Mutual Aid groups across Southwark have set up three new ‘solidarity funds’ to support people in financial difficulty – and are receiving a huge number of applications.
The groups are encouraging residents to donate a small proportion of their wages to help their neighbours.
Three funds have been set up so far in Herne Hill, Goose Green and Peckham, covering SE24, SE22 and SE15.
Goose Green was the first to be created, back in June, and since then the initiative has gained ground among those keen to maintain the community spirit found during lockdown.
It is anticipated even more of them will be seeking financial help as the furlough scheme ends.
“Inequality has always existed in the UK, and the scale of it has been further laid bare by COVID-19,” said, Annie, a member of Herne Hill’s solidarity fund.
“We wanted to do something practical and local to help in a small way to address economic inequality in our community and support each other where we can”.
Apart from living in the relevant postcode area there are no eligibility criteria; it is not means tested.
One of the people who receive support from the Goose Green Community – who remains anonymous – described the incredible impact it had on their family.
“The Goose Green Solidarity Fund has for many, including myself, meant the difference between being cut off by a service provider such as gas, being able to eat two meals a day rather than one, or none and being able to feed my brother rather than him going hungry”.
As demand is so high, the organisers are hoping more regular donors will join to help secure the funds’ long-term future.
Due to the volume of applications to the Goose Green fund, it is currently on hold until September when more money is available. So far, around £4,000 has been distributed.
The group has had to reduce the amount and number of donations it can offer in order to keep running due to high demand.
As of mid-August, the Herne Hill group, which had been running for just over a month, had already helped fourteen households in SE24 grants of £50 to pay for essential items and services including household bills.
To donate or request funds, visit: https://opencollective.com/hernehillsolidarityfund, https://opencollective.com/goose-green-solidarity-fund or https://opencollective.com/se15-community-fund/