-Atlantic Platform (T-AP) for the Social Sciences and Humanities, through the Economic and Social Research Council, the project is part of an unprecedented collaboration between humanities and social science researchers from South America, North America and Europe examining recovery, renewal, and resilience in a post-pandemic world.

The UK project’s Principal Investigator, Dr Victoria Foster, said: ‘This is an exciting opportunity to work collaboratively with colleagues in the US, Canada and Poland to support global recovery and renewal after the pandemic. Although each country has its own particular context, we have much to learn from one another and from the participating third sector organisations.’

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