The coronavirus has inspired more community action in Finland, with an increase in people helping others and an enthusiasm for participating in covid-related community activities.
The findings come from research conducted among 1,000 Finns across the country in July and August for University of Helsinki, the Citizen Forum, and Finnish fundraising association VaLa ry as part of a global project into generosity during corona times, led by professors Pamala Wiepking and Femida Handy.
The survey findings reveals that two-thirds of those who responded said they had helped their family members, friends, or neighbours during the coronavirus crisis, and 12% had helped a stranger. 17% of respondents also said they had participated in communal corona crisis-related action, such as putting teddy bears in a window and thanking health care staff. 28% of respondents continued to pay for services provided by companies and entrepreneurs which they had not been able to use due to restrictions.
More traditional ways of helping, such as volunteering and donating, have also been popular however. During the pandemic, one quarter (26%) of respondents had donated money to charity, while 11% had volunteered for a charity – nearly half of which had provided assistance to older people.
Overall, the study found that the coronavirus pandemic has increased people’s desire to help others. 23% of the respondents felt that the situation had brought change and said that one way they had helped was by keeping in closer contact with people, especially with their loved ones.
Professor Henrietta Grönlund, University of Helsinki, commented:
“An exceptionally high number of respondents wanted to write about how the pandemic has made them value communality and solidarity. This time has given people the reason and opportunity to stop and think about profound questions.
“The number of people who have continued to pay for services which they have not been able to use, was also surprisingly high. This demonstrates well how acts of solidarity change and philanthropy can, for example, merge with business. These are trends we have witnessed for some time, but it seems the pandemic has really highlighted them in a new way.”