Posted on: 21 April 2020

A CNWL Peer Support Worker for the Bloomsbury Clinic, Shamal Waraich has written about mutual aid during the Covid crisis.

Shamal, who has been a peer support worker at the Bloomsbury Clinic for the past nine months , wrote the article for as a reflection for the mutual aid groups.

In the piece he describes how he has been following mutual aid groups in his local ward – in Waltham Forest- for a few weeks since the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic.

He said: “I’ve seen just about every kind of request, with neighbours coming out like an army of community connectors, to help the vulnerable, the isolated and the distanced. From collecting prescriptions, to shopping deliveries to sharing the odd tip and advice, neighbours respond to requests almost instantly.”

He described how over the Easter weekend one woman asked his local Mutual Aid group for help that for Shamal brought home the reasons behind such groups.

The woman, who explained she was struggling mentally during the pandemic,  reached out for help via WhatsApp asking for help in putting a fence panel back up so she could have her garden as a safe space during the Covid crisis, but that she didn’t have much money to fix it. She explained the fence had been an issue causing her stress since 2016.

Within minutes members of the group rallied around, offering practical advice and tips. A couple of hours later a member of the WhatsApp group had temporarily fixed the fence.

Shamal says: “I hope when the Covid-19 crisis is over, we continue giving Mutual Aid to our neighbours and communities. A simple thing like fixing a fence brought us all so much closer as we physically distance.

“No request small or large is worth suffering in silence or alone so please reach out; talk amongst your Mutual Aid groups; get to know your neighbours while we remain in isolation. There will come a day when we will meet, celebrate and look back at Covid-19 isolation and distancing as the moment it brought us all closer together.”