London is stepping up to the crisis. There are tons of new initiatives aimed at helping the city’s most vulnerable at this challenging time. Some are there to assist you; some need your assistance. We’re keeping track of them, and want to hear from you if you can offer your time, money or services, or need volunteers, donations or whatever else. At the bottom is a round-up of local support groups. To get your initiative or group added to this page, email us at email@example.com. We know that the situation is changing constantly, so details may have updated since posting. Thanks, London!
We also have a Facebook Noticeboard so you can let other Londoners know what you’re up to and what you need.
See a list of London Covid-19 mutual aid groups by area.
Londonwide and online
NHS staff can get free rides from the cab company, which has raised nearly £125,000 in its Donate a Ride campaign. Sign up via its website.
Artist Support Pledge
With London’s creatives feeling the pinch too, as galleries, colleges and workshops are closed, artist Matthew Burrows has set up the #artsistsupportpledge. The initiative is a kind of mutual help scheme: artists post work they are selling on Instagram, all for under £200. When their sales hit £1,000, they commit to buying another artist’s work for £200. You’re stuck indoors: look at something decent. More details at www.matthewburrows.org.
Beauty Bank is a grassroots movement tackling hygiene poverty by supplying people who can’t afford to stockpile essentials. It has created a GoFundMe page where your donations go towards buying soap, handwash, body wash, hand sanitiser and laundry detergent. These will be distributed via food banks, homeless shelters, domestic abuse refuges, youth centres, NHS trusts and refugee centres across the country.
The bike hire company is offering a free two-month membership for NHS workers to help them get about and stay fit. Find details here.
Bike Project tutorials
The Bike Project is offering Dr Bike virtual bike maintenance sessions with one of its pro mechanics to help with basic repair and maintenance, such as fixing a puncture, putting air in tyres etc. There are also complimentary online sessions for all NHS staff. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with a picture of your NHS staff ID to get a voucher code for a free session.
A new free online service allows vulnerable people needing assistance to connect with volunteers local to them. The person requiring help posts a description of what they need on the site, and then volunteers local to them can connect via email. Find it here.
The programme that helps get homeless people trained as baristas and into jobs is now making coffee for frontline NHS staff. It’s crowdfunding to enable it to continue doing both bits of good work throughout the crisis.
This charity collects surplus food from the food industry including restaurants, grocers, manufacturers, wholesalers, hotels and caterers. They are looking for donations on Go Fund Me to pay staff and volunteers to help pack food. Details on their website.
The Co 19 Project
London artist Victoria Helena is creating an online archive of stories, artefacts, images and more from the crisis. You don’t have to be an artist or writer to collaborate. Helena refers to her work as ‘apocalyptic expressionism’ if you need some kind of starting point. Co 19 Project site.
Corona Care Challenge
CCC is seeking funding to help deliver food and care packages to the elderly and vulnerable in isolation, and take meals to frontline NHS staff. Since launching last week, it has raised £30,000. Help them at www.gofundme.com. It also wants to hear from you if you need help. Email email@example.com.
Create to Connect
Start using all that untapped artistic potential with 64 Million Artists’ daily creative challenges. Previous ones have seen 98 percent of participants saying it had a positive effect on their mental wellbeing, and it’s got to be good for our collective self-esteem to have something to show after months of skulking indoors. Sign up at www.64millionartists.com.
The doughnut dons are now also delivering artisan boxes of fresh fruit and vegetables, fresh bread, fridge essentials and doughnuts (vegan option available). Boxes are available now from £39.95 including delivery across London. Details here.
Digital Wonder Emporium
DWE offers everything from astrology to getting your portrait painted, plus lessons for kids and fun online experiences, like ‘Tea with a Princess’ and something involving pirates. It also caters for groups, so get in touch if you’re going a bit nuts collectively. www.digitalwonderemporium.com
Donate a Dinner
Chef Jimmy Garcia’s #DonateADinner provides food for key workers and the elderly and helps keep chefs cooking (at a good distance and no more than two or three per shift). It is partnering with Age UK Wandsworth to help distribute in that borough and have raised enough so far to rustle up 1,800 meals which should keep all those that need them the most in that area, well-fed for the next 10 days as well as starting to drop off at St Thomas’s Hospital. Donate here.
The food redistribution charity is not-surprisingly facing unprecedented demand. Across London and the UK, FareShare provides nearly 1 million meals a week to 11,000 frontline charities and community groups, including those dealing with homelessness, mental health issues, domestic violence, loneliness and deprived families. It’s looking for donations and volunteers. More details on its website.
The Felix Project
The Felix Project is London’s largest food redistribution charity, rescuing surplus food from wholesalers, restaurants and supermarkets, and delivering it to food banks, charities and schools. Now it’s delivering food to grassroots organisations, as well as hospitals and London’s emergency food hubs (as part of the London Food Alliance). It’s now shifting three to four times more food than normal (30-40 tonnes compared with ten tonnes, which equates to 66,000 meals a day, or half a million meals a week). It’s also partnering with some famous restaurants to recreate their dishes for NHS staff and the homeless and isolated, such as the Ivy’s shepherd’s pie. Help fund its work.
Food banks have become a lifeline for many, but they’re more vital now than ever. Food banks across London – including ones in Lewisham, Hackney and Hammersmith & Fulham – have put out calls for donations of food and money. Many are also looking for warehouse volunteers as people call in sick. The Trussell Trust has a brilliant online map where you can locate your nearest food bank (there are 74 in London). Or put some tins (if you can find any un-stockpiled ones) in the collection point at your local supermarket.
These contract caterers are turning over their 20,000 sq ft kitchens to providing meals for some of London’s most vulnerable and isolated people. They have a fundraiser to help them achieve this here.
Forgo My Refund
As event organisers suffer under unbelievable pressure, this initiative is inviting people who’ve paid for a show that has subsequently been cancelled to – you know – not ask for their money back, as a way of helping businesses survive. Come on, you’ve spent it anyway and you only went cos your partner was into it. They need it more than you now. www.forgomyrefund.org
Free DAB radios for the over-seventies from the BBC
The BBC has teamed up with electrical retailers and a charity to give away thousands of digital radios to vulnerable and isolated over-seventies. Recipients can be nominated at www.wavelength/radiohero from Monday March 30 More details at bbc.co.uk/makeadifference.
Front Liners Mess Hall
The people behind ace eateries Primeur, Westerns Laundry, Jolene, Fitzroy and North Street Kitchen have diverted their culinary skills into making meals for frontline staff and vulnerable groups, and have started a fundraiser to make this happen. Donate here.
Fuel the Fight
Fuel the Fight partners with struggling local restaurants to provide hospitals with cooked meals, purchased at full retail price. They use 100 percent of the donations from their GoFundMe platform to buy meals from restaurants who then deliver their goods to NHS staff. They are currently feeding up to 100 NHS workers per delivery from as many different restaurants as possible, including Pastificio Al Dente and Crudo Cevicheria.
This group of volunteers came together in March with the aim of providing meals for NHS frontline staff. They’ve already delivered several thousand meals to 15 NHS trusts across the capital, and have now diversified into supplying meals to homeless shelters and food banks, having identified that the need there is often more acute than in hospitals. To donate or volunteer, visit www.furloughedfoodies.co.uk.
The Great Create
The Prince’s Trust is teaming up with the actual Fearne Cotton to encourage people stuck at home to make stuff, ‘Blue Peter’-style, using everyday household items. Register on the site and you can download inspirational packs. It’s also a fundraising initiative to support young people’s mental wellbeing.
Hands on London
The charity, which organises among other things the annual Wrap Up London coat collection, has been collating citywide initiatives and resources to help target support and areas of need. There’s a great Response page on their site which is regularly updated. www.handsonlondon.org.uk
Invaluable (for you and them) directory of more than 400 small and independent small London businesses who are manfully struggling to keep going through the crisis. Includes details of continuing serves such as takeaways and deliveries, as well as a list of local foodbanks that are still operating and a chance to register to volunteer. www.helplondon.co.uk
Here to Help London
This collaborative service has been set up to assist the community and key workers during the crisis. It can offer assistance with accommodation, food and other essentials. Email them on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 3972 1717. More details of their services at http://heretohelplondon.com.
Hospitality Workers Emergency Fund
Tipjar has set this up to help London hospitality staff losing zero-hour contracts and struggling to pay rent and bills, and to feed themselves or their families. All donations go to Hospitality Action to distribute. Fundraise Packs are available to download. More information on Tipjar.
Keep the Wheels Turning
KERB has shut all its markets, but it has come up with a raft of support initiatives for its traders, including vouchers for street food, practical survival guides for businesses and catering opportunities. More info here.
The UK’s largest on-demand laundry and dry cleaning service is offering a 30% discount for all NHS staff. Staff must simply schedule their laundry or dry cleaning collection using their NHS work email address, or contact the customer support team. It is also offering a ‘pay it forward’ initiative which allows users to book for a neighbour or loved one to have their laundry or dry cleaning collected and processed. There is also a high-temperature wash option, particularly useful to those coming out of isolation whose bedding and clothing may require a deep clean. Details here.
Local Support Vouchers
The brilliant LSV scheme is a simple way for people to buy vouchers that they can spend at a treasured local business once lockdown is lifted. If the business is not part of the scheme, you can nominate them. You can also buy vouchers as a present, or gift them to NHS staff. Win-win-win! Find it here.
The cake supremos have extended their delivery range to include fresh fruit-and-veg boxes. www.lolascupcakes.co.uk
London Restaurant Cooperative
This new scheme from Le Bab gives work to chefs and waiters who are now out of work. They get access to Le Bab’s facilities, prep two dishes daily and a waiter brings ’em round yours. Staff keep the profits and any unsold food. You can also use it to donate meals to NHS staff and homeless shelters. Details here.
Meals for the NHS
Some frontline staff are reportedly having to rely on vending machines to get a bite to eat in hospitals. Keep our beloved health service healthy and donate to provide key medical workers with decent grub. TheyÆre aiming for £250,000, and have already managed nearly £100k. Details at www.mealsforthenhs.com.
National Care Force
In response severe social care staff shortages, a new National Care Force (NCF) has been unveiled, to help care providers in London fill staff gaps with volunteers. Despite only launching at the end of March, 20,000 people have pledged to provide help with cooking, driving and clinical care in care homes across the UK, including those in London. NCF has a goal of 100,000 volunteers during the crisis.
This scheme hooks up key frontline staff who need accommodation with individuals and companies willing to provide it. On the site, you can fill in a form outlining your need, or one offering space in your home. Companies including luxury travel brand onefinestay have also signed up to make their properties available.
Nihal Shah furniture
London’s bespoke makers have taken a massive hit, with markets and workshops being closed across the city. All that time at home should reveal where your gaff needs a spruce-up, then hit up furniture maker Nihal Shah to sort it out. www.nihalshah.com
‘Ethical hedonists’ Pinky Promise are offering a month of free online workshops around intimacy, sexuality and relationships, in case you’re running out of inspiration as well as loo roll.
A Plate for London
Supporting children who relied on free school meals, people who have lost their jobs and other vulnerable groups, A Plate for London is focusing on and fundraising for hungry Londoners. In partnerships with local councils, it’s feeding thousands of children a week. It plans on feeding 10,000 children in Tower Hamlets alone and also send food parcels to local community charities like Compliments of the House in Brixton. www.aplateforlondon.org
Queer Margins podcast
Rarely heard LGBTQ+ voices from around the city are promised on this podcast. It’s a community which could suffer enormously during the next few weeks and months, so lend it an ear. Find it on Spotify.
Save My Local
www.savemylocal.org is a free, non-profit platform created by a group of tech volunteers to help local businesses generate essential cashflow by selling vouchers for future purchases to their loyal customers.
So & So Arts Club
So & So Arts Club is helping performers whose productions have closed to be able to stream performances online (from early April). Contact them via their site.
The electrical vehicle charging network is offering free power to police and NHS staff. Staff who don’t have a Source subscription can get a six-month one for free if they apply in the next three months. Email email@example.com.
This free initiative supports charities and community groups by helping them to find volunteers, matching volunteers to tasks. Volunteers get the chance to work with charities across London, choosing which organisations to work with and how often. Some of the organisations it’s working with are Magic Breakfast, to help them deliver free breakfasts to families, OneStonegrove, to pack and deliver meals for vulnerable people, and the Arc Centre to pack and sort food donations for their food bank. More details at www.spare-hand.org.
Find ways you can volunteer in the capital via the official government website.
The skincare brand is donating care packages to NHS staff. Nominate a recipient using its online form.
Virtual Pints is an initiative that’s aiming to raise £5,000 to support small pubs and music venues at financial risk. Visit the Virtual Pints Crowdfund page, where you can get a virtual beer (or cider if you’re being awkward) for £3.50, a cocktail for £5, or be ‘sound’ and get a round in for £20 (there’s even a £2 cream soda for teetotalers). Fifty percent is going to the Music Venues Trust, with the other half being distributed to small venues that are at risk of closure.
London chef Ayesha Pakravan, 26, launched Vital Meals in March to feed vulnerable people in London. It’s since cooked and delivered 600 meals, and now offers them to anyone in need including NHS staff, key workers, children unable to access a cooked meal due to school closures, people on low incomes, homeless shelters and more. If you get food parcels but aren’t a very confident chef, Vital Meals also offers to collect them, transform them into freezable meals and deliver them back, all contact-free. Donate to Vital Meals.
Wild at Heart Foundation art edit
The canine charity has been hit by the crisis, but has reached out to artists across the world to donate works (mainly dog-focused, to be honest) which they are selling online. One hundred percent of money raised goes to the charity, which helps rescue and rehome dogs. Details here.
Your Local Delivered
Search thousands of businesses across the UK to find ones near you that are still delivering food, booze and other stuff. www.yourlocaldelivered.co.uk
Free (posh) school meals
Qoot Restaurant Group (By Chloe, Dominique Ansel Bakery) is offering complimentary lunchboxes to kids who qualify for free school meals. Pick them up from any of the group’s outlets. Details here.
Local Small Businesses
Fitzrovia’s Crudo Cervicheria has set up an initiative hopefully replicated across London, whereby customers can buy vouchers for bars and restaurants that are closed, to be redeemed when they reopen in the future. Get a round of drinks in the pub, dinner, or even a haircut. They’re also looking for businesses to take part, and are campaigning for delivery companies to lower their commission rates right now. www.localsmallbusinesses.co.uk
Wonders of London video tours
Tour guides are also really suffering right now with social distancing. Wonders of London has some great mini-tours on its Facebook page. You know, in case you’re really missing that roundabout/flowerbed/statue thing outside Buckingham Palace.
Meals from Nice Green Café
The family-run Enfield café is delivering grub to older and vulnerable people who are self-isolating. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Hampstead Garden Suburb virtual museum
Weird posh north London enclave HGS is well worth a wander round. Oh, but you can’t. So luckily there’s this virtual museum dedicated to it and, tbh, the effect isn’t much odder than the reality. Find it here.
Sugar Tea Room
Don’t forget during this corona business that we are Londoners and therefore have a divine right to constant tea. Luckily, if you live northside, Sugar mobile tea room can come round with char, cake and finger sandwiches, preserving our way of life. www.sugartearoom.co.uk
Deen City Farm
The much-loved city farm in Merton is fundraising to ensure its future. Its been open for 40 years and has brought a taste of the countryside to hundreds of thousands of local kids over that time. Help them stay open for another 40 years here.
The Swedish homewares behemoth has opened its food market in its Croydon branch to help keyworkers and police get access to basic supplies during the crisis. In addition to store cupboard essentials like meatballs, LP-sized Ryvita and addictive sour rhubarb jellies it will stock bread, milk and tinned tomatoes. NB: the wider public are not admitted, apart from the elderly/vulnerable and their carers.
Lewisham: A Coordinated Community Response
Dedicated hub for the south London borough. Details here.
South London Cares
The initiative that brings older and younger people together has had to change its approach (obvs), and is running a matched crowdfunder to keep its essential work going at a moment of mass social isolation and loneliness. Donate here.
The floating restaurant is Crowdfunding to keep afloa… to keep going and retain staff jobs. If you’re a fan, chip in here.
Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park
FoTHCP have set up an emergency fundraising appeal to help them survive the current crisis. In case you’re wondering what possible effect a pandemic could have on a cemetery (apart from the obvious), the park has suffered massively with cancelled events and company volunteering days. Help them out if you can, and look forward to palmy days of park visiting once again. Donate here.
Made in Hackney
The plant-based community cooking school has pivoted from filling up clued-up foodies to delivering meals to some of the borough’s most isolated and vulnerable residents. To achieve this, they’ve set up a crowdfunder, which is impressively on its way to hitting its £50k target (and creating a whole new raft of discriminating customers).
Yard Sale Pizza
Yard Sale is doing discounts for NHS key staff: 50 percent off for collections, 25 percent off for delivery. It’s also donating pizzas to east London hospitals (Homerton, Whipps Cross and Royal London) and it has a current collab with Jessie Ware. www.yardsalepizza.com
Surbiton Community Coronavirus Response Group
SCCRG has more than a hundred volunteers to help elderly and vulnerable residents of the leafy ’hood. Contact them on 020 3868 2626 or via their FB page.
Places offering NHS staff discounts
Berber & Q
The schwarma kings are crowdfunding to donate meals to NHS staff across London. Worth it just to see doctors and nurses scarfing kebabs. Donate here.
Exmouth Market Grind: Free takeaway coffee.
Greenwich Grind: Free takeaway coffee.
Paul Bakery: Free takeaway hot drink.
Pret: Free takeaway hot drink.
Shoreditch Grind: Free takeaway coffee.
SweetChick (Fitzrovia): 40 percent off.
Uncle Johns: Free loaf per NHS worker
Upper House, Islington: 50 percent off.
White Mulberries Coffee Shop, St Katharine Docks: 50 percent off.
Yard Sale: 50 percent off (collection), 25 percent off (delivery)