March 25, 2020
In times of need, our greatest resource is often people and the current response to Covid-19 is proving to be no no exception. People (volunteers/neighbours/family) are stepping forward to help and support those less able/more vulnerable for themselves and are providing an amazing range of support.
Since the announcement this week the government that volunteers were needed by the NHS to support the 1.5million people most at risk from the virus to stay safe – over 250,000 people volunteered in a single day (total is now half a million). Amazing! If you too are interested in helping, please visit: https://www.goodsamapp.org/nhsvolunteerresponders
At Cumbria CVS, we truly recognise the importance of volunteers and are currently working to ensure that we help direct these valuable resources in the right direction and ensure that they themselves have the necessary support and resources to maintain their activities.
Communities helping Communities via Facebook
Volunteering in its broadest sense usually starts in local communities with people helping friends and neighbours. Currently lots of local Facebook groups are being established as a local response to Covid-19 and are using this medium to bring together informal volunteers to help and support people in their neighbourhood.
It’s fantastic to see such a fast response from individuals wanting to volunteer and help their neighbours and community!
Here are 10 Top Tips of how you can be a Good Neighbour dúring COVID-19. Cumbria CVS has produced this in partnership with ACTion with Communities in Cumbria.
“Support Cumbria” website
Support Cumbria is a central website where anyone interested in volunteering during Covid-19 can register their interest. Please register your interest here: https://supportcumbria.org.uk/
Please note it is anticipated that there will be a high volume of people registering their interest in volunteering – you will only be contacted when an organisation needs your help – which may not be immediately – but we want to Thank You in advance for offering your time and skills to volunteer!
Cumbria CVS is currently helping to promote current volunteering opportunities. Please contact Cumbria CVS if your organisation needs volunteers: click here to download the registration form.
Alternatively, to download the current Covid-19 vacancies, click here
Cumbria CVS has developed (and collected) a number of resources to support volunteering as part of Covid-19:
- Covid-19 Volunteer Handbook
Are you are an formal organisation working with volunteers to support older or vulnerable people who may be doing volunteering roles such as shopping, collecting prescriptions, gardening, telephone befriending? If so this Covid-19 Volunteer Handbook has been designed as a resource that you can download and adapt and use to suit your own organisations need. Download here: Covid-19 Volunteer Handbook
- Volunteer Guidelines for Informal Groups
Cumbria CVS has produced some basic Volunteer Guidelines that you can use to share with your volunteers who may be helping neighbours informally & organised by local neighbours and the community. There are many Facebook groups being set up across Cumbria for grassroot neighbour support so we hope these Volunteer Guidelines will be useful. Download here: Volunteer Guidleines for Informal groups working with volunteers
Here is also some guidance produced by Cumbria Community Resilience Group: CRG COVID-19 Guidance for Volunteers_Shopping
- Volunteer Risk Assessment and Covid-19
In response to Covid-19, charities and groups are involving volunteers however, sometimes there are concerns about the different risks involved. Below is a link to a Volunteer Risk Assessment template that will help groups to think about the potential risks in relation to the different tasks volunteers may be involved with during Covid-19. Volunteer Risk Assessment and Covid-19 Please feel free to download this and adapt to use to suit your own organisation.
- Community Resilience and Emergency Planning
This template was adapted from ACT website for a Community Emergency Planning template. Check out their great resources http://www.cumbriaaction.org.uk/What-We-Do/Community-Emergency-Planning
- Food Preparation: This document provides advice for those preparing food at home for wider distribution: click here
Other Useful Information
- Mutual Support Covid-19 Resources and Volunteer Information
Some useful national resources and information that has been produced for Informal Groups of Volunteers: https://covidmutualaid.org/resources/
- New Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Checks Information
On 19 March 2020, the DBS updated how they are currently accepting new DBS checks with volunteers to make it easier to process so volunteers do not have to physically meet Volunteer Managers with proof of ID & Documentation. They can do this via Video Online and scanning documents. See full details here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/covid-19-changes-to-standard-and-enhanced-id-checking-guidelines25 March 2020: The DBS Service has produced a new factsheet in relation to Safeguarding: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/safeguarding-factsheet-community-volunteers-during-covid-19-outbreak/safeguarding-and-dbs-factsheet-faqs
Online Volunteer Training
- Communities Prepared – Public Health Emergencies Training
With the world battling the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic and increasing levels of fear and uncertainty, harnessing the power of community action has never been more important. Across the world communities are adapting in the face of adversity. Communities Prepared has developed training resources to help Community Emergency Volunteers and spontaneous local groups better understand public health emergencies and their potential role in supporting community resilience at this time.
- Health Education England e-Learning for Healthcare (HEE e-LfH)
This programme has been created by Health Education England e-Learning for Healthcare (HEE e-LfH) in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic. The programme includes key materials to help the health and care workforce respond to Coronavirus.. This link may be useful to share with your volunteers (formal or informal groups):
Community Action Response : Covid-19
Launched by Eden Project Communities with partners The National Lottery Community Fund, Nextdoor, Neighbourhood Watch, Campaign to End Loneliness and Eco Attractions Group, the Community Action Response has been created because of the unprecedented challenge that Coronavirus presents for people in every neighbourhood in the UK. Eden Project Communities is a UK wide network that has grown out of community building campaign The Big Lunch, which reaches over six million people in communities every year. The organisations are calling for everyone to take steps that will help communities cope when the worst impacts of the virus hit.
Community Action Response – five things you can do:
- Think of others, consider your actions & be kind: People in every community will face the challenges of Covid-19 in some way – from needing basic provisions to help while they are unwell.
- Connect and reach out to your neighbours: as self-isolation increases, we need to find new ways to stay connected and check in on one another for our physical and mental wellbeing. Share phone numbers and stay in touch.
- Make the most of local online groups: Keep up to date, share information and be a positive part of your local community conversations using platforms like Nextdoor.
- Support vulnerable or isolated people: different groups in our communities are at increased risk and social isolation and loneliness are key concerns for all ages. There are things you can do like volunteering for local support services or donating to food banks to help.
- Share accurate information and advice: Support anyone who may be anxious about Covid-19. Sign post them to the correct advice from Public Health England and encourage people to follow the correct hygiene practices.Find out more information about their work by visiting their website: https://www.edenprojectcommunities.com/community-action-response
All these resources and links are available on our website: www.cumbriacvs.org.uk/coronavirus/covid-19-volunteering