Amid the chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic, perhaps the most uplifting phenomenon has been the emergence of a network of Mutual Aid Groups covering the length and breadth of the country. These groups are neighbourhood-level efforts to support vulnerable people and sustain the social fabric of communities, and we are conducting interviews with people involved in the movement.
In the context of the UK’s growing community power movement, these groups offer a chance to see how organic community initiatives work in practice. Indeed, the fact that we are seeing the emergence of different groups in different areas all working towards the same goal creates a near-unique opportunity to track the conditions that lead to the emergence of community-led initiatives, and to identify the factors that matter most to their longer-term prospects. The context of the pandemic also ensures that we will be able to learn about the limits of community power, and about how it interacts with state power in times of crisis. It is vital that we seize this opportunity to learn.
For more information, please contact the project’s lead researchers: firstname.lastname@example.org.