The future of communities

Oxford Hub coordinated the local Oxford Together initiative alongside the city council and other aid groups. It is a volunteer programme to help those in need during the pandemic. They say: "We've had over 5000 sign-ups to get involved, which is fantastic. So far our volunteers have supported over 1000 local people with shopping and collecting prescriptions, made over 1000 phone calls to local people in need of company during the lockdown, and delivered over 800 free food parcels to people in need."

Oxford Hub also initiated a network of local volunteers to become "street champions" and neighbourhood self-organised community support teams. The street champions reached out to their neighbours, connected them through WhatsApp or Facebook groups and helped them to support each other. This initiative is vital to establish a way to communicate with and assist those who lack a local support group and are least likely to plug into technology to get  help.

Many stories came around about people who got to know their neighbours for the first time under these circumstances. Is this the beginning of a new approach to communities and relationships between neighbours? 

Oxford Hub will continue to deliver these support services for as long as they are needed, and will keep building relationships and creating stronger community networks beyond Covid-19.

More about this topic from the Oxford Urbanists:

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