Mutual Aid Groups and community responses to COVID-19
LSE Housing and Communities has a long-standing interest in the role of mutual aid and self-help groups in developing responses to community problems. Since the start of the lockdown, 10 million people have volunteered to help in their communities and thousands of mutual aid groups have been created across the UK.
LSE Housing and Communities are currently carrying out a piece of research exploring these community responses to COVID-19 and are keen to capture the work that is being done.
We want to answer three key research questions:
- What drives the rapid development of voluntary neighbourhood and street 'Mutual Aid' groups, forming to support vulnerable, sick, and elderly "socially isolated" people in the current health emergency?
- What forms of help are more prominent in this emerging movement?
- How can the emergence of neighbourhood support groups help inform the government’s policy development to combat the worst effects of COVID-19?
We are in the process of contacting groups from across the country and carrying out telephone interviews with key organisers, volunteers and the people they are helping. We want to understand what motivates these people to help, how they groups were formed and what practical actions they are taking to help people in the community.
We will also be holding an online knowledge-exchange workshop for mutual aid groups to share their ideas and experiences. The research will help us understand the crucial role of community in the pandemic and what lessons can be learnt going forward.