Mutual aid groups are self-organised groups of people in the community that have set up to support and help people in their local area or neighbourhood. Some mutual aid groups have been set up in response to COVID-19 (coronavirus). Mutual aid groups are usually run by volunteers in their communities.
Please DO NOT volunteer to come into contact with others if you are currently in at at-risk group or you/ some in your household are experiencing symptoms. Follow government and NHS guidance always. You can check the most up to date guidance by clicking here.
Those that shouldn't come in to contact with others at this time can still volunteer and be supportive to those that need it via chat groups and via phone.
Mutual Aid groups organise their own activities in response to their local community needs and are made up of volunteers in that local area. Examples of these activities are listed below:
Mutual aid groups are being setting up all over the UK. Covid Mutual Aid has an up to date map and list of local groups on their website: https://covidmutualaid.org/local-groups. You can also register your own group here for others to find you.
Many mutual aid groups are setting up Facebook or WhatsApp groups for volunteers to join and for people to receive support. You can set up a mutual aid group if there isn’t one in your area. The size of the area is up to you and your fellow volunteers. A local group to cover your street or neighbourhood could be the most effective.
NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland and Ulster Bank have announced the introduction of a new ‘companion card’ – a supplement to their existing current accounts that will enable vulnerable customers and those in extended isolation to give trusted volunteers a way to pay for their essential goods. To find out more click here: https://www.rbs.com/rbs/news/2020/04/natwest--royal-bank-of-scotland-and-ulster-bank-launch-card-for-.html
Facebook groups or WhatsApp groups are a great way to communicate with your group.
Please also consider that those that may need support may not have access to these platforms. They may not have access to the internet, have smart phones or be comfortable on social media. This is particularly true of at-risk groups. Please consider how they will contact you for support.
Leaflets or flyers are one way to reach people in their homes to tell them about your mutual aid group. Ensure you have a method for people to contact you included on this.
Key information to include is:
If you are leafleting remember this can also spread the virus. The following may be helpful:
MVA have secured a collection of short animations to support volunteering during the COVID-19 emergency:
Remember that although you are delivering mutual aid in your community, we are all advised to practice social distancing and follow official guidance.
The government have produced guidance on How To Help Safely: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-how-to-help-safely--2
The Food Standards Agency have produced guidance and food safety information if you are preparing meals to share in your community: www.food.gov.uk/safety-hygiene/food-safety-for-community-cooking-and-food-banks
If you would like to explore making the group a permanent neighbourhood support group (beyond the COVID-19 crisis) please contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org