Hiya! Now that temperatures are dropping, more and more people in Lambeth are finding that they cannot make ends meet: that there just isn’t enough money for them to keep food on the table and electricity running – let alone any of the other things a person needs to get by.
Lambeth Mutual Aid are a very small group but we do what we can to support people, whether by connecting them with a food bank, signposting to support from people who know much more than us (whether Centre70, Shine or Citz Advice), or offering a place to meet once a month, sharing food and care.
We also look after the Solidarity Fund: our name for donations shared by people across Lambeth, which we redistribute to anyone who lives in Lambeth having a tough time. The application process is very simple: anyone can apply via a google form, and all we ask is that you provide a recent proof of Lambeth address or meet us to collect cash. We recently shared on Instagram some things people have said to us about how important the Solidarity Fund is to them.
During 2023 we have had many conversations, by email and at our social events, about how the Fund is shared. Although the application process is simple, we have put a few limits in place to make sure we are not overwhelmed. In particular, we have been opening the application form only once a month, closing it again as soon as we reach the limit of our donations. Usually this means that the form is open for only two minutes per month!
People receiving money have made various suggestions for how we could do this differently. All of these have been discussed at length, resulting in a few changes that we will be trying out over the next few months, starting from 2 December 2023 when the Solidarity Fund application form opens.
All the changes have been shared already via our newsletter, and are described below.
How to apply to the Solidarity Fund:
The Solidarity Fund will open at 11am on Saturday 2 December. You still need to apply online using the google form in this link but the form will stay open for one week.
Every application we receive will go into a queue. All duplicate applications will be removed from the queue – please only apply once!
Because we expect to receive an extremely large number of applications, we still ask that only one person per family or address apply. (Address does not include hotels.) The grant amount remains at £30.
You will still need to provide a recent proof of Lambeth address to receive your money (or meet in person): please wait until we contact you to send that.
We will give out funds as quickly as possible to as many people in the queue as we can, until we have used up the donations in our Open Collective account. You can see the account on this link.
As new donations arrive, we will continue paying grants until everyone in the queue has received their money.
The google form will remain closed until everyone in the queue has received their money. It might remain closed for three months, depending on how long the queue is.
What this means for you:
These changes should mean that many more people can apply for a grant!
Although you still need to use the google form to apply, we are keeping the questions very simple and everyone should now have time to fill in the form and join the queue.
If you are at the beginning of the queue, we should be able to give you your money within about 10 days. But if you are further down the queue, you will need to wait more time – depending how far down the queue you are, maybe another fortnight, but maybe until January or even February – to receive the money. We will do our best to be very clear about how long you might have to wait, and to think about other kinds of support we can offer while you wait.
If you receive the money in cash, you will still have to wait for your turn in the queue, and we will still try to arrange to meet you at a time convenient to you and us.
Once you receive a grant, please don’t email to ask for another until we send out an announcement about the google form opening again. You can email us about other support at any time.
We don’t know exactly how long it will take to reach the end of the queue, but anticipate that it could be three months before the google form is opened again.
If you’re reading this as someone who can donate to the Solidarity Fund – now would be an amazing time to do that!
What we ask:
Please do not make more than one application! Any repeated applications will be removed from the queue.
Please be considerate of each other! If you apply using more than one email address, please remember that you are being unfair to other people who need this money as well. If everyone in your family or household applies, that makes it harder for other people to receive grants.
Please be patient with us! We are volunteering our time, we aren’t the state or a charity, and we are not paid for anything we do as Lambeth Mutual Aid. We believe in solidarity against injustice and unfairness. We enjoy working together to create conditions of care.
If you can translate this into another language, please do! That would help a lot of people!
Other helpful information:
During December the lovely people at Old Spike Coffee will be giving the Solidarity Fund £1 for every bag of coffee sold of their Christmas roast! This should mean more money coming in so that we can process more applications and reach the end of the queue more quickly.
While we try out this new way of sharing the fund, we will also think about new ideas for fundraising. Please let us know if you have ideas or can help with this!
We are also making new leaflets about Lambeth Mutual Aid and the Solidarity Fund, to encourage more people to donate. If you can share these out – in public spaces such as at your children’s schools, at local cafes, at doctors’ surgeries and even in people’s letterboxes – please let us know! The more we raise, the faster we will reach the end of the queue, and the faster we can open the google form to start the queue again!
As a mutual aid group, transparency and collectivity feel vital. We will be looking at the impact of these changes over the next few months. If you have any questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you would like to get involved, please do! The more the merrier <3<3<3