In brief

In this blog we lay out our plans for The Relationships Observatory and invite you to share relationship-centred responses to COVID-19 and its challenges.

Our plan

In my last two blogs I talked about how we can learn from the crisis and embed effective and sustainable relationships. I suggested a basic process for “watching, catching and sustaining”. We are grateful to those who responded to the idea. The Relationships Project is now setting up a simple, collaborative observatory.

The Relationships Observatory will gather and curate examples and insights of relationship-centred responses to the pandemic, share the lessons and use what we learn to sustain the positives as the crisis passes.


The UK has just begun 3 or 4 months – 100 days – of behaving differently. We are reinventing how we relate to one another in countless contexts and locations.

Whilst mass re-neighbouring is a pragmatic reaction to an emergency, there are also the makings in this response of a fundamental shift towards a kinder, less divided society.

Our ability to grip the momentum, move beyond the short term and absorb the positives depends on how we act now. If we wait and look back it will already be too late. Retrospective coherence will reinterpret the journey and experience will be lost. We need to learn in real time and to share and use the lessons, developing our support networks, strengthening our communities and preparing us to cope better with future crises either societal and exceptional, like the virus, or individual and inevitable, like illness and loss.


For the duration of the pandemic, we will be doing three things: 


Drawing together a network of volunteer reporters to unearth relationship-centred responses to coronavirus


Sharing the learning via a weekly bulletin and hosting a series of conversations to take stock and think ahead


Generating a set of scenario papers and co-creating activities exploring and designing feasible futures

Could you help?

You can get involved in helping us to build The Relationships Observatory by doing three things:

1. Become an observer

The Observatory will only work with eyes and ears on the ground. Tell us about relationship-centred responses that you’ve witnessed or been part of using this form. You can submit as many observations as you like, but please use one form per observation. If you’d prefer, you can also email your observations to or tag us on Twitter using @Rships_Project 

2. Build the network

If you can think of others who might be interested in this initiative, please share this blog with them and encourage them to become a reporter. 

3. Join the conversation

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be hosting a series of remote conversations to take stock of what we’ve learnt from the reports we’ve received and generate additional insight. Let us know if you’d like to be involved. 

Learning for the future

Some extraordinary things have happened in recent days…. simple but remarkable repurposing of communications technology, more than half a million people volunteering for the NHS support programme, some 270,000 community groups setting up and stepping up, the very moving “Wave of Applause”… these are just the tippiest tip of the iceberg.

From a crisis that will define our generation, we really mustn’t lose the learning. Please help. Thank you.