Joining forces with Mutual Aid

Stuck at Home? You’re not alone.

Welcome to our shiny new Hanover and Elm Grove ‘Fighting Covid-19 together’ website designed for you to Get Help, Give Help and Get Advice for yourself and your neighbours so we, as a community, can get through this crisis together.

This is our ward’s response to a situation none of us have experienced before: the need to curtail face-to-face social activity with everyone except those we live with. We accept that this is necessary to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus, and to keep everyone safe, in particular the most vulnerable.

But staying home is testing for all of us, some more than others. We want to make sure those living in our community can adhere to the current lockdown measures while staying as healthy as possible – both physically and mentally. And if someone does need help with something or become ill, we want them to get the support they need quickly. 

Things are changing by the day with new needs and initiatives popping up, so we will be playing catch-up and adding updates to the website as fast as we can. We’ve pulled together information from a range of resources in our Get Advice page and we hope you will find useful and some resources are still ‘works in progress’. For example, I’m putting together a list of local shops and businesses, particularly those that can deliver, and I haven’t got too far with that yet – see our Food page for more information.

Please contact me at Elaine.Hills@brighton-hove.gov.uk if you fancy pitching in with that!  

Working together

The crisis has brought together two groups: the Hanover and Elm Grove Communities Forum (HEG) and the newly formed Elm Grove and Hanover Mutual Aid and Support Group. Members of both groups have been working together in recent weeks to work out how we can ensure all our residents’ needs are best met during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Hanover and Elm Grove Communities Forum formed in 2018 brings together local community groups, charities and residents with the aim of improving our neighbourhood and finding positive ways we can help each other to benefit all.

The Elm Grove and Hanover Mutual Aid and Support Group was started by Kaye Tilbury as a community response to the Covid-19 crisis. Today it has 860+ members and is growing every day. Kaye was joined by Sumitra Sri Bhashyam, Róisín O’Connor-Laurence, Mandy Kerr and Annette Breslow with a goal to help the community and connect people with others in their street and area via a ward-wide Facebook and WhatsApp groups. Anyone in the ward can access their street’s group through this website, and most streets have groups now. One of the most amazing things about this is the way in which neighbours are communicating much more and becoming friends.

We’re very lucky to have Nancy Maher who joined Mutual Aid and teamed up with Sumitra Sri Bhashyam to create a simple, easy-to-use website for accessing information, with some input and whimsical ideas from Simon Bannister and me. We cannot thank the Mutual Aid Team enough for all the time they spent creating such a clear, user-friendly resource in such a short space of time. But because of the fast turnaround you may run into glitches or have suggestions to improve or want to contribute. If so then contact me at Elaine.Hills@brighton-hove.gov.uk

We’re almost a week into lockdown now and I’m overwhelmed by the way in which the people in our community have come together to help each other in this crisis. Ironically, while social distancing might not be the conventional way to meet people, it is doing a brilliant job of bringing us together as a community.

Very best wishes,

Elaine Hills

Ward Councillor, Hanover and Elm Grove

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