This paper considers the basis for a ‘community-centred’ response to COVID-19. It highlights the pressures on communities weakened by austerity, growing inequalities, and cuts to social infrastructure. This paper examines the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on low-income communities, whilst highlighting the extent to which they have been excluded from debates about policies to limit the spread of COVID-19. The paper examines four approaches to assist the inclusion of neighbourhoods in strategies to tackle the pandemic: promoting community participation; recruiting advocates for those who are isolated; creating a national initiative for supporting community-centred activity; and developing policies for the long-term. The paper concludes with questions which society and communities will need to address given the potential continuation of measures to promote physical distancing.