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Volunteer for the Community Response Unit

Could you help people in your local community who don’t have anyone else to call on during the coronavirus outbreak?

You could be asked to help with:

  • food shopping and delivery
  • checking up on people who are isolated with a phone call or online help to prevent loneliness and check whether there is anything they need
  • collecting and delivering prescriptions

Residents who could be helped by the Community Response Unit include those who are self-isolating because they, or a member of their household, is at risk from coronavirus. Support will be offered to residents struggling to meet their basic needs because of financial, social and health restrictions – including pregnant women, people with some underlying health conditions and those aged 70 or over.

You need to be aged from 18 to 70 to volunteer, and to be fit and well. You will also need to provide the details of two references when registering.

Register your interest in becoming a volunteer

Please note you do not need to register your interest if you have already been in touch with us or you have been in touch with one of the listed volunteer centres at the bottom of our community response unit page. 

We will send your details to one of our partner volunteer organisations and they will be in touch directly with you.

If you volunteer to help then you are able to leave your house to carry out these essential duties. 

Good practice for volunteers

If you volunteer for one of our partner organisations please:

  • make sure you have ID with you and encourage people to challenge your credentials as a volunteer
  • work as part of a recognised group that is registered with the local voluntary community service or the community response unit
  • take correct precautions around social distancing and preventing infection by observing social distancing guidelines
  • try to avoid using public transport
  • avoid handling money where possible – try to arrange only to pick up and deliver items that have been pre-paid for, if not, where possible try to use a secure, traceable payment such as PayPal goods and services - if handling money is unavoidable then have a clear plastic bag for the person to place the money into and make sure you wash your hands
  • do not enter into someone's home, even the hallway or porch
  • knock on the door and step back 2 metres before it is opened to enable you to talk safely to the person
  • they should place the items for collection on the floor and go back into the house for you to pick them up
  • if you are dropping off supplies, place them on the doorstep, knock on the door or ring the bell (use a glove) and then step back 2 metres
  • check the safety of the products delivered - check any packaging is sealed and the temperature of product on delivery, for example, if it’s meant to be frozen, is it still frozen?
  • recommend that recipients wash shopping wherever possible and wash their hands after touching it
  • ensure you follow advice on good hygiene and wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitiser - if you are out and about consider using a bottle of water, hand soap and your own towel
  • take care when handling any items which may be given to people who may have compromised immune systems - the virus can live on inanimate surfaces for up to 24 hours
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces using your regular cleaning products to reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people - this includes door handles, stair rails, door knockers and bells
  • do not visit if you are unwell or anyone in your house is self-isolating and make alternative arrangements
  • look after your own well-being and physical health during this time

And please do not:

  • take or ask for any bank cards or PINs or cheques from people you're supporting unless as part of an authorised support network with the correct audit trail in place
  • enter people’s homes, think about their safety - also think about distancing and not transferring germs
  • expect payment once you have offered to provide support for people for free
  • post any details of a vulnerable person online such as on social media websites - even in a closed Facebook group

How you can help

Watch this video to find out how we can all do our bit to keep people safe.