North West Cultural Partnership

Derek Moore from NW Cultural Partnership tells of how the group is coping with COVID-19

What actions have taken place at a local level?

Like everyone else, the pandemic and the lockdown has completely disrupted all the North West Cultural Partnership normal group activity and communication avenues. We have been creative and adapted to online teaching, meetings and conferencing, a trend I feel will continue after the current crisis. All details and online videos are viewable on New Gate Arts Facebook, have a look!

How do you feel adversity has brought communities together (either within or between)?
Over and above our project funded work, we are partnered with the TRIAX neighbourhood partnership board in Derry which oversees community cohesion in the Fountain and Bogside areas, some of the most deprived parts of the city. This means that we are part of the current coordinating process when dealing with people who are perceived to be vulnerable, marginalised or financially disadvantaged at this time, and in need of help.
There is no doubt that the strong community groups here have delivered help and contact services to the area. This has been a plus for good relations around the areas involved and contact levels and coordination between groups has been raised.

What are the challenges to your work?

However, some issues have existed and surprisingly enough, or maybe not, these have been more intra-community and not inter-community. Some early well-meaning funding streams by government, councils and other funders have overlapped and groups have applied to more than one and maybe ended up struggling to deliver everything they asked for. In our area this appears to have left some small groups like churches and sports groups etc. up against the more well-developed organisations and struggling for relevance. This again is a learning curve for all. 

What are your hopes for the future?

Hopefully nothing like this pandemic will happen again. When we finally get back to some semblance of normality, we all need to look at how government and funders focused offers of finance and help over this period, and how and what organisations applied for and delivered. At times no-one seemed to know who were the real losers in the pandemic, and in need of material and practical help, the self-employed, the families who had to lose out on work to look after children, small business owners etc. However, we all have to concede, the times are unprecedented!