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Communities show they are stronger than ever – Mental Health Awareness Week 2020

Written by Patrick Grier

Today marks the start of Mental Health Awareness Week 2020 and this year’s theme is kindness, a word which strongly resonates with Nextdoor members. 

Looking after ourselves and each other has never been more important than right now. COVID-19 has tried its best to separate us from the ones we love and from living a normal life, but over the last few months, we’ve seen communities across the UK coming together to show that they are stronger than ever. 

In north west London a group of residents living in St John’s Wood were feeling concerned about the elderly, self-isolating and vulnerable who were finding it difficult to get food due to lockdown. So, Emma-Jayne Wright decided to post on Nextdoor to see if anybody would like a home-cooked meal. What happened next snowballed into a wave of kindness across the area and the creation of United Neighbours.

Soon after Emma-Jayne did her first post, she was contacted by two of her neighbours, taking her up on the offer of a home-cooked meal, as well as by others who wanted to help. What started off small; Emma-Jayne making two meals and delivering them herself, quickly grew after Natalia Sloam and Shirit Kedar offered to help with the distribution of the meals and Priya Chandaria joined in with the cooking. United Neighbours now provides a staggering 50-60 meals a day, three days a week. 

With a core team of four and 12 volunteers in total, the self-funded collective utilises Nextdoor to appeal to anyone who is in need of food delivery. However, their kindness doesn’t just stop at the food delivery – the team’s children write messages on the packaging, providing contact information for the team. That way, if anyone they are delivering to would like to talk to someone, all they have to do is pick up the phone.

The momentum built up by United Neighbours has caught the attention of both Camden Council and Age UK, who have since gone on to use their food delivery service for residents in their care. The team are looking to expand their efforts and have set up a go-fund-me if you would like to donate: https://www.gofundme.com/f/united-neighbours

This year, Nextdoor is delighted to announce that we are supporting the Mental Health Collective and their #KindnessByPost campaign. The #KindnessByPost initiative enables members of the public to sign up for free to send a card or letter with a message of encouragement to someone else in the UK, and have someone allocated to send a card or letter to them.  Matching is random: Everyone is equally likely to receive a card or letter. To take part, sign up here https://www.kindnessbypost.org/

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