We asked. The ELN answered.
Between March 24 and April 2, 2020, we canvassed over 200 ELN members to get a better idea on how they’ve been affected by COVID-19, which supports they need now, and how they want to be part the GTHA’s recovery efforts.
Whether it was through our recent online survey, in a virtual focus group or at the Digital Dish Town Hall with Mayor Tory (click here to watch), ELNers were loud and clear on their key concerns.
Here are the five key issues we heard from the network.
1. COVID-19 is causing rising leaders to feel stressed and anxious, but also optimistic on the role they can play.
For many ELN members, COVID-19 is a crisis that’s never been experienced before. With no readily available roadmap to navigate the situation, it’s no surprise that 24% of rising leaders feel their future is now uncertain as a result of this crisis. Others reported general feelings of anxiety like stress (36%), sadness (21%), and isolation (18%).
At the same time, members seem to be hopeful about weathering the storm. A quarter of members report feeling supported and one in five feel optimistic.
2. COVID-19’s economic impacts, and their impact on our most vulnerable communities, tops ELNer’s list of key concerns.
Many identified the economic impacts of COVID-19 as most pressing for the GTHA, including immediate effects on local businesses and the threats to current job security and future opportunities for young leaders that will follow. Others are concerned that already marginalized populations—like low-income communities, homeless people and newcomers—are feeling the brunt of these impacts and that adequate support isn’t being offered.
3. The crisis is also weighing on many members’ mental health.
Mental health emerged as a key concern for ELNers with 23% saying their mental health has been impacted by this crisis. Rising leaders are struggling with feelings of isolation and many aren’t quite sure of what role they can play to support their communities during and post-crisis.
4. Rising leaders see an opportunity to engage in, and support, relief efforts now.
Rising leaders want to contribute to COVID-19 relief and recovery efforts and be included in conversations with decision-makers.
Many also called for existing social, economic, and health resources to be better compiled and shared with rising leaders and their communities. Economic supports, such as debt relief, grants for local businesses and entrepreneurs, rent relief, in addition to better social and economic support for front line workers, were identified as priorities.
5. When recovery time comes, ELNers want to help lay the region’s foundation for action.
ELNers want to take lead roles when it comes to how the region recovers from the crisis—but also recognize the need to develop leadership skills that can help them adapt to an uncertain/changing future.
Rising leaders recognized a renewed need to implement policies that support our most vulnerable communities and grassroots initiatives that can help strengthen resiliency and prepare for future crises.
Know people in your network with similar feelings or ideas when it comes to the impacts of COVID-19? Bring them together for Digital Dish, a new campaign by CivicAction to get GTHA residents socially connecting while staying home. With Digital Dish, virtually link-up with friends family or colleagues to share a meal or coffee break and have a meaningful discussion and share what you discussed back with CivicAction. Click here for more information: https://www.civicaction.ca/digitaldish.