Practical Advice from Community Works (https://bhcommunityworks.org.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/)
It’s been inspiring to see how quickly our communities are stepping forward and mobilising to do what they can to help others. We anticipate seeing a large number of people contacting the Volunteer Centre in the next few weeks, we know that a lot of local charities and community groups will be working hard and would welcome more volunteers, and there are a lot of local schemes developing both on and offline. Community Works want to provide both volunteers and organisations with as much practical advice and guidance as we can.
Before considering volunteering ask yourself – Am I well enough to volunteer? Always bear in mind the latest Public Health England advice on how best to limit the spread of the virus and to protect yourself.
If you want to volunteer, and are well enough, you can contact a local charity directly or register with the Volunteer Centre. We cannot guarantee that we will be able to find you a role but we will be encouraging organisations to register related roles with us as soon as they can and this is likely to change regularly. The Community Works website will also be regularly updated of details of other ways in which you can support the voluntary sector.
You can also consider volunteering informally in your community. If you know vulnerable people and can contact them safely (e.g. phone call, whatsapp, dropping a note through their door), just let them know that you are available and can assist with shopping etc. There are a lot of local Facebook or other neighbourhood based forums, it may be worth checking in with yours to see if they are coordinating anything at a very local level.
And finally, remember that some people may be very anxious about making face to face contact, particularly if they have a medical condition or are living alone so direct contact may not always be the best step.
If you are looking for extra volunteers we would encourage you to clarify the role(s) and register the opportunities with us when you can. That way we can signpost people to trusted organisations. If you would like us to publicise the opportunities more widely let us know and we can do that. It may be that many of your existing volunteers are concerned and decide to stay at home, if you have a role that you have recently publicised with the Volunteer Centre it may be as simple as letting us know that you would like us to reactivate it.
We know that people want to get involved as quickly as possible, but it is important that a basic assessment and induction is completed, including ensuring that you are safeguarding volunteers, staff and the community. Best practice on working with volunteers is on our website, but you can also contact us. If you are able to please do use email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you will be engaging volunteers for the first time, or in significantly greater numbers, it is worth checking if your insurance covers you for this.
Make sure that all your volunteers (and staff of course) always know the most recent advice and guidance from Public Health England.
Help us gather information
We’re looking to the local voluntary and community sector (VCS) to help us gather information to feed into local authorities’ responses to Covid-19. We are collecting information regarding issues that may prevent some of our communities from keeping safe during the pandemic as well as ways in which the pubic can support you and your service users.
You are best placed to identify measures that our local authority may not have thought of, such as:
- How adults with learning disabilities can self isolate safely
- How families at crisis point cope with children being at home if schools close
- How homeless people self isolate
- How digital exclusion will be problematic if GP appointments go virtual
Please email us at email@example.com with the subject line: ‘Covid-19 input’ to share your thoughts.
AGE UK Guidance
Click on the links below for helpful information from AGE UK