02 Sep Mutual Aid Research
My name is Kate Pipe and I am part of the Community Resilience Team at Southend Borough Council. Part of my role is to look at what support has been available in the community during the initial ‘phase’ of the coronavirus pandemic and how this may change (or not) in the event of any second wave, national or local lockdown, or when the furlough scheme ends in the autumn.
One of the things I have been looking at is mutual aid groups and the amazing work that communities have been doing to support each other. We know there is so much good work that has happened that we aren’t even aware of and, with the teams focus on community resilience, we feel it’s important to capture some of this. The work you have been doing as a community will be just as important in the event of any second lockdown etc., so I am contacting you to ask if you would be willing to share this information with me; this will also allow us to identify any potential gaps which need to be looked into. I’m more than happy to either receive this via email or, if you’d prefer to chat face to face, we can either set up a virtual meeting or go for a suitably socially distanced one in person!
The things I’m really looking to capture are:
- What support did you offer e.g. dog walking, food shopping, befriending, collecting prescriptions etc, and how you did this – was it a flyer through neighbours letterboxes, a Facebook group, or something else?
- What do you feel worked? What didn’t?
- Were you aware of the Council’s telephone helpline and how to refer members of the community to that if necessary?
- In the event of any second waves, local lockdowns etc., are you willing to offer the same or similar support to your community if necessary?
- If yes, is there any support you feel you need from the Council, such as information on how to refer people you come across who may need extra support (or anything else)?
- One of the things we as a Community Resilience Team are looking at is how prepared we all are as a community to help out again if any second wave etc comes; as part of this we are considering setting up a virtual directory of local support so that, if necessary, residents of Southend can look in one place and see that there is, for example, a group in their immediate area who can collect prescriptions and contact them directly. This is something that is still in the early stages of discussion but, if it’s something you feel would be useful please let me know, and also if you would like a link to your group to be on the directory.
If there is anything else you want to add, please do so; I really want to capture as much information as I can to highlight what has been happening in our community in these very strange times, and also to help my team understand what may be missing in the event of any second wave etc. If you have any other questions or wish to discuss this further before responding, please feel free to contact me.