HENLEY MUTUAL AID
WORKING TOGETHER TO ENSURE NO-ONE IS IN NEED OR MISSED OUT
during the Covid-19 pandemic
Over the past few months Henley Mutual Aid Group has supported thousands of local people with physical requests for help - from shopping to prescription pick ups, regular phone chats, dog walking and more. On top of that, an uncountable number of people have gained emotional and social support via the networks that have been set up and the peace of mind that comes from knowing that whatever might happen, there is someone there to help. The network of support stretches across Henley and has been a truly remarkable show of strength and community spirit.
We operate within a simple structure. At the Centre is a core team of 6 who make the strategic decisions, share best practice and provide tools and resources for safe volunteering. Around this core team are a team of Coordinators - each Coordinator is responsible for a designated area of Henley. They ensure that each street in their area has a named representative with whom anyone who needs help or wishes to help can connect. Volunteers can sign up centrally and we connect them with their Coordinator, equally Coordinators can recruit volunteers directly. Similarly, requests for help can be made centrally as a self referral, or from one of the many agencies we work with locally. A person requiring help can also go directly to their Coordinator or the named representative on their street.
Shortly after setting up, Henley Covid-19 Mutual Aid Group was approached by the local councils and asked to operate as the local Community Hub for Henley. We now work directly with OCC and SODC as well as the local doctors’ surgeries and other local agencies, all of whom send needs requests to the Core Team who then delegate out to Coordinators using an automated process as much as possible.
The success of the group is a true reflection of the unique and very special community that we live in here in Henley on Thames.