MUTUAL AID GROUPS OFFERING SUPPORT ACROSS COUNTY DURHAM

18th Nov 2020

DCA has been working with Mutual Aid groups during the COVID-19 pandemic from March 2020. These groups have developed from communities coming together to organise support for their more vulnerable residents during the periods of lockdown and local restrictions.

There are currently over one hundred Covid-19 Mutual Aid groups across County Durham. These range from village, town and countywide groups to organisations and community centre groups and include those set up to serve a community of interest.

62% of groups started in March 2020 and 35% were set up in response to Covid-19 by organisations. The national website: https://covidmutualaid.org/ has some of the registered groups organised according to the geographical area but details for most local groups can be found on Locate or through Facebook.

Some of the Mutual Aid groups have now relaunched with the commencement of the second lockdown after a quieter period over the summer when restrictions relaxed. Information has recently been sent out again to residents who may need support to remind them of the groups using leaflets or online adverts.

A lot of the smaller village based groups have been supporting their elderly and vulnerable residents continuously since March 2020 with some of the groups who initially focussed their support around free meals changing this model to a regular low-cost meal which has been requested and supported by residents

Most Mutual Aid groups have seen a recent increase in activity. Some use their local networks to signpost and circulate information but others are still supporting those who must self-isolate or who have had household income affected by furlough/job loss/reduced hours and may not have had previous experience of accessing support services.

Mutual Aid groups in County Durham are currently offering practical support through food parcels, hot meals, distribution of surplus food from supermarkets, shopping, prescription support, activity packs, dog walking and telephone befriending.

People are advised to seek help from friends, family and neighbours where possible, but anyone in need of extra support can find a list of local support groups on the Durham County Council’s  website at: www.durhamlocate.org.uk

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