“I wish I could hug you! I’m just so thankful for everything you’ve done!”
How it all began
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic inspired three AFC Wimbledon football fans to establish Dons Local Action Group in March 2020, collecting and delivering food to vulnerable and self-isolating residents. They first set up collection points at Morrisons supermarket in the centre of Wimbledon and the Old Rutlishians’ Association in Merton. Thanks to the huge response and enthusiasm from the local community, the group grew exponentially, adding more collection points across Kingston, Merton and Wandsworth.
Whilst the redistribution of food continued to be our main activity, we quickly identified a need to support children who didn’t have access to a computer at home. An in-house team created ‘Keep Kids Connected’ to refurbish and distribute donated laptops to schools for their students.
We were soon approached by Merton Mutual Aid who were looking to supply essential furniture and white goods to local residents. This led us to set up the furniture initiative.
As the pandemic worsened, we realised we had to continue our work beyond the initial emergency response and commit to tackling the ongoing issues with poverty in our boroughs. This was formalised by creating a leadership team in the summer of 2020 and becoming part of the AFC Wimbledon Foundation. We will continue to provide vital support for as long as it is needed by our community. We are here to stay.
The power of a community
The response and enthusiasm from our volunteers made us grow beyond our wildest dreams in a record time, to such an extent that we decided to stay and broaden our focus to make a difference in the long run. We want to help people in our local communities who might be facing difficult times temporarily but also work with them to broaden their horizon if they wish.
“I want to thank you for your kindness and generous shopping. We very much appreciate it.”