Information and resources around COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
VAER have been researching and collating information about what is happening locally, changes to service provision, people willing to help, organisations looking for help and how local businesses are adapting to offer more flexible services. This helps our team at The Community Hub response to incoming questions and requests more effectively.
We have now made this information available on our new searchable website We Care East Ren, where you can easily add a community support around COVID -19 or business deliveries listing.
We will also continue to develop this page and update it with new resources. Please do let us know of any resources we should add to the page, or share any feedback with us.
How do we refer volunteers and vulnerable members of our community to groups and organisations?
How our matching process safeguard individuals and volunteers?
It is vital that the most vulnerable people in our community know they can access help from local organisations whom they know and trust, and who have the necessary safety measures in place.
How do we go about getting contact details from people to organisations or volunteers?
We've been collecting contact details from individuals who visit our community spaces in Barrhead and Newton Mearns. We've also been working with partner organisations and hope to work with others, so we can reach more vulnerable people who may need help.
Resources and Safety Protocols
Under normal circumstances, collecting and managing people’s personal data requires procedures to ensure the safety of both the individual and the group/organisations. However, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), the regulator for data protection and GDPR in the UK, formally announced that they will take a pragmatic approach to enforcement during the pandemic. We would advise everyone to visit their webiste for more information and resources or to call the helpline on 0303 123 1113 if in doubt.
There are a number of steps that should be followed if a volunteer is doing shopping and delivering shopping or other items (e.g. prescriptions) to people who are self-isolating. Volunteers may be unaware of exactly what’s involved in delivering or collecting items from people who are at higher risk.
It is extremely important that people do not share personal information in online groups. While intentions may be good, sharing your phone number and/or address to thousands of people is never a good idea. Making it clear in your group description that people shouldn’t share their details could help to avoid this happening.
Safeguarding volunteers & vulnerable people
Those involved in providing any kind of support to people during the Covid-19 outbreak have a responsibility to assess the risks and take precautions. Creating safeguarding policies and procedures may feel unnecessary when we are overwhelmed by the kindness of people looking to help out, but keeping people safe must be our number one priority.
Protection against criminal activity
Many community groups and organisations that are keen to provide the support to our communities and the vulnerable residents are concerned whether they need to wait for PVG checks.
Volunteer Glasgow advise in their 'COVID-19: Keeping volunteers & individuals safe' resource:
"In order to qualify for a PVG check, new volunteers would need to be carrying out a regulated work activity with children or protected adults regularly and as part of their normal duties with an organisation. As we are in the very early stages of self-isolation, it’s currently not possible to determine if the activities will be regular or normal duties. Your organisation may also consider that the new services or increased provision is in response to a crisis / emergency situation (which would not require a PVG).
There are several support activities which definitely do not require a PVG check such as shopping, cash handling, having access to people’s details and dog walking. Each organisation has to risk assess these activities and consider what other safeguarding measures are appropriate such as supervising new volunteers more closely.
Informal groups of neighbours coming together to support vulnerable people in their community are of course not covered by legislation which formal organisations are legally obliged to follow but it is still important that risk is assessed and such measures as are possible are taken to reduce risk."
Disclosure Scotland have answered some frequently asked questions on Volunteer Scotland website, including what roles need or don't need a PVG.
If you still in doubt, get in touch with us on 0141 876 9555.
Organisations looking for volunteers
Organisations looking for volunteers
Many groups and organisations across East Renfrewshire are keen to continue to support our communities differently during this time but may not have enough people or resources to help. Please contact our Community Hub helpline 0141 876 9555 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to help or need volunteers.