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 The Community Hub website, 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?

These are unusual times and so the procedures which organisations usually follow for taking referrals are likely to change over the coming weeks. We are working closely with local organisations and groups to understand how each of them will be operating, so we can match volunteers appropriately. We will be matching those who want to help, with the most appropriate groups and organisations based on the needs, where they live and where the groups and organisations deliver their services.

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. While online groups on Facebook are going to be key in supporting our communities over the coming weeks, they may not be the most appropriate source of help for particularly vulnerable people who are especially susceptible to scams and other criminal activity. Our Community Hub helpline will act as a “one-stop-shop” for anyone who cannot leave their house, have no friends or family nearby and need non-emergency support. We urge online groups covering East Ren to make sure this information is as visible as possible to those using your platform, and that you contact the ‘Community Hub’ to ensure we have your details and can link in people from your area as quickly as possible.

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. We have developed a contact form and privacy statement which ask for verbal consent to share contact details with other groups and organisations. Obtaining consent is crucial if we are to safeguard individuals. Download the contact form and privacy statement

Resources and Safety Protocols

Data Protection

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. In their blog ' Community groups and COVID-19: what you need to know about data protection' advise groups to adhere to the following general principles when handling personal information: 1. Keep it clear about what you do with personal information 2. Share, but ONLY if it's appropriate to do so, e.g. to tell a local council about housebound self idolated elderly residents who need support 3. Keep it Lawful 4. Keep the personal information secure (You may want to read their some simple security tips) 5. Keep it to the minimum, and once this is over securly delete and destroy personal information you no longer need 6. Keep records of what you've done and how you used the information
We also recommend reading section 4 of Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK’s Local Group Resources: as well as Data Protection for Community Groups: A number of groups are also developing tools for gathering information which can be copied and used by other groups. We will include details of these on our website when they become available.

Safe deliveries

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. Volunteer Glasgow put together an easy read resource for safeguarding volunteers and individuals involved in doing shopping for others, including advice on keeping everyone's money safe: We’ve also found QueerCare’s guide to delivering items very useful:

Individual Communications

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. QueerCare website has a handy guide about groups which includes a template message for people to use when requesting or offering help The key is to try and keep things as local as possible, linking people by the street.

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. National Food Service have put together this short training course which is essential reading for anyone setting up a local response to Covid-19:

Protection against criminal activity

We’ve come across reports of groups or individuals taking advantage of the current situation to scam vulnerable people. While we hope this will not be a widespread problem, it is important for us to be aware and most importantly to make sure that those who are likely to be targeted are aware of the dangers. Through our online platforms, we will also be sharing information regarding any scams we are aware of in our area and wider to increase awareness and help people guard against the risks of scams. If you come across any scams that we have not already shared, please pass the details on to us so that we can share widely. You can also share this infographic from Friends Against Scams with your contacts, friends and family to make sure we are all scam aware

PVG Considerations

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

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 if you'd like to help or need volunteers.