Updates on Covid-19 Coronavirus
A lot has been written about Coronavirus and we are not experts. This article will point you to some sources of information that may be useful but at all times you need to be aware of the latest advice from the government and the NHS.
Support for existing groups
There is lots of advice on the NCVO website
The Small Charities Coalition have produced a briefing that can be found here
We also recommend the ACAS site for information on staffing issues
It is important that groups take this seriously but that they do not over react. The situation is obviously fluid and this means that advice will change and you should ensure you are up to date. If you are a registered charity you will be able to access the support the Government has made available to small businesses outlined in the acas and rightsnet links above. There are also a number of funds being made available to charities which we will include in our regular bulletin - if you aren't already sign up here
The Association of Volunteer Managers have an online networking event on Volunteer management in a pandemic taking place 1st April to sign up follow https://volunteermanagers.org.uk/upcoming-events/
There are some useful factsheets on https://www.supportcambridgeshire.org.uk/coronavirus/ which include information on loss of income, contingency planning, setting up an informal group and staying safe when volunteering.
If your group is commissioned by public bodies take a look at this article
For new community groups setting up to help those affected by Covid-19 we have a simple checklst for groups and a guide to keeping eveyone safe which looks at safeguarding and practical ideas on issues such as handling money and collecting prescriptions safely.
The Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK group now has groups set up all over the UK with neighbour groups setting up under its umbrella using whatsapp and face book. To find a local group or set one up see their webpage https://covidmutualaid.org/ They also have some useful guidance on safeguarding, risk assessment and data protection to keep everyone safe. You can also contact us here at CCVS if you want to talk anything through firstname.lastname@example.org. There are some useful short information films on safeguarding, tips on managing volunteers and things to consider when telephone befriending on the Support Cambridgeshire website https://www.supportcambridgeshire.org.uk/coronavirus/
You can also volunteer
If you are feeling well and have not knowingly had contact with anyone with Covid-19 you are able to leave your home to volunteer to provide essential services - the details of this exemption are being worked on by NCVO working with the Government and we will update when we know more.
Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council are now calling on people across the county to get in touch if they can volunteer their time to help others in a co-ordinated effort which will offer safe support and reassurance county and city wide. People can email CommunityCV@cambridgeshire.gov.uk.
The coordination hub - staffed by a range of council workers - will manage offers of help, thereby maximising support for communities, working alongside existing voluntary and community organisation partners.The hub will link those who volunteer, with over 70s and others who fall within the vulnerable groups listed by the Government, who have been advised to self-isolate.People will be matched with those who need help based on their skills, time and willingness.
Sign up as a Community Reserve Volunteer with the Red Cross https://reserves.redcross.org.uk/
You can sign up to NHS Volunteer Responders who are supporting the NHS during the covid-19 outbreak. This is to support the 1.5m people in England at most risk from the virus to stay well. Once you've registered and checks are complete – you'll be provided a log-in to the GoodSAM Responder app. Switch the app to 'on duty' and you'll see live and local volunteer tasks to pick from nearby.
The national volunteer platform Do-it has now launched a plafform for individuals looking to help and for groups looking for volunteers to offer support during this emergency.
Reach Volunteering, which specialises in brokering skilled volunteer roles such as trustees, finance and HR is offering help to charities to find skilled volunteers to meet the unprecedented challenges they face.
National Care Force – was originally a brokerage platform matching healthcare workers to care homes but they are now matching anyone who wants to donate their time supporting care professionals
You might also be interested in Next door, a social media platform which allows you to interact with your neighbours
Volunteer for existing groups helping the vulnerable
Most local groups are in the process of looking at how they can adjust their services to meet need but also protect the people they work with as well as their own staff and volunteers. There is work being done to try and build up a picture of what support these groups need and we will update this information when this happens. In the meantime if you want to offer support to a particular group you could check out their website and drop them an email.
Foodbanks are continuing to operate you can find out more https://www.trusselltrust.org/get-involved/volunteer/
Age UK Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are looking for for volunteers to help with shopping, collecting prescriptions and may be a welfare phone call. Sign up here
Volunteer from home Even if you need to stay at home you may still be able to volunteer - you could offer people a friendly listening ear on the phone, edit documents, manage social media or knit clothing for premature babies.