covid:aid wins National Lottery funding to provide innovative Long Covid support

covid:aid, the new national charity for all those affected by Covid-19 in the UK, is partnering with social good digital agency Hactar to create an innovative toolkit to help charities and organisations support people living with Long Covid – in a project funded by The National Lottery Community Fund through Catalyst and CAST.

The project will produce a set of design tools to help charities adapt their services for people who are suffering with, or caring for, individuals with Long Covid. These include breakdowns of who these individuals are (personas), what their problems are and what they need (user needs statements), plus guidance for the support organisations to ensure they can provide their services in the best way online.

With many grassroots groups set up across the UK to respond to Long Covid, we know that individuals suffering with Long COVID are dealing with complex needs, both medical and in their disrupted day-to-day lives. These tools will be developed in consultation with voluntary groups and involve user research at its core, and will be made available in an online repository for any charities and other organisations to use.

Working together, covid:aid and product and service design agency Hactar will help understand what the common user needs are. Through doing so, more organisations will be able to support people with this condition, which affects a significant percentage of those who have had COVID-19, including some who were asymptomatic. It has recently been reported that one in ten have long-term effects more than eight months after experiencing mild Covid-19 (ScienceDaily), and earlier today it was reported more than two million may have had Long Covid in England alone (BBC).

UK charity covid:aid launched in May 2021 looking to support all those affected by Covid-19 across the country, supporting and boosting existing grassroots groups as we move from a crisis to a chronic phase of the pandemic – meaning that long-term will be required for millions.

This project is being carried out to help enable charities, and other voluntary organisations, to be able to respond quickly and efficiently to changes which affect service users as we move through different phases of the pandemic. As we learn more about the causes, treatments and prognoses of Long Covid we will need to adapt the services delivered to those living with the disease. This project aims to explore how those services can be designed and developed collaboratively with a shared set of assets, and will run until August 2021.

Michael MacLennan, founder and Chief Executive at covid:aid, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Hactar on this work, which will further our mission to ensure that all those affected by Covid-19 receive the support that they need. 

“Many of those living with Long Covid have been doing so for well over a year now. Our research and the assets we develop will help charities and other organisations provide people living with Long Covid with the support they so desperately need.” 

Gemma Hampson, Managing Director at Hactar, said: “This is a new disease with new challenges and there are already so many organisations providing great support. Working with covid:aid means we can help these organisations have more understanding of who their services users are and what they need, in a joined up way.

”Hactar works with charities every day. It’s our aim to create these tools based on research and evidence so these organisations can have an even bigger impact.”

Chris Thorpe, Head of Technology at CAST and Catalyst, said: “From the last year’s work, we know that charities are putting more effort into collective efforts than ever before. Those living with Long Covid have been supported admirably by voluntary groups who have in turn supported each other in unprecedented ways. As more mainstream charities are supporting Long Covid patients with different parts of their lives, we want to make as much information available to them, so we’re all in the know and can build shared and seamless responses to provide the support that is needed and deserved by so many.”

Hactar is a modern agency with a Lean philosophy, a smart approach to technology and a commitment to social good. They consult, workshop, present, plan, research, design, test and build — usually for digital products and services.

CAST is the Centre for the Acceleration of Social Technology, and helps grow charities’ capabilities using digital, data and design. It is an incubator of Catalyst, which connects UK charities to digital tools, support & inspiration.

Covid Aid is reliant on YOUR donations to provide support to those hit by Long Covid, grief and bereavement, and other Covid-related issues