People Across UK Setting Up 'Mutual Aid' Networks To Help The Old and Vulnerable
As self-isolation engulfs the country amid coronavirus, people are taking unprecedented measures to ensure they and their families are prepared for what could be weeks spent indoors.
This weekend, it would have been an all too familiar sight to see your local haunts eerily quiet and supermarket shelves swept clean. In times of unease, it can be all too easy get caught up and only think of number one.
But in much-needed positive news, hundreds of help groups are now popping up across the UK to help the most vulnerable during self-isolation.
There groups are being called 'mutual aid', and they see thousands of volunteers offering up practical help for the elderly and less capable in isolation, such as picking up their shopping, posting mail, or even simply being available for a friendly phone call.
On Saturday (14th March), the Guardian reported 87 groups had been formed across the UK, but the number has since shot up to 585 mutual aid groups as of Monday (16th). Volunteers are creating WhatsApp and Facebook groups to organise their efforts.
Anyone got a warm and fuzzy feeling right now?
These groups are off the back of a #viralkindness campaign set up by Becky Wass, a Cornwall-based lecturer.
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Becky, feeling helpless watching the news, decided to create a leaflet which read "Hello! If you are self-isolating, I can help", which she posted to her elderly neighbours.
"Just call or text me and I'll do my best to help you (for free!)" it said, outlining the services she offered (picking up shopping, posting mail, a friendly phone call, urgent supplies) alongside a tick-box.
The post has since been liked and shared thousands of times, while a Becky also included a printable PDF for others to use, too. Since, thousands of others have been joining Beck's efforts.
For information on where to find a mutual aid group in your area, or indeed, how to set one up for your own community, visit Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK.
Anna Vickerstaff, one of the coordinators of the national Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK network, told the Guardian: "No matter what we look like, where we live, or how much money we have, getting sick reminds us that at our core we're all just human.
"And in every country it's the old, the sick and those already struggling who will be affected worse. That's why we set this network up - because we want to make sure that no one in our communities is being left to face this crisis alone, and because we want to try and redress some of the serious inequalities this outbreak will expose."
On Thursday (12th March), Boris Johnson announced the UK was now entering the 'delay' phase of its four-fold plan to tackle the virus, which has officially been classed a pandemic by the World Health Organisation.
This means the government is now introducing social restriction measures to slow the spread of the virus, such as staying in for seven days if you have a persistent cough, and advising elderly people to avoid cruise ships.
As of this morning, there are a reported 171,112 cases of Covid-19 worldwide, including 1,391 UK cases.
Featured Image Credit: Pexels
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