North Ayrshire has been singled out in a report on good practice for embedding kindness in their work before and during the COVID-19 emergency.

Between 2018 and 2020, hundreds of council staff engaged with The Carnegie UK Trust to explore what kindness meant, with NAC agreeing a Kindness Promise that set out how it would behave differently as it strives to be a kinder organisation.

Teams were able to build on this, and relationships with community organisations, to move quickly and support people made vulnerable by the crisis.

The study found unprecedented levels of volunteering and community action because “people were given the permission, tools and resources to make a difference”, with community hubs emerging as a successful model that helped different organisations work together to supporting people.

Sarah Davidson, CEO at Carnegie UK Trust, said: “In the immediate response to the pandemic, organisations were able to come together quickly to make sure that vulnerable people were supported in a way that treated them with kindness and respect. While many councils responded in innovative ways, we think North Ayrshire’s approach of working in partnership with others and fostering human relationships was particularly successful. In doing so, they demonstrated strong leadership, creative practice and partnership working.”

Councillor Louise McPhater, Cabinet Member for Participatory Democracy said: “This period has been hard for all of us. But tough times can also bring out the very best in people and that is very much the case in our North Ayrshire communities.

“The Council is proud of the work we and our partners have done with Carnegie and our relationships with citizens and communities have helped us shape our approach to this pandemic. It has been a massive strategical operation but underpinning everything we’ve done together is kindness and a willingness to help others.

“Our community hubs have emerged as an innovative organisational approach to working in partnership in local communities and we are using this design experiment to improve future ways of working as we learn to live with the virus. Radical kindness is at the heart of this and we are excited to continue to work with Carnegie to reshape how we support our communities and our most vulnerable residents.”