When COVID-19 lockdown restrictions came into force in March 2020, communities across the country came together to support each other.
This research aims to explore why – and how – people volunteered and mobilised to tackle food insecurity during the pandemic.
Funded by the Catherine Cookson Foundation, and in partnership with Fulfilling Lives Newcastle Gateshead (FLNG), the objectives of this project are to:
1. Examine why people volunteered to be part of mutual aid groups during the pandemic
2. Explore how communities in North East England have mobilised to tackle food insecurity
3. Interrogate whether (and how) community aid activities are gendered, both in terms of provision and receipt of community aid / food parcels
4. Work in partnership with FLNG and organisers of several mutual aid groups to co-produce a research question and application for further funding.
To do so, we will: (1) conduct serial monthly workshops (four in total) with 6-8 peer researchers from the FLNG Experts by Experience (EbE) Peer Research Network, supporting EbEs to collect their own data on food insecurity within their own social networks; (2) carry out interviews with local organisers of mutual aid networks and groups; (3) map a small sample of local mutual aid groups by reviewing their website and social media sites to explore what they offer as well as what people request.
The project is being led by Dr Steph Scott, Research Fellow