The Feeling's Mutual: 'It's either madness or genius but I'm open to it either way.'

Mutual aid means that we look out for each other: you support me and I support you. In the wake of Covid-19, thousands of new groups have been set up on these principles. But is there a danger of losing the 'mutual'? In a new podcast series – The Feeling's Mutual – Bob, Maff and guests discuss, and offer their potential solutions.

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In the second episode of our new podcast series, co-hosts Bob Thust and Maff Potts are joined by Dr Simon Kaye, Senior Policy Researcher at New Local Government Network, and Pat Fernandes, a Community Financial Inclusion Manager at Advice for Renters. 

Whilst the podcast kicks off with a discussion around the role of institutions, trust and connection soon become the buzzwords with Pat sharing her recent experiences of funding experiments at Brent Council: “What sprang to mind is a community ATM where people could get money on demand. It’s either madness or genius but I’m open to it either way.”

The group agrees that attempting to maintain dignity through anonymity doesn’t always sit comfortably, and relationships can mitigate unhealthy power dynamics.

Simon shared insight from his research: “Everything that’s worked well during this horrible crisis has been the stuff that doesn’t infantilise people. This is a phenomenon that has proven that – in many cases - people can get so much more done than the institutions that would seek to do it on our behalf because we can’t be trusted to do it well”. 

Everything that’s worked well during this horrible crisis has been the stuff that doesn’t infantilise people

Final reflections include the lesson of capturing a butterfly without crushing it’s wings, and reaching out to humanity with humanity – walking alongside people and holding their hands. “Sometimes that might mean carrying them, but ultimately you are walking together.”

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