COVID-19 and Mutual Aid

With over 20,000 meals distributed during the first lockdown. ReSpacing is for emergencies.

On the 20th of March 2020 the government of the UK announced that the country would go into “Lockdown” as a response to the new threat posed by Coronavirus. Businesses closed, streets emptied, jobs were lost.


Within days, our Bradbury Street Hub – the ZeroLDN project – which had been preparing to close, switched tack and became a hub for the multitude of mutual aid groups that had sprung up.




ReSpacing has always been a form of mutual aid hub system and during the lockdown we were able to use this new model to provide a vital link in the food chain. Starting with just a hundred or so meals given out for free, the team grew the system and the tech platforms organically until we were distributing upwards of 800 meals per day from the hub and many more durect from supplier to outlet. Linking large scale producers of free meals to community centres, mosques, churches and synagogues plus creating and supporting teams of cycle volunteers to deliver individual meals the system worked and, as lockdown ended was able to pass on it’s resources to groups that wished to continue providing food.

And all this was achieved without any funding, donations (beyond food and time) or council support.

No report can fully explain or enlighten as to the challenges and obstacles these incredible people had to overcome to keep this going but we hope that our brief formative report can show some of the results.

The decision to create a centralised “mutual aid hub” at our Bradbury Street project proved vital in connecting and supporting the many mutual aid groups that sprung up but received little or no support from the council.

Please download the impact report above. Please also note that we were not able to include meals that were delivered direct to groups via our hub. Another estimated 10,000 meals.

In a post-COVID world we can predict radical changes to our everyday way of life. Looming large on the horizon are the spectres of Brexit and climate change.

We are at a crossroads.

An economy in turmoil means higher prices, greater unemployment, more empty buildings, an increase in homelessness, mental and physical health issues, lack of opportunities, more wasted resources and no money to fix the problems.

There’s no going back to normal, but respacing offers the opportunity to experiment and innovate our way out of our troubles. It offers the chance to collaborate and socialise in environments made just for that purpose. We have proved it works – now we need others to help us spread the message of hope.

To offer a glimpse of a better normal.


Special thanks go to Food For All, The Dusty Knuckle Bakery, Streets Kitchen, Edible London, The Castle Climbing Centre, The Round Chapel, E5 Bakehouse, Elizabeth houser and all the amazing volunteers and crew who made it happen.

go to ZeroLDN project