This is a storytelling site associated with https://cbmutualaid.co.uk/
A co-working studio in an old newspaper building on the coast. A cinema in a village on the Welsh borders. A mushroom factory in the ashes of a paper mill. A bakery outside a football stadium. A nursery. A farm. A care provider.
These are just some of the locally-rooted businesses around the UK that scrapped plans and pivoted when coronavirus hit the UK in March 2020. While big chains mothballed, a patchwork of small and social enterprises mobilised to get food, medication and mental health support to the most vulnerable.
They did so even as income from events, services, spaces and hospitality vanished. This put huge pressure on organisers to create systems and safety measures, often with no state support.
So they started talking to one another. This website is a collection of conversations from this patchwork quilt of activity, so-named after the African American tradition of radical quilting, in which the makers transformed the material they had available into something beautiful and purposeful.
The peer group featured here gathered in solidarity, to support each other in practical ways, to learn from one another and to grow stronger in the middle of a crisis.
In their work we can see a new system emerging: one in which authorities are taking the lead from grassroots organisations with the trust and the connections to provide better local services. One where businesses glue communities together, rather than sucking them dry for profit. A system the country badly needs as it turns from the pandemic to face the challenges ahead.
This network has been supported by Power to Change. Thanks to Joe Bernardi for letting us use this WordPress theme, Sam Pettit for development and Hazel Sheffield for the interviews. For information on joining the network and many, many more resources, visit cbmutualaid.co.uk