For most people, MMA stands for Mixed Martial Arts; for me, it stands for Merton Mutual Aid. Merton Mutual Aid is grassroots community network supporting vulnerable Merton residents during the COVID-19 crisis - it is a community of neighbours helping neighbours and therefore, right up my street literally and figuratively.
MMA offers so many different services to the local community, and works really hard to connect people within the community. It encompasses the Dons Local Action Group, which is affiliated with the AFC Wimbledon Foundation; Wimbledon Foodbank; Helpful Engineering UK, which designs, fabricates and delivers PPE for our NHS Heroes; and For the Love of Scrubs, which is not fanpage for the TV show, but a collective of people who can sew scrubs for our NHS heroes.
Another sub-group of MMA has been set up to provide furniture for people in the local area who really need it - we are called the London Furniture Collective. I only found out about it yesterday, through my local council ward's WhatsApp group, but the group is already gaining momentum and is moving quickly to help the local community.
The group of volunteers are managing the following areas:
Logistics (organising rotas and pickups)
Outreach (to contact local organisations for referrals)
Donor contact (organising items for pickup)
Media and Research (using online tools such as Gumtree and Freecyle to get donations)
What I love about it is how eagerly the people signed-up and how incredibly diverse the group is. Men and women from all sorts of backgrounds are involved, and the only thing we all really care about is making sure that our community is looked-after. To be fair, they had a pretty captive audience when they contacted the volunteers' WhatsApp group, but no one is under an obligation to do anything - they do it because they want to, which is super-important when it comes to voluntary work.
If you want to volunteer with Merton Mutual Aid, or indeed have any furniture that you would like to donate - we are taking donations from all over London - click HERE.