Search Donate

Show results for
  • News
  • Videos
  • Action Alerts
  • Events
  • Resources
  • MEND

MEND Leicester- Covid 19 Mutual Aid in the Community- My Experience so far…

MEND Leicester- Covid 19 Mutual Aid in the Community- My Experience so far…

Categories: Past Event Articles

Tuesday April 14 2020

As the world seemed to grind to a halt because of Covid-19 this month, the cogs of neighbourhood spirit seemed to spur into action. Scores of community groups, new and existing accelerated their work, guiding people on the ground like me, how to assist those in need. At a time when we are witnessing our own BAME community, like the first four doctors to die on the NHS frontline, sacrificing their lives for us in the UK, many of us are left wondering what we can do. As a mother of two and a mature student, trapped at home, I hoped I could take action and help when my country needed it the most.

This motivated me to search the web and find an avenue that suited me, the proliferation of new groups would probably have been time consuming for someone in my position to navigate and join, but as a volunteer for Mend, my colleagues instantly utilised their community contacts and informed our group of the many of the avenues available. The groups I joined were our Leicester East Covid-19 Mutual Aid group headed by MP Claudia Webbe and subsequently our more local subgroup too. Most people have accessed their Mutual Aid groups through WhatsApp or Facebook. I initially felt I would not be able to help as I am self-isolating due to my husband’s asthma and heart condition, but I was relieved to realise that I could offer other help such as telephone befriending. This led me to register with the volunteering site www.withami.co.uk I received a phone call from a volunteer called Rehana of Vistablind and Leicester Ageing Together, who conducted a brief interview and made a note of the languages I speak and what I could offer. It seems that continual telephone befriending is needed at the moment, so I should be paired with an elderly person soon.

One of the first tasks that I carried out for Mutual Aid was posting leaflets informing locals of our group and help they could access. The immediate gratitude was manifest in the touching responses like the call from an appreciative local, elderly gentleman to the group lead, or messages such as, “I just got a little note through my door, I just wanted to say thank you so much, and, “I am a mother of 3…got your leaflet and am proud of you that you took this step, a learning lesson for us all.” Other gratitude has come from family and friends who have appreciated crucial links and information that I have passed on to allow them to assist immediately. My sister in law also messaged to thank me after I forwarded the details of a local food bank, The Peace Centre, that has been running for seven years and had delivered 119 food parcels during their immediate response. The number of people that were dependent on food essentials have obviously soared and volunteers were needed urgently. All of this has been sensitively carried out by them, and other organisations, with the utmost regard of safety of volunteers and recipients.

Another action was taken by a caring neighbour who set up a WhatsApp group for our street. Most of us have never spoken to each other, yet this has now forged links that will hopefully help the needy and promote more doorstep waves in the future, beyond this crisis. It has become evident through this, that knowing there are people in the immediate vicinity willing to assist, has been reassuring, even though the only benefit so far has been sharing orange recycling bags, we still need our bins collecting!

All in all, it seems that us British neighbours have been jolted from our soporific state and we have embraced, sometimes for the first time, knowing and recognising the needs of our neighbours and our communities. Hand in hand with the proliferation of groups, partnered with volunteers working tirelessly and selflessly, especially in the NHS, burial services and food banks to name a few, has moved our hearts and united us in a way that will last our lifetime and probably beyond.


Find out more about MEND, sign up to our email newsletter

Get all the latest news from MEND straight to your inbox. Sign up to our email newsletter for regular updates and events information