Hi, I’m Claire. I admin on a local community group on FB called Nunhead Rocks. On my usual blog I always name them after songs, this seemed apt.
Shortly after my son was born in 2016, I discovered I had cancer and suffered a bereavement. I was scared. However, our Nunhead community - Nunhead Rocks, Women’s Institute, Nunhead Community Choir and our local businesses carried me and my family through those dark days when I was isolated for several months, feeling like it was the end of the world.
The news last Friday reminded me of that feeling of isolation, so I decided to start pulling together a community safety net to help our neighbours facing the same prospect of fear and isolation. Although I know what that’s like and what we needed to get through, I couldn’t have dreamed of the response I received.
Within 24 hours, a core team of Amar, Charlie, Tom and Andy had assembled to try and build a system to match all the offers of help we were getting to those who needed it. By Sunday night, Charlie and Tom had built our website. By Monday we had Heather building out roles and Kate getting our logistics sorted and dozens of people working their socks off to build the best net we can.
As of Thursday night we’d delivered leaflets to over 11,000 homes in our area and we have over 1,100 volunteers ready to help. We have already matched 32 requests with people who can help them.
We have support of local businesses, Mutual Aid groups, experts, charities and tenants groups who we are working with to support our neighbours safely and securely. We have experts to refer people with specialist needs to as well as in areas such as food hygiene, safe delivery of services, pet care and finance.
We’re sharing our system with other neighbourhoods across London and the country because it works, we can match people needing help with those who can give it, hyper-locally, often in their own street, we want to make sure no one is left alone to face this, even in isolation.
I am living, breathing proof that you have untold resilience in the face of obstacles that seem insurmountable, so long as you have a support network in place. And we have a hell of a support network in place now Nunhead, we really do.
But those of us who’ve spent every waking hour on this need your support, your time, your expertise, we need you to help to keep this beautiful safety net in place for the weeks and possibly months to come. We also have our own businesses to keep going and our own families to look after, so if you can help, please do, let us know your area of expertise!
We need help with manning the email accounts and general enquiries, setting up a committee to protect our volunteers, developing resources and blog content to spread reliable information, getting donations and ordering supplies. Email email@example.com if you can help with organising.
And as you may have guessed from the title of the blog, I’m a Liverpool fan, so hey there’s that… but our song feels like it’s all of Our Songs now because YNWA, not on our watch.
When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don't be afraid of the dark
At the end of a storm
There's a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark
Walk on through the wind
Walk on through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown
Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you'll never walk alone
You'll never walk alone
Thank you Nunhead for being the best place in the world to live and looking after each other. And biggest thanks of all to Charlie Watkinson for lending me your hand, and eventually your entire waking existence to do this. You are one of the best people I know and I didn’t know you a week ago, I love you awesome human!
Donate to Nunhead Knocks.
Committee members Claire, Paddy and Charlie look back on their time in the group and how it should be structured in the future.
Residents of Nunhead and Peckham share how lockdown impacted their mental health.