A host of community groups have been created in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak to help the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions who need to self-isolate.  

The Covid-19 mutual aid groups serve as a forum where people can share information, volunteer help, or ask for it if they are in need.  

The groups are about neighbours and community members looking out for each other to help contain the spread of the virus and support those most at risk.  

Help can include offering essential items, picking up groceries, running errands, making calls, or just offering a friendly voice on the phone if people are lonely.  

Mental health nurse Stacy Thomson, who is offering telephone or video calls to anyone struggling in Lambeth, said she has never before seen the level of kindness people are showing during this crisis.  

She said: “It’s really important that we all come together, supporting one another and sharing our skills.  

“Trusting the community and those around you that should you need it, they will be there and they will help you.  

“The altruism that I am seeing is beyond anything I could have ever imagined, it’s unprecedented and I think it will change our lives forever.  

“We are beginning to question what is really important and show a level of kindness I’ve never seen before.  

“But it’s a time of immense anxiety for the many, and a time whereby we as friends, family, and communities need to demonstrate and show compassion.  

“The difference that this will make is incredible, and could make not only a significant difference to someone now, but in the long term too.” 

Online group Covid-19 Mutual Aid has a list of local groups on its website. 

The organisation also warned that while Facebook and WhatsApp are good organising platforms, they might not be the easiest way for vulnerable to find and contact groups.  

Sticking up leaflets with contact and general information around the area and dropping them off at homes can be helpful, with large writing for those who are visually impaired.  

The organisation recommends setting up a group if people wish to help, the smaller and more local the better.  

In Lambeth, the following groups have already been created:  

There is also a Lambeth mutual aid Covid-19 master document available online with a host of resources to help the community amid the outbreak.  

It includes a list of food donation drop-off points in the borough:

Outside Tesco’s on Acre Lane 

St Paul’s Church on Ferndale Road (Saturday mornings) 

Sainsburys on the corner of Brixton Water Lane and Tulse Hill 

Waitrose Balham High Road (behind the checkouts) 

Co-op Tulse Hill ( 178 Norwood Road, SE27 9AU)  

Tesco Extra Streatham ( drop off point- front of store near exits)  

Local food banks are encouraging people to download an app- FOODBANK utilities.

The document includes contact details for The Gaia Centre, which provides services for women and men experience domestic violence in Lambeth. 

“Due to fears that social distancing and isolation of whole families could exacerbate domestic violence, please be extra vigilant and attentive to anything that may be a cause for concern,” it said.  

Contact number: 020 7733 8724 

E-mail: lambethvawg@refuge.org.uk  

The council has offered advice for those thinking of volunteering.  

A spokesperson said: “If you are volunteering to help someone, you should take steps to make sure you don’t contribute to the spread of coronavirus.  

“If you feel at all unwell, do not volunteer to help others who are self-isolating. 

“Wash your hands regularly, especially before and after you deliver any items to a person in isolation 

“If you make a delivery, stay two meters away from the person who is in isolation at all times.  

“Place the items outside their door and then step away. 

“Be careful about how you share personal information about yourself and other people.  

“Avoid sharing your or a vulnerable person’s address and other contact information in public groups or documents. 

“Try to support people who live close to you so you don’t travel larger distances.”