Oxford Mutual Aid formed in response to the Covid-19 crisis. We are a grassroots community support group and action network. Our team have significant experience working with at-risk communities and have long standing relationships with many other local organisations, including charities, community groups, food banks, schools and businesses.
- Regular food, baby and other essential supplies support to 834 households, comprising of more than 2000 people (over 1% of Oxford’s non-student population)
- Supporting 65 households with new and expectant mothers, supplying them with formula milk, nappies, etc
- Over 216 emergency food parcels a month, going to an average household of at least 2 people
- Ongoing support to 25 households who need help collecting prescriptions, doing shopping, etc
- The Kitchen Collective is providing reheatable meals to 136 households each week
- Over 20,000 food parcels delivered since March 2020
- Over 30,000 meals prepared and delivered since May 2020
Who We Are and What We Do
Oxford Mutual Aid is a community organisation which grew from a network of experienced LGBTQ and trade union organisers, together with members of local community support groups. We work to support our peers and neighbours in Oxford, primarily through the provision of food support.
Founded to respond to the challenges of the pandemic, we have since become a vital part of Oxford’s aid infrastructure. We believe that nobody should face food insecurity, or experience stigma for seeking assistance. We do not implement means testing as it is invasive, expensive, and discourages people from seeking help.
We believe in supporting physical, mental, and emotional health. For this reason we offer nutritious and inviting food parcels that match the preferences, health requirements, and ethical/religious needs of each individual. We also provide baby products, toiletries, Ramadan packages and gifts at Christmas.
Where people don’t have the facilities or capacity to cook, we offer volunteer-prepared meals through our Kitchen Collective programme. As well as providing nutritious meals to those with minimal cooking facilities, the Kitchen Collective has been vital in bringing together organisations from across the city, including colleges, universities and local groups.
Collaboration has always been at the heart of what we do. This is centered upon building systems that source and supply nutritious food to those who need it, reduce food waste, and support local businesses. Through local supply networks, we can increase the food/supply resilience of our community in a time of uncertainty.
We believe in solidarity. Our volunteers come from within the community that we serve. Many of us receive food support from Oxford Mutual Aid, giving us invaluable insight into how our processes work on every level.
We aim to ensure that volunteers and recipients are empowered to see their positive impact in the community, harnessing their abilities in ways that recognise the value of diverse experiences, while being mindful of different capacities.
We try to ensure that the people delivering parcels to each individual remain the same week by week, so that they can develop a rapport. We also contact each of our regular recipients of support each week, with the aim of creating a network that connects our users to each other and their community, reducing the risk of social isolation and the negative health outcomes that it causes.
Oxford Mutual Aid has an Oversight Committee of six, consisting of Carolyn Hicks, Nabila Qureshi, Muireann Meehan Speed, Jess Knight, Shazeaa Ishmael and Marianne Tambini.
We are incorporated as a not-for-profit company, limited by guarantee. Our company number is 12842725.
We are a voluntary organisation, funded by donations and grants. The Social Change Agency acts as our fiscal host, which allows us to accept donations and approve expenses on the Open Collective platform. Unless otherwise specified, we solicit all donations for use as general funds.
Our finances are wholly transparent, and any member of the public can review our expenditure on Open Collective.
What is Mutual Aid?
Mutual Aid is about solidarity, not charity. We aim to create systems which allow our community to work better to support itself. Mutual Aid is about working together to help each other, and lessen the impact of crises such as the pandemic and cuts to local services. Together, we can tackle food poverty, food waste, and isolation, and make our city a better place to live.