If you are looking for a way to support your community, then why not consider volunteering with the Dons Local Action group?

In the current economic crisis, many communities across England are struggling to make ends meet. However, amidst all the chaos, there are some organisations that are going above and beyond to help those in need. One such organisation is the Dons Local Action group (DLAG).

Established in March 2020 at the onset of the Covid pandemic by three AFC Wimbledon football fans, DLAG is a non-profit organisation that works tirelessly to support the community in various ways. Originally setup to collect and deliver food to vulnerable and self-isolating residents, DLAG realised there was a need to support children without access to a computer at home and setup ‘Keep Kids Connected’ to refurbish and distribute laptops, computers and tablets to school children. Following this, DLAG were approached by Merton Mutual Aid asking for help supplying furniture and white goods leading to DLAG setting up their furniture initiative.

As well as providing meals to local residents referred to them, DLAG provide food to various local charities and organisations and a number of food banks across Kingston, Merton and Wandsworth, which provide essential supplies to those who are struggling to put food on the table. 

In addition to the food banks, the Dons Local Action group has also support community kitchens such as the Tooting Community Kitchen. The Dons provided the kitchen with fresh food such as fruit and vegetables, without which the kitchen was relying mostly on bakery items and non-fresh foods. Tooting Community Kitchen is open to those who need a hot meal and provide a valuable source of support for those who are struggling to feed themselves or their families. 

Let’s take a closer look at how DLAG are addressing food, digital and furniture poverty:

  • Food and Household Goods – Over 5.5 million meals delivered to those in need
  • Computers, Laptops and Tablets – 3300 laptops, tablets and computers have been refurbished and distributed to school children
  • Furniture and Appliances – Around 1,000 pieces of furniture have been delivered to households

Volunteers – Volunteers registered for DLAG  man stalls at eleven supermarkets seven days a week, drivers who pick up the donated food and deliver the food boxes from the hubs to those in need. There is a separate team that recycle and distribute furniture and another team that refurbish laptops. There are only three paid employees within DLAG that manage the entire operation.

Silver Youth Club – In March 23, the Silver Youth Club was formed as it was still obvious that there were still many individuals, especially the elderly and vulnerable, who were isolated and lonely. The Silver Youth Club meets every Monday with a regular attendance of 50 – 60 members with an age range from 40 to 95 organised by a team of volunteers who set up the hall each week and conduct various activities such as quizzes, bingo and raffles.

DLAG recently held their 3rd Big Sleep Out at AFC Wimbledon, where people spent the night sleeping in the stands and at the time of writing this article had already raised a tremendous £28.7k. This money will be donated to DLAG’s chosen charities to help support the homeless and those in poverty across Kingston, Merton and Wandsworth. 

Overall, the Dons Local Action group is doing fantastic work for the community. Their efforts are making a real difference to the lives of those in need. 

DLAG is driven by its army of volunteers which has now grown to over 2,500. They are always on the lookout for new volunteers, and your help could make a real difference to the lives of those in your community. Find out more about volunteering here. Find out which of your local supermarkets have a food donation stall here

The Dons Local Action group is a shining example of how a community can come together to help those in need.  If we all take a little bit of inspiration from their work, we can make our communities stronger and more resilient in the face of economic challenges.