New research shows the impact of COVID-19 mutual aid groups

Communities vs. Coronavirus: The Rise of Mutual Aid is an investigation into the mutual aid groups that have emerged during the COVID-19 emergency. It explores the way these groups work, their activities, and the implications for local government and community power more generally.

NLGN members have told them about the incredible pressures of the pandemic response – and how, in so many places, mutual aid groups have emerged almost literally overnight to overturn our assumptions about the nature of voluntary work and public service delivery. This report builds on those insights with practical examples of how to sustain these new relationships and recommends that councils will need to be properly resourced to do so.

The report is a wide-ranging discussion that, among other things:

  • Argues that in many places the government’s shielding policy was only possible because of the work of mutual aid groups
  • Shares examples of good and bad practice on the part of the councils and organisations that have interacted with mutual aid groups
  • Offers recommendations for councils on embedding and building upon the new relationships and opportunities offered by the mutual aid phenomenon
  • Analyses the sustainability of mutual aid as we move toward recovery.

NGLN have also recorded a podcast to mark the launch of this report. It features a discussion of its main recommendations and an interview with the organisers of a group that successfully established a huge range of services along with original safeguarding and data protection processes.

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