Mutual Aid Groups and Their Lessons for Post-crisis Community Care´┐╝

About the project

COVID-19 and accompanying restrictions on social and economic life has led to increased food poverty and vulnerability. This project examined how mutual aid was enacted during the pandemic, investigating who organised mutual aid initiatives and asking what helped or hindered their enactment of mutual aid. The project team consisted of academics from political geography, health studies and housing studies. They engaged with community mutual aid groups and activists from across the UK to understand the nature of mutual aid support and how it has met local and community needs in a public health emergency.

The research team drew on ethnographic research, including participatory action research and interviews, to consider the responsiveness of mutual aid to meet needs under COVID-19 and future public emergencies. Their research helped formulate a Manifesto for change and a documentary, in collaboration with artist and documentary film maker Matthias Kispert, to celebrate mutual aid and encourage a greater recognition of its potential to respond to future emergencies.

Recommendations

  • Foster trust and embeddedness between local authorities and mutual aid groups through provision of ‘facilities time” and financial renumeration..
  • Make spaces available for mutual aid groups (community centres, social clubs, kitchens).
  • Create easy-read accessible information on food hygiene in times of crisis and training to community groups free of charge.
  • Simplify grant application processes and introduce emergency funding in times of crisis.
  • DBS accreditations should be free/quicker.
  • Recognise the autonomy of mutual aid organisations.

Research Team

Dr. Oli Mould (Principal Investigator); Mr Adam Badger (PDRA); Prof. Phil Brown (Co-Investigator); Dr Jennifer Cole (Co-Investigator)

Project Website

Policy Brief

Places and Communities

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Governance: Ethics, Data and Procurement

Keywords

ethics local place-based inclusion transparency values