With 1,500 Mutual Aid Groups Set up in a Matter of Days, Will Things Ever Be the Same Again?

Novara Media, March 2020

Amidst a government response to Covid-19 that has lagged behind expert recommendations, a mass mutual aid movement is growing. As people across the country have started to self-isolate, around 1500 local mutual aid groups have been set up in little more than a week to mobilise support for the most vulnerable in communities. Mostly organised on Facebook and WhatsApp, the groups are – with due precaution for public health – delivering leaflets, putting up posters, offering to deliver food, medicines and other necessities, walking dogs, and providing emotional support. 

Chiara Capraro – who lives in Bow in London and has family in Italy, where the pandemic is more advanced – says being part of her local mutual aid group has been a lifeline in recent days. “When I get news from family in Italy it’s like looking three weeks into the future, and it’s scary,” she says. Whilst Capraro finds the idea of self-isolating – with mental health issues, no family in the UK and few friends in her local area – daunting, she says that being part of a community movement has made her “feel grounded and less swept up” as society free falls into acute precarity.

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