A number of Univ students are volunteering with community initiatives, such as Mutual Aid UK and Oxford Together, to help vulnerable people during the coronavirus outbreak in the UK.
We have been organising hot meal deliveries in partnership with local pubs and restaurants. We also do shopping, collect prescriptions, and offer friendly chats if people are a bit lonely – I am from quite a small town so it has been relatively easy to get this up and running as there is a strong sense of community anyway, but like a lot of rural areas we have quite a high proportion of older people who are self-isolating. There is a core team of volunteers working with the town council and local businesses/supermarkets to ensure food deliveries and shopping runs smoothly. I have been coordinating prescription deliveries in particular for our neighbourhood, as well as taking shifts doing shopping runs and manning the helpline.
Hannah Farley (2012, DPhil Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics), Junior Dean
During the vacation, I have been working remotely for Oxford Mutual Aid. The project collects resources in order to help vulnerable people in Oxford during the coronavirus crisis, working to facilitate the sharing of information and other resources throughout the city and wider community. My particular role has been to collect data for the group. It has been rather wide ranging, from collecting data on the opening times of every supermarket in Oxford to compiling a bank of homeschool resources for parents who may be at a loose end while their children’s schools are closed.
This information will then be taken by the IT team, and shared on their website and on their social media pages. It has turned into a rather large project, with the work that I have been doing expanding on a daily basis. This is a testament to the organising group, of mostly Oxford graduate students, who have been working tirelessly to create such a professional support network. Although this isn’t exactly on the frontline, with some time on my hands during the vacation, it is the least that I could do to help support those in need.
Connie Bostock (2018, PPE) has been gathering data for Oxford Mutual Aid.
If you are interested in helping in your area, there is a list of local mutual aid organisations across the UK available online.
Are you involved?
If you are involved in research or frontline work relating to COVID-19 that you would like to bring to the attention of the Univ community worldwide, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published: 22 April 2020