“People have said there is a grassroots community business movement before, but I’ve never felt it before this moment.

“The most powerful thing about this mutual aid network is that it’s the beginning of a proper movement rather than the attempts to make a movement that have happened before. [tweet this]

“To really make change happen, and to fulfil the potential of that movement, we need councils to get the obstacles out the way. Councils have had their funding reduced so much that they can do far less than they did. For councils to start seeing themselves that role could be a really powerful narrative. 

“In this patchwork, we are all so used to taking adaptive, slotting-together, slightly-muddled, we’ll-get-it-to-work approaches. That works, if you’ve got the tenacity for it. But it’s a response to a system which is built for something else. It’s us trying to find a way around rather than saying: what is the economic system we need to achieve what we want to achieve? Is it still patchwork? Quite possibly it is – but imagine if the system at the macro level was designed for it. How can we get the patchwork and the system to fit together?”

Jess Prendergrast is co-founder of the Onion Collective, a community business building an arts centre on a quayside and a mushroom biomanufacturing plant in an derelict paper mill in Watchet, West Somerset.