JANE NICHOLL reports from South Norwood where covid-19 mutual aid groups have found a way for a daily break from the isolation, and to helpfully check on the neighbours
It’s a little bit like Network, the 1976 Peter Finch dystopian movie, but seems to have nothing but the best of intentions.
There’s a national call for us all, in the middle of the coronavirus lockdown, to go to our windows at 8pm tonight, open them up and for a minute or so give some warm applause to show our support for the NHS and other emergency services staff. In the weeks, or months, to come, it could become a “thing”.
In one corner of South Norwood, the community has already been finding ways of coming together, though without, of course, breaking the two-metre exclusion zone rules.
As we are now needing to find ways to alleviate our feelings of isolation during self-isolation, communities are becoming imaginative in their ways of dealing with this global crisis.
Covid-19 Mutual Aid support groups have formed across the borough. The Norwood Junction one has split into several smaller groups of streets, each with their own WhatsApp groups.
One, the Alfred Road-Runners (formed of three streets) decided to have a daily call-out at midday, where everyone should open their front doors and wave, shout, have a (distanced laugh) with a neighbour – either opposite them or next door.
The aim is to alleviate the sense of self-isolation and help make people feel that they are not on their own in these extraordinary times. And, most importantly, to check on anyone who might need support.
Every house in the area group was leafleted and yesterday saw the first “Wave To Your Neighbour” exercise.
On the dot of noon, residents came to their front doors, opened windows to wave and shout “Hello”, while one upstairs window blared out The Specials, which seemed fitting for such a sunny day.
Shouts of “You alright?”, and “Yeah. You alright?”, or “All ok?” and “Yeah you” echoed up and down the street.
As one of those involved in organising the “Wave To Your Neighbour” event said, “We all have nothing to lose, and if we maintain the social distancing rules, we can get a sense of who among our neighbours might need a bit of help.”
Click here for a link to a Google document with many of the WhatsApp and Facebook groups and residents’ associations around the borough who have mobilised in efforts to help neighbours in need.
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South Norwood, working class unity again,