We are Cally Community Plan
There’s a lot going on in the Cally, including through the council’s We are Cally project. The council has been listening to the ideas local people have to make the area an even better place. Their ambitions have been captured in a set of agreed actions to be taken by local organisations, residents and the council in the We are Cally Community Plan.
We spoke to Sarah Stein Lubrano about her volunteering with Barnsbury and Cally Mutual Aid and her contribution the Cally Plan.
Who you are?
I lived in the Cally two and a half years. I’m from Washington DC and am an Education Specialist. I design workshops for a living, specifically interactive workshops for adults. I love going on long runs and bike rides round the nearest parks and along the canal in the Cally.
What you do?
I volunteer for the Barnsbury and Cally Mutual Aid Group, a group of several hundred neighbours who help each other. During the height of the pandemic, we delivered groceries and medicines to the elderly and those shielding and self-isolating.
But we also do other things like supply books to prisons, help people with house repairs or accessing the internet, delivering hot meals at Christmas, befriending the isolated, helping freecycle wheelchairs to those who need it, raising money for the local Copenhagen Street Food Bank, and so on.
Anything where you or someone you know might benefit from a neighbour’s help really.
I’m one of the coordinators, so I answer the phone and help route requests to volunteers so they all get managed. In August, though, I’ll just be a mutual aid volunteer – the coordinators all step back and allow new people to step up into those roles.
Even as the pandemic hopefully eases, the groups will still be around. You can join the WhatsApp groups to ask for help or to offer help to neighbours, and people are welcome to contact us.
What did you do to help with the Cally Plan?
The hope is to provide a network so people can have better lives precisely because they are living together in the same area, rather than being isolated from one another. It’s not always obvious, but our neighbourhood is an area with some very comfortable people and also some really vulnerable people – people who are isolated, who have trouble with food security.
We’re helping to create a network that enables everyone who lives here to help in an immediate, non-hierarchical way, where residents can take action to provide food security and prevent poor health outcomes and isolation among their neighbours.