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New programme offers support and brings together London mutual aid and hyperlocal community groups

Mutual Aid Plus has launched to help support and bring together London mutual aid and hyperlocal community groups that have played such an important role in helping those affected by Covid-19 since the pandemic began.

As we slowly transition out of the third lockdown, the level of activity and involvement for these groups has, understandably, reduced from a year ago but there are still huge numbers of very engaged groups supporting their local community. Many of these independent and unique groups do not seek any support other than perhaps to promote that they are very much ‘still here’ whereas others are looking to adapt to a Covid-19 recovery world.

Whether the group’s aim is to stay small, focused and independent or partner with a constituted organisation or develop into one themselves or simply learn from the experience of others, Mutual Aid Plus will help make this happen for groups all across London. This short-term but high impact programme will offer mutual aid and hyperlocal community groups a multi-access engagement to free support on their terms through a number of channels:

  • Facilitated peer networking and support sessions 
  • Mutual Aid Cafés – online ‘drop-in’ informal support with groups who want it
  • Online platform to access and share useful materials
  • Telephone and email support
  • Workshops and training based on needs identified by groups

The project is funded by the Greater London Authority and delivered by two volunteering charities working in partnership, Hammersmith & Fulham Volunteer Centre and Volunteer Centre Camden. Both charities have worked with these groups, including the production of the Covid-19 Good Neighbour Guide which some groups used and adapted, and through this programme are keen to help them to continue to do the great work they have been carrying out.

Hammersmith & Fulham Volunteer Centre Chief Executive Dominic Pinkney said, ‘the development of mutual aid and other hyperlocal community groups truly shows how resilient and cohesive communities can be with so many people wanting to give up their time to help others. The speed at which many groups developed sophisticated operations and not just joined up to but embedded in local authority Covid-19 response services was amazing and inspirational. As we enter a Covid-19 recovery phase, Mutual Aid Plus will help these fantastic to keep doing what they are doing or adapt if they wish to do so. This support is not forced upon them, but here for them to engage with if they want it.’

Mutual Aid Plus programme manager Phil Boye-Anawomah said, ‘Our aim is to provide tailored support to the wide range of mutual aid groups, from larger formal, to small volunteer led groups and informal faith-based groups. We are looking to assist and encourage groups that request support without looking change their character which has allowed them to be so effective and responsive.”

If any mutual aid or similar community group would like to find out more, including the dates of the networking sessions as well as the Café and other support, please email Phil Boye-Anawomah: philip@hfvc.org.uk or call 020 8741 9876

 

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