ABOUT STONEBRIDGE MUTUAL AID
DEFINITION : Mutual aid is “cooperation for the sake of the common good.”
It’s getting people to come together to meet each other’s needs, recognising that as humans, our survival is dependent on one another
The Stonebridge Mutual Aid (SMA) group was set up prior to the lockdown. Lots of residents joined and were thankful that there was a channel and people they could request assistance from. Asif from SMA initially started the group whilst very ill with symptoms of COVID-19 and was isolated in his home on the St Raphael’s estate, taking guidance from other wards who wanted to assist residents.
Unfortunately, the Imam of our local mosque had passed away peacefully in his sleep, as a victim of COVID-19. Our community was hit very badly with lots of cases within St Raphael’s and even more in the wider Stonebridge and neighbouring wards. It does make one wonder how many more people are there that are alone and have no one to turn to?
The group mobilised and we leafleted households in the ward using key pillars in the community to assist us in identifying those who were vulnerable, elderly and isolated, didn’t have the financial means or those who just needed assistance with shopping and prescription pickup.
We really struggled to attract volunteers as everyone was so scared of coming out due to the massive increase in requests coming in from other wards, residents, Brent CVS, safeguarding teams, age charities, etc. We had been carrying out approx. 30 requests per week, along with running a mini foodbank at the mosque on St Raphael’s supporting residents with food parcels and redistributing surplus within the estate to prevent any wastage, prescription pickups, shopping requests.
It was a real balancing act, but we had lots of support from so many great people and organisations such as the Pakistan Community Centre, Daksha from Community Response Kitchen, Naz’s Halal Kitchen from Ealing Mutual Aid who Collaborated with Annoor masjid, Julia from Harlesden Mutual Aid, Fahim from Sufra, Newman Catholic College and, last but not least, Amir from Barnhill who has been amazingly supportive from the beginning. We have been mentally supporting elderly residents and ensuring they are fit and well as they have no family to turn to, our volunteers call them daily to ensure there are no issues.
Our mini food bank operation supports local residents and we worked collaboratively with all the organisations and resources available to us to ensure we could assist people and that our services were accessible. Together with Harlesden and Stonebridge volunteers, we worked at the Halal Kitchen to deliver over 200 meals per day that were being delivered to many boroughs.