lambethmutualaid@gmail.com

Lambeth Mutual Aid Update 11th August 2020

Lambeth Mutual Aid Update 11th August 2020

Hi!

A few updates from us. We’re looking to expand how we work and are really keen for more people to be involved. If you are interested please send us an email over at lambethmutualaid@gmail.com. We’re working on a few exciting projects and will need some support with them! Thanks to everyone who expressed interest in helping out with Dispatch last month! We’ll be getting back to in contact to see if you’re still interested in helping out imminently! 

Love and Solidarity

Lambeth Mutual Aid xoxo

Restructuring

Over the past 6 weeks we have been working on restructuring how the Lambeth Mutual Aid group works. We want to widen the participation in mutual aid efforts in the borough. This does not just mean people getting involved with the Lambeth Mutual Aid group (there are many, many amazing groups around the borough who practice mutual aid though do not always use this term) although we welcome anyone who wants to get involved with us! We want to increase the democracy of the group, the ways in which we operate and the kinds of support we offer. We also want to ensure that our efforts are representative of the boroughs diverse demographics. We especially welcome black members of the community. 

Our restructuring will look a little something like this:

  • Co-ord (all groups will meet, share what they’re doing and plan strategy once a fortnight). 
  • Food [working group]
  • Various food co-ops [sub group]
  • Casework [working group]
  • Phoneline [working group]
  • Dispatch [working group]
  • Comms [working group]
  • Fundraising [working group]

If you would like to get involved in any of the groups, or have an idea for a working group which you think could benefit people in the borough then please let us know!

This is a big project. We’re trying to lay the groundwork for loosely connected, autonomous groups who can quickly respond to the growing needs and crises across the borough. Everyone is welcome.

Food Co-ops (buyers co-operatives)

We’ve begun the process of setting up some food co-operatives in Lambeth. The idea is to establish small, hyper-local, community run buyers co-operatives which get food predominantly from surplus food organisations like Fareshare and the Felix Project and to top up this food with extra food which the members of the buyers co-operative want via a £3 monthly contribution. This food will need to be locally stored. To do this we need to find:

  • Spaces: to store the food, and to operate the sorting and distribution of food from.
  • People: both to help start these co-operatives, to promote them, to share how to set them up and to run them. In the future these co-ops must be democratically run by the people accessing the food. This is vital to ensure that the food is appropriate for the people accessing it and to build strong community ties.
  • Food: sourced cheaply via surplus food charities. Access to this will for the time being be largely sourced via the council’s food hubs which have agreements with Fareshare.

We are acutely aware of the issue of food poverty in the borough. We want to ensure that people who do not currently have stable access to food (for a number of reasons) can get good quality, cheap and healthy food which is culturally appropriate. We are aware that there are likely to be local lockdowns and are concerned about the impact of Brexit on food supply and prices which will become much more severe from the beginning of 2021. We are keen to establish strong community food provision, run by and food hyper-local communities by working with other borough food groups.

Phoneline – 0800 009 6504 Tues 9-12; Thurs 2-5; Sat 9-12

Whilst we were restructuring we limited the hours which the phoneline was open so that we could dedicate the time to thinking about future plans, strategy and structure. Due to capacity and a decline in demand we have further reduced the opening hours of the phoneline to the hours above. 

We’re still able to reach out to volunteers for people who need help with tasks or if they are shielding/in quarantine, but are no longer offering financial help and can only signpost or link them up to other organisations.

We are keeping the phoneline open as we are anticipating local lockdowns so we want to ensure that we have systems set up and ready to go if necessary.