Firstly, thanks for volunteering! Outlined below are a few simple rules for keeping everyone safe.

1. Can I help?

You can only provide support to people who are in isolation if you fulfil ALL of the conditions below:

  • You do not intend to charge for your services.
  • If providing on-line or telephone support, collecting prescriptions, handling money or having access to people’s personal information you will need to have a DBS certificate that is less than 5 years old.
  • You have watched the safeguarding online training available in the policy section of Village Friends website.
  • You have read and agree to adhere to the policy documents provided on the Village Friends website and the instructions shown below.

You can only provide support other than online and/or using a telephone if you additionally fulfil all the conditions below:

  • You are well and have no symptoms like a cough or high temperature and nobody in your household does
  • You are under 70
  • You are not pregnant
  • You do not have any long-term health conditions that make you vulnerable to coronavirus

2. Who can I help?

You can help households who are isolating. This could include friends and family members as well as your neighbours.

3. How can I help safely?

  • You need to consider both the safety of yourself and the person (beneficiary) that you are helping. This is why it is important to follow this Keeping Safe & Safeguarding Policy.
  • The single most important action we can all take, in fighting coronavirus, is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives.
  • When we reduce our day-to-day contact with other people, we reduce the spread of the infection and save lives. This remains the case when you are helping others.
  • You should not go inside the homes of anyone you do not live with, especially vulnerable people or people who believe they may be infected and are isolating themselves. Breaking these rules could put you at risk of infection, or risk spreading it to others. It may feel unkind not to carry items into the home of someone who is frail but to do so would put both them and you at risk of infection.
  • If you are picking things up for others, try to limit the amount of time you spend outside of your home by picking up essential items for them when you do your own shopping or collect their medicines during the same trip.
  • You should always stay two metres (six feet) away from anyone you do not live with. Do not share a car journey with them. If working in pairs, you must always stay 2m apart.
  • You should go shopping for necessities, for example food and medicine, as infrequently as possible.
  • You should regularly wash your hands with soapy water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If you have offered to help other people, please do not place yourself in positions where you may feel unsafe, for instance helping late at night.
  • You must always adhere to our advice on how to stay safe.
  • You must keep a record of money spent and provide receipts to the person you are helping.
  • You must self-isolate as per government guidelines if you develop any symptoms that may be coronavirus related, in particular shortness of breath, a new and persistent cough and fever. You should also inform Village Friends by email that you are not available to work during the allotted time period.

4. Our Safeguarding Policy

We are committed to:

  • the care and nurture of, and respectful pastoral ministry with, all children, young people and adults
  • the safeguarding and protection of all children, young people and adults when they are vulnerable
  • the establishing of safe, caring communities which provide a loving environment where there is informed vigilance as to the dangers of abuse.

The safeguarding policy exists to protect both the volunteers and the beneficiaries of our services and considers issues around keeping volunteers and beneficiaries safe as well as what to do if any safeguarding or health concerns arise.

5. The Practicalities:

  • Volunteers, except when providing remote support by telephone or on-line, will wear photo ID badges
  • The volunteer coordinator will let the beneficiary know the name of the volunteer and when they will be arriving
  • Volunteers should not enter anyone’s home in the course of their activities for Armitage and Handsacre Village Friends.
  • When a volunteer has been asked to carry out an act of service for an individual, they should inform the volunteer coordinator when they have completed the task, and if relevant, returned home safely. If this does not happen within a reasonable timescale, the volunteer coordinator should make contact with the volunteer to ensure they are safe.

Shopping

  • Food and other supplies should be left on the doorstep or other agreed location.
  • Volunteers should communicate to the person that they have delivered via message, phone call or knocking on the door and get confirmation that the person has received it before they leave.
  • Volunteers should take care when handling items for people who are self-isolating. Volunteers should wash their hands before and after shopping and deliveries. Where possible wash for 20 seconds with soap and water, otherwise use an alcohol hand sanitiser.
  • Volunteers should take sensible food hygiene precautions when shopping and delivering food. Wherever possible buy pre-packaged food to prevent direct contamination.
  • Volunteers should pack raw and cooked food in separate bags and keep separate when transporting.
  • Ensure that chilled and frozen food remains at the appropriate temperature. Consider using freezer bags or coolers if it is going to be longer than 30 minutes between buying and delivery.

Collecting prescriptions

  • Prescriptions should be left on the doorstep or other agreed location with the pharmacy seal intact.
  • Volunteers should communicate to the person that they have delivered via message, phone call or knocking on the door and get confirmation that the person has received it before they leave. On no account should the prescription be left unattended.
  • Volunteers should take care when handling items for people who are self-isolating. Volunteers should wash their hands before and after shopping and deliveries. Where possible wash for 20 seconds with soap and water, otherwise use an alcohol hand sanitiser.
  • If you collect a prescription, do not advise on doses, preparation or administration of medication even if you have a relevant qualification. This should only be done by the prescriber.
  • The same is true of over the counter medications, such as Paracetamol and Ibuprofen. No advice should be given by volunteers.

Handling of Money

Firstly, determine if cash is needed to be handled at all. The individual may have been able to use a “click & collect” service or be able to pay for items by telephone. Some shops may be willing to draw up a bill for them to pay at a later date or online. Other alternatives include on-line transfers or cheques.

The volunteer should always get a receipt which should be provided to the beneficiary and a photo of it sent to the volunteer coordinator and saved for reference. If possible avoid touching the receipt. Always either use gloves when handling the receipt or wash/alcohol sanitise your hands before and after touching the receipt in order to photograph it.

If the use of cash is unavoidable the beneficiary should place the correct amount of money in an envelope and leave on the doorstep while the volunteer remains 2m away. Once the beneficiary has returned into the house the volunteer should collect the envelope and place it in a bag used specifically for this purpose. The volunteer should wash/alcohol sanitise their hands after touching the envelope and before touching other items such as gate catches or car door handles.

Telephone support

  • The role of telephone support is to provide a befriending service. It is not intended to provide counselling or advice and volunteers should not attempt to provide this. If the volunteer is concerned by the nature of the conversations, they should inform the volunteer coordinator.
  • Volunteers should not share their own personal issues with the beneficiary.
  • Volunteers should be aware that the content of the conversation is strictly confidential unless a safeguarding issue has arisen.
  • Volunteers should not promise anything they cannot guarantee, for example they should not recommend that a beneficiary contact an organisation unless they have personally made sure appropriate support can be provided.

6. Dealing with disclosures of abuse

If a beneficiary is a child or an adult at risk, and they tell a volunteer that they are experiencing some form of abuse as outlined below, the following actions are to be taken.

The volunteer must endeavour to stay calm, listen, and explain that they will need to pass on the information to the safeguarding officer for Village Friends, who will decide upon the best of action. It should be explained that while the beneficiary may not want this information to be shared, volunteers have a duty to share any safeguarding concerns and that this is because it is important that people are kept safe.

Depending on the nature of the concerns, the information may need to be passed on to the First Response Team at Staffordshire County Council.

The safeguarding officer can be contacted though the volunteer coordinator.

There are 10 categories of abuse of adults in the UK:

  1. Physical: punching, hitting, kicking
  2. Sexual: sexual harassment, unwanted sexual contact of any sort including innuendo
  3. Psychological: controlling, threats, intimidation, harassment, bullying, even online
  4. Financial: any theft or fraud in relation to money or property
  5. Neglect: not being given medicine, adequate nutrition or heating
  6. Discriminatory: harassment based on things like sex, gender, disability, race
  7. Self-neglect: failure to take care of own needs, causing serious harm to self
  8. Organisational: neglect and poor care practice in institutions
  9. Modern Slavery: human trafficking, forced labour, domestic servitude
  10. Domestic abuse: intimidation, threats or violence between intimate partners

First Response Team at Staffordshire County Council. In an emergency, the following numbers should be used:

Children: 0800 1313 216 (office hours)

                0345 604 2886 (evenings and weekends)

Adults: 0345 604 2719 (office hours)

            0345 604 2886 (evenings and weekends)

7. What should I do if I’m worried about someone’s health?

Encourage anyone you are in touch with or supporting to use the NHS 111 online Coronavirus service. They should only call 111 if they can’t get online, their symptoms worsen, or they have been instructed to. Call 999 if you believe someone’s life is at risk.