A new era of social support? Big business is becoming a community investor. So too are individuals in their own communities.

There is more evidence emerging that, even after all that has been written and discussed, many still do expect that business landscapes will return to normality akin to 2019. Maybe this will happen but it is unlikely; and even if it does, there has been more change than many realise during this year alone in the way people do think and behave.

Research is indicating that many consumers do now have the importance of sustainability right at the core of their thinking and values. The result is that consumers are more likely to want to acquire a great experience over luxury goods, and want to see a kinder society emerge. Many have questioned whether this new compassion would survive the re-opening of the economy but there is growing evidence which suggests that it will and it will grow in volume.

· Many want to see greater support and investment across schools for the well-being and nurturing of children. They want to see both obesity and mental health issues now combated with some real investment and support; greater food produce in schools, better diets and stronger approaches to managing well-being. Many are asking new questions too such as – what is the quality of air within schools? How can social media be managed better?

· For the last five years’ core homelessness has been rising year on year in England, reaching a peak just before the pandemic when the numbers of homeless households jumped from 207,600 in 2018 to over 219,000 at the end of 2019. There are indications that the numbers are now beginning to fall and there has been greater investment made into solving this issue. Hospitality did lead the way in how it supported those who were disadvantaged.

· It is estimated that companies will increase budgets by over 20% to ensure that they are working stronger than ever with their local communities. Big business will emerge as a major community investor

· However, all across communities, individuals too are investing more. The pandemic has served to highlight the deep economic and racial inequalities faced and, there is a growing consensus that community investing is a powerful tool that can transform under-served communities and benefit the population at large.

All across cities and communities, people did see others struggle and felt uncomfortable. The pandemic served to make all stop and in 2020, there were many articles written about the rising sense of compassion. Many believed that this was being lost in recent months as the economy restarted and there were so many challenges to be faced. However, the evidence does suggest that there is a stronger balance in play where companies are more aware of the role they can play within communities and individuals too.

The chance to emerge from a crisis is rarely as dramatic as expected and often more subtle. This is likely to be true now as well.