Update 31 May 2022
Hello! Thanks for visiting the new Lambeth Mutual Aid website – just one of many changes we’ve been making over the past few weeks. We hope you find it useful, but if you have any ideas for what else it could include, or want to contribute to making it better, please get in touch! We’re a small group of people volunteering to make Lambeth Mutual Aid happen around our jobs, and would love it if more people got involved.
It’s been a while since the last update so lots to catch up on:
In the past year, May 2021 to May 2022, nearly £15,000 has been shared from the Lambeth Mutual Aid Solidarity Fund to support people who are struggling with buying food, paying bills and other essentials. Some of that money has also helped other local Lambeth groups, including Rastafari Movement and Repowering, with the vital work they do delivering food and supporting people’s well-being.
As costs of living rocket upwards, the Solidarity Fund is more necessary than ever. Some of the people applying for the grant have low-paid work, some are looking for it, some are parents, some are escaping domestic violence, but all of them are struggling just to cover the basics, because food and fuel costs are so high and keep rising. We know that the cost of living crisis affects everyone, but it affects people who have no recourse to public funds, or work in precarious jobs, or are ill, so much more – and no matter how many Cost of Living Support Payments are introduced by the government, it’s not enough to compensate for the far deeper problems of uncontrolled rents and unfair fuel charges. In the face of inequality, redistributing money across Lambeth in the form of £50 grants is an act of neighbourly solidarity we believe in.
Applying for a grant
We are adjusting our application system for people seeking grants, taking inspiration from the brilliant group behind the Cambridge Solidarity Fund. We hope the changes will make it simpler for people to apply, and make managing the fund more collective. The changes are:
1. Instead of applying for the fund by email, we’re introducing a new request form. Applicants are not asked why you need the money: we’re working from trust and respect, and only ask that you provide a proof of address to show that you live in Lambeth. People who are homeless, or in precarious housing, or don’t have their own bank account, can also apply, as long as we can meet in Lambeth to give you cash.
2. The Solidarity Fund will sometimes be closed, while the Lambeth Mutual Aid group focus on building up the fund, so more people can be supported by it. We’ll advertise it reopening online and via email, and through brilliant friends such as Lambeth Larder. If you want to be on the mailing list to know when the fund reopens, please email to let us know.
We hope to have the new system up and running by the end of June 2022. In the meantime, the fund will be closed – but we’ll still be supporting people where we can, whether by signposting to other groups doing amazing work in the borough, or collecting needed items via the Lambeth Mutual Aid facebook page.
Anyone can get involved in Mutual Aid – that’s what makes it mutual aid! You could:
1. Join the group making decisions about how to share the fund, and responding to applications – email us to find out more. It would be amazing if people applying for grants also got involved in making decisions about how to manage the fund – that kind of community thinking is what mutual aid is all about.
2. Donate! If you’re reading this and could afford to put the recent council tax rebate into savings, or have spare money after doing the weekly shop, or could give up one coffee a month, please consider adding to the Solidarity Fund: every pound makes a difference.
3. Spread the word. Got loads of followers on social media? Tag us and share our website. Or you could print off a few of the Solidarity Fund flyers from the More Support page and hand them out to your friends.
Thanks everyone for reading, good luck – and remember: mutual aid isn’t about charity, it’s about solidarity. Get involved if you can. xx