Covid 19- Guidance for local, self-organising volunteers.
Please note this is guidance only. If you are not directly volunteering for an organisation, then you are responsible for your own wellbeing and your own actions. Please keep your own safety first and foremost in mind.
If possible, you might want to consider volunteering in pairs. This will help to safeguard both you and the person you are helping. Also be sure to let a contact know when and where you are going, checking in with them again when you leave or if you need assistance.
If you are in a group on social media, do not create or share documents with people’s names, addresses etc. Sharing of personal details should be at a one-to-one, or hyper local level.
Although 99.9% of people who want to help the elderly and vulnerable are genuine, there will also be a small number of individuals who are using the current situation to exploit those in need for financial gain.
Confirm a budget with the person you are shopping for. Consider donating the supplies if you can, but if not, establish in advance how payment will be handled. If possible, consider agreeing to collect payment after that person has finished self-isolating; this is to avoid awkwardness, and crucially to minimise time spent at their front door.
Ask for a duplicate receipt at the till or take a photo with your phone; one for the recipient and one for your own records.
Encourage people NOT to give out their bankcards and PIN numbers. Alternatives would be cash if this is available, or a cheque, or online banking. Please bear in mind that money or cheques exchanged could be potentially infectious, so carry wipes to clean them.
Only collect prescriptions for people with whom you are close friends or neighbours or speak to a trusted organisation who may be able to assist them. Most pharmacies can still do home deliveries for those who need it even during this busy period.
You may feel more comfortable working with a trusted organisation such as Age UK who can organise safer ways of dealing with money, such as having specific people who can collect this, or doing deliveries from donation centres.