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Informal or Formal Volunteering Neighbourhood Groups

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Frequently Asked Questions

A few of us want to get together and start a group.  Where do we begin?

How do we support our volunteers?

How do we ensure our volunteers stay safe?

Do we need to do a risk assessment for our activities?

Do we have to consider data protection?

What do we do about safeguarding?

What do we do about handling cash?

Should we consider food safety?

What do I need to consider if I am walking someone else’s dog?

 

Here is some additional advice and guidance you may find useful:

Access to Supermarkets for Vulnerable Shoppers

Supermarket ‘Volunteer Shopping Cards’

Accessing Money from Banks

Accessing Money or Pensions from Post Offices

Paying Utility Bills

Illegal Money Lending

Covid-19 Related Cybercrime and Fraud

Dementia Toolkit for Coronavirus Volunteers

 


A few of us want to get together and start a group, where do we begin?

It’s great that you are keen to help out in the current crisis as lots of people are isolated and vulnerable and sometimes just letting someone know that you’re there can make people feel less anxious.  Keep it simple and keep it local, we would recommend that you only cover a small area.  We have put together a simple factsheet to get you started as there may be things you haven’t thought about.  PDF iconCOVID-19 Starting a group.pdf  

There is also an informal group checklist that is useful and will give you resources and other factsheets you will need to make your group as safe as it can be for the people it is supporting.  PDF iconCOVID-19 Informal Groups Checklist.pdf

 

How do we support our volunteers?

It is a stressful time for all and any volunteers may be struggling to deal with their own emotional wellbeing as well as helping other people.  See our guide to looking after your volunteers and ensuring they stay well and supported.  PDF iconCOVID-19 Supporting Informal Volunteers.pdf. 

Ensure they know what volunteering means and are not spreading the virus themselves by knowing what the government advice is.  PDF iconCOVID-19 Online Learning for Volunteers.pdf

 

How do we ensure our volunteers stay safe?

There are a number of things your volunteers can do to protect themselves and those that they are helping:-

 

Do we need to do a risk assessment for our activities?

A risk assessment is a simple process where you consider what you are doing, what could go wrong for each of those activities and what steps you could take to make the likelihood smaller.  There are lots of templates available and they vary in the complexity with some very simple forms to those that involve figures of likelihood and severity. 

There is no right or wrong type of form, you should do what you feel comfortable with doing.  The main thing is that you complete a risk assessment for any activity related to the COVID-19 response, including food shopping, getting prescriptions, gardening, putting bins out and more. 

We have put together a risk assessment template related to all of the activities you could potentially be doing with some processes to put in place to lower the risks.  Please read it thoroughly and see what is applicable to you and add or amend as necessary.  FileCOVID-19-CVS-Template-Risk-Assessment-for-Covid-19-Community-Response-Volunteering.docx

 

Do we have to consider data protection?

Yes you do.  People you are supporting are vulnerable adults and possibly their children.  It is important that you take measures to ensure you only keep personal information that you need to know, you store it in a safe and secure way and that you only pass on details of other people if it is necessary.  See our factsheet for more details.  PDF iconCOVID-19 Data Protection.pdf

 

What do we do about safeguarding?

Safeguarding the vulnerable is everyone’s responsibility and knowing the basics is better than nothing at all.  See our factsheet on safeguarding basics.  PDF iconCOVID-19 Safeguarding Basics.pdf

 

What do we do about handling cash?

If you are handling cash for shopping as a volunteer then it’s important that you get it right.  You need to safeguard the individuals you are helping as well as yourselves as volunteers.  We have put this simple factsheet together to enable you to put a few procedures in place to minimise any risks.   PDF iconCOVID-19 Cash Handling for Volunteers.pdf

 

Should we consider food safety?

Yes, this is important as the people you are supporting are already vulnerable.  Food should be safely stored and transported to ensure no-one gets ill from food poisoning or other bacteria.  Watch our brief video on food safety tips HERE or download our factsheet.  PDF iconCOVID-19 Food Safety Factsheet.pdf

 

What do I need to consider if I am walking someone else’s dog?

Some people may be unable to get out to exercise their dog if they are self-isolating or shielding in which case the Government have advised that it’s reasonable to ask someone to do it on their behalf.  There are a few simple things you can do to ensure you are doing this as safely as possible.  See our factsheet for some hints and tips.  PDF iconCOVID-19 Dog Walking.pdf