Physical distancing measures have had serious implications on our ability to share information with one another. In a time where communication is key to overcoming Covid-19, we have been looking for new ways to communicate with and empower our communities
As our CEO mentioned in her recent statement on the covid-19 outbreak, we are currently handling a set of unprecedented circumstances for which we have no established set of procedures to navigate.
It is essential that in this period we stay calm and focus on pulling our communities through. We at Community Southwark have released our action plan for the Covid-19 outbreak which you can view here.
What are Mutual Aid groups?
Mutual Aid groups are small groups of local residents who have come together to respond to the emerging shortfalls in the health and social care available to vulnerable people during the Covid-19 outbreak- some of whom may never have met before.
The groups offer to support vulnerable or self-isolating members of their community with things like shopping, dog walking, or outreach calls so make sure they’re not lonely.
Mutual Aid groups are free and open to everyone to join. There are currently over 50 Mutual Aid Groups in Southwark, and counting. Each group focusses on providing support to vulnerable people in their immediate neighbourhood or locality.
Southwark Mutual Aid Network
We view the Mutual Aid efforts as a huge community resource, but we need to ensure they are prepared to safely provide local support and care for the most vulnerable.
It is vital that the mutual aid groups have access to essential information on things like safeguarding, requests from charities looking for localised support, offers from local businesses and organisations, and callouts for specific skills and expertise.
We have therefore connected with each of the mutual aid groups to create the Southwark Mutual Aid Network. So far, the network has one contact from each of the Mutual Aid groups in the borough to which we will share information via a mailing list and broadcasting WhatsApp Group. We will eventually expand the network to include everyone.
Join the Southwark Mutual Aid Network
Make sure your group is connected to the Southwark Mutual Aid Network! In order to join the Network you must:
- belong to a mutual aid group in Southwark, and…
- this group must not already be a part of the Southwark Mutual Aid Network.
If you’re not sure if your group is already a part of the Network you should ask the Admin of your local WhatsApp group to find out. If there is already a member of your group in the network then you do not need to contact us.
If you meet these two criteria and your group is not part of the network, nominate one member from your group to get in contact with us with the following information:
- Main contact name
- Main contact mobile phone number
- The name of the Mutual Aid group
- The area the Mutual Aid group covers
- The Mutual Aid group’s postcode district
Please then EMAIL this information to us at CommunityResponse@communitysouthwark.org. In the subject header, please put MUTUAL AID followed by your group’s name.
We will then add your email address to the mailing list, and your phone number to our WhatsApp broadcast group.
Through these means, we will be putting out details of information and support that is specific to Southwark communities, as well as call-outs for skills and expertise so that we can build an empowered community in challenging times.
Coronavirus Community Response document
We have put together this 'Coronavirus Community Response' document. It outlines a few things to consider when setting up or running Informal community groups responding to the coronavirus; plus the policy and protection procedures to put in place and some helpful templates to use. Please share it widely.
Southwark Community Action Network (CAN)
Find out more about how you can get involved as individuals and take action in your local areas on our Southwark CAN website.