Thousands of Southwark residents volunteer to help their neighbours during coronavirus crisis

Josh Salisbury (18 March, 2020) Health

Groups for each council ward have been set up for residents to offer help with shopping or errands

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Thousands of residents from all over Southwark have volunteered to help their neighbours during the coronavirus outbreak.

Groups for each council ward have been set up for residents to offer help with shopping or errands to those most in need, particularly those in isolation.

The outpouring of generosity has culminated in an array of groups, forums and messaging groups covering every corner of the borough.

‘Nunhead Knocks!’ is an off-shoot of the Facebook group Nunhead Rocks! which is matching up residents with the skills to help with at-risk residents in those wards.

A dedicated website, created within just days of the initiative launching on Friday, matches volunteers with those needing help as they isolate – whether it is with food deliveries, walking their pets or a daily call to check-in.

LIVE UPDATES: Coronavirus in Southwark rolling blog – read here for all the latest updates throughout the day

“We’ve got a pool of around six hundred volunteers, which is incredible really,” said Claire Sheppard, (pictured), who runs the Nunhead Rocks! group on social media.

“We’re covering Peckham Rye, Queen’s Road Peckham and Nunhead, but we’re getting people from all over the country, we’ve had some people from the north as well.

“It’s got so big, but we’ve got a really good system in place so that people in those areas can reach out to us and we hope that they do.”

Claire Sheppard (pictured)

The group is leafleting five thousand flyers across the wards this week, so that everyone is aware of who to contact if they need help.

The council is also now trying to co-ordinate efforts among these many volunteering groups through a single point of contact on the council website.

This can be found by searching ‘Covid-19: What can you do to help’ on the council website, with links to outreach efforts across the borough.

A dedicated phone number is due to also be published, but had not been made public at the time of going to press. Those with a specific concern about a vulnerable resident over coronavirus are being asked to email covidsupport@southwark.gov.uk.

‘Southwark Mutual Aid Covid 19’ is among nine hundred mutual aid groups across the country aiming to support residents in their time of need.

WhatsApp messaging groups have been organised for postcodes spreading from SE1 to SE22.

“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,” said Anna Vickerstaff, one of the co-ordinators of the national network.

“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.”


Southwark Council has established a website with links to each individual group established over the coronavirus crisis. It can be found here.

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