Staying Safe as a Volunteer
Here is some important advice if you want to volunteer:
- If you feel at all unwell, do not volunteer and do not pop in to visit your neighbour
- Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially before and after you deliver any items
- Try to support people who live close to you, so you don't travel long distances
- Avoid bringing people together face-to-face and remember the government’s advice on social distancing and isolating people at greater risk from Covid-19
- If you make a delivery to a household that is self-isolating, at all times stay 2 metres away from the person or people who are isolating. Place the items outside their door and then step away
- To keep yourself and others safe, be careful about how you share personal information about yourself and other people. We can provide you further guidance on this.
- Know who to contact where the person you are helping needs more support or has complex needs – in Haringey this will be a member of the Connected Communities Team who can be contacted on 020 8489 4431
In Haringey, we have developed specific advice for certain situations:
Access to food and shopping is critical for people who are self-isolating and may not have access to other means of support. We advise residents who need support to access food by phoning Connected Communities on 020 8489 4431.
Our current advice to volunteers is not to handle residents’ money on their behalf. We are arranging for phone payment using a debit card and billing for items and residents paying with a cheque (still a viable form of payment for many residents who will be self-isolating).
Our advice is as follows:
- The value of any shopping should not exceed £15.
- You will need to make sure you are clear about exactly what shopping the person or household would like and any preferences about where it comes from (e.g. a specific shop, supermarket). Remember that it may be difficult to fulfil their ask if supplies are low.
- You and the resident might want to exchange phone numbers in case you need to ask something while in the shop.
- You should get a receipt for whatever you buy and make sure you hand this to the person in the household who has asked you to do their shopping.
- Where possible, you should take a photo of the receipt, in case of any queries further down the line.
- You should leave the shopping in a designated place, agreed by you and the person in the household that you are helping.
- Please DO NOT go into the resident’s house. Government advice (external link) states that you should remain at least 2 metres part from others.
- If you feel like you can’t help the resident or household (for example a member of the household has more complex needs, becomes concerned or has any difficulties), please call Connected Communities on 020 8489 4431. This line is open Monday to Friday 9.30am to 4.30pm.
People who are self-isolating for long periods are more likely to become socially isolated. A regular phone call to check in or to have a longer conversation will become more and more important as time progresses. We recommend volunteers follow the guidelines below:
- The purpose of calling residents is to provide regular contact to someone who is self-isolating. It will provide a ‘listening ear’; however, this is not an emergency service or counselling support.
- It is strongly advised that you only call residents during the Connected Communities opening hours (Monday to Friday 9.30am to 4.30pm)
- Before making the call, you should make sure you have a quiet place to chat where you won’t be interrupted and that you have sufficient time set aside for the call.
- It’s important for you to feel comfortable with the frequency and duration of any calls.
- You and the resident receiving your calls should decide between you, how long the calls should last. As a guide, we recommend up to 30 minutes.
- Keep an eye on the time and start to bring the conversation to an end within this time.
- You and the resident should decide between you, how often the calls will happen.
If at any point you have concerns about the welfare of the person you are speaking to, or people in their household, you should call Connected Communities on 020 8489 4431. This line is open Monday to Friday 9.30am to 4.30pm.
Outside of these hours, please refer to the latest NHS guidance (external link) on who to contact and how to do this.