Ever more needed? The role of the Leeds Neighbourhood Networks during the COVID-19 pandemic
This report draws on the findings of a ‘Real Time Evaluation’ (RTE) of the Leeds Neighbourhood Networks during the pandemic, as a way to understand and share learning about their response.
The Leeds Neighbourhood Networks (LNNs) aim to support older people to live independently and participate in their communities as they grow older, through a range of activities and services that are provided at a neighbourhood level. The networks have developed over the past 30 years and there are now 37 of them covering the whole city of Leeds. The form, function, activities and services of the networks are diverse, but they share some key characteristics, such as running with the involvement of older people.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic there was a city-wide ambition for a symbiotic relationship between the LNNs and the health and care sector. This was linked the city’s strategic vision to make Leeds the ‘best city in the UK to grow old in’ and recognition of the need for a ‘left shift’ of resources toward prevention and the development community-based resources and assets.
Although the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic meant that this progressive policy agenda was placed on hold out of necessity as city partners focussed on addressing the acute needs brought about by the crisis, the pandemic also provided an opportunity for the LNNs to demonstrate their value by being part of this response at a city and neighbourhood level.