UK Mutual Aid conducted a survey aimed at support users and providers. It set out how UK Mutual Aid is here to support the local community through our 1,800 volunteers, to empower grassroots groups and communities to better organise, plan and coordinate through technology. We have acknowledged that our community’s needs will change over the months ahead. Because we wanted to know what our local community wanted, we asked people to fill out a survey to help us better understand the needs and ensure we can deliver relevant and practical support.
It should be noted that 95% of the 20 responses given in the week ending 27th June 2020 were from support providers.
Mentioned by six people, mental health, health, illness and emotional support were top of the list in terms of concerns for the community in the immediate and long term. This was closely followed by issues of unemployment and people losing their jobs, mentioned by four people. Concerns about financial support, economic hardship and poverty were also mentioned by four people. Loneliness, isolation, social disconnect with the elderly, care and companionship were mentioned by four people.
Two people expressed concern about food access and hunger. One person mentioned each of the following: fear, housing, education, people taking advantage of the system, race, cultural and religious relations, domestic abuse, what our goals are going to be, fewer volunteers but still having people who need help, community cohesion, inequality and deprivation, young people's engagement and protection.
Changes that people want to see were safe social spaces for young people, a more engaged local council and coordination between groups, good collaboration between all organisations, more activities to bond people together, more social events to get lonely people out of the house and help for people home schooling, more local small community initiatives in parks or schools, monitoring the system more, getting the organisers to call the volunteers and see if the users are needed, a more supportive community that can help each other, cohesiveness and multicultural support for all, connection in between charities, individuals, volunteers and local business, social events connecting the people, help getting back to work, help with mental health, more communication, a community centre, a website or notice board for seeking apprenticeships and initiatives and to see which organisations need volunteers, empowerment, jobs, the ability to adapt to where the need is, more people knowing each other and supporting each other and more support network for single people, mixed age activities, coffee groups, tennis and walks.
The roles that respondents saw for themselves in making these changes were being active volunteers and contributors around work commitments, involvement with an organisation, supporting vulnerable people, voluntary work, helping on the ground, expanding service capabilities in various sectors, being dynamic, promoting services when possible, organising and connecting individuals or organisations, signposting, marketing, look at funding streams, food hubs, community organising, job clubs, admin and organiser roles.
Let us know if you have any comments and if this survey summary brings other ideas to mind.