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.
From our experience as champions of Southwark’s communities, we are confident in our borough’s ability to overcome these challenges.
For example, in the last week alone we have seen a united community response to the Covid-19 outbreak. The response has shown its maturity in its willingness to adapt and collaborate with all corners and walks of life in the community.
In particular, we have seen a number of Mutual Aid groups emerge in Southwark
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 – make sure you join on the link below!
Alongside this, we are coordinating with cornerstone charities working with our most vulnerable, and local institutions that have a presence in communities across the borough to find the most viable solution to information sharing.
Our partners include the Southwark Food Action Alliance, Link Age Southwark and Age UK, in addition to our local government, ward councillors, funders, and NHS and GP practices.
We will broadcast updates and developments in the network as and when they arise.