A 18-year-old has been commended for his tremendous efforts in helping members in his community by starting up Merton Mutual Aid.

Zakaria Dada, of Wimbledon, decided to create Merton Mutual Aid after talking to his friends about other boroughs efforts to combat the pandemic.

Together, Zak and volunteers have helped residents with numerous tasks such as; prescription deliveries, food drop-offs, supplying care homes with radio's and assisting in PPE projects.

The group which launched on March 15, attracted more than one thousand volunteers within a couple of days.

One month on, Merton Mutual Aid has just under 3000 members, all of whom are made up of volunteers or residents in need of help.

Zak has devoted the majority of his free time to managing the successful group and is currently in around 60 WhatsApp groups related to his volunteering.

Speaking to Wimbledon Guardian, Zakaria Dada, said: "I decided to use my time away from sixth form to make a difference in my local community,

"From the outset, we established the group as a mutually beneficial, apolitical entity and it’s been great to see individuals smash through divides such as generational, political, and wealth for the benefit of society.

"We help people whether they are a fit 20-year-old or an elderly person with underlying health conditions, espousing the belief of 'today you, tomorrow me.'

"We have set up 20 ward groups to manage the sizeable borough of Merton, receiving support from local organisations and the council.

"These ward groups are largely autonomous which allows the focus to be very local, enhancing community cohesion.

"Our volunteers have also been immensely generous to the Wimbledon Foodbank, in particular, starting weekly collections in many wards to pick up food from donors and dropping them to the Foodbank.

"Our NHS collections work similarly to benefit local hospitals such as St George’s, St Helier’s, Kingston, Epsom, and Chelsea and Westminster.

“The amazing generosity and kindness of the people of Merton has astounded me.

"It has been a tremendous opportunity to assist in the growing efforts.”

Zakaria would like to thank, Dons Local Action Group, Merton Council, Miller Harris, Nestle, Bear Nibbles, Avon, Starbucks and volunteers who have helped assist Merton Mutual Aid.

To find out more information visit at www.mertonmutualaid.co.uk, for support email, support@mertonmutualaid.co.uk