Response to COVID-19 – Produced by WCVA – 23 March 2020
List of contents
- Information for individuals wanting to volunteer
- Safeguarding information for groups and organisations recruiting and using volunteers
- The role of local County Voluntary Councils (CVCs)
- Find local support groups
Information for individuals wanting to volunteer
Volunteering – Could I? Should I? And how?
Anyone can volunteer but under the current guidance for responding to the coronavirus, people who are most at risk (those who are pregnant, over 70 and who have underlying health conditions) should not take on volunteering roles that could raise their risk of infection, or of passing it onto others who might be at risk.
If anyone under the age of 18 years wishes to volunteer, please see further guidance here: https://thirdsectorsupport.wales/volunteering/
Think about: non-contact roles which can be performed through remote access using phones, emails, facetime etc. These roles are just as important as many others to prevent loneliness and disconnection.
People who should be in self-isolation with possible infection or at risk of infection, can also undertake these distance roles, if they are well enough, but must not break their isolation to volunteer otherwise.
Social Distancing Guidance
All volunteers must follow the latest guidance on social distancing issued by Public Health Wales Guidance on social distancing for everyone in Wales and protecting older people and vulnerable adults
The situation is changing quickly, so people involved in volunteering and organising volunteers should check this guidance on a daily basis and also read the daily updates from Public Health Wales to ensure they have the latest information.
Individuals wishing to volunteer can either engage with informal mutual aid and community volunteering networks and/or sign up to volunteer more formally in a role with an organisation.
Mutual aid/community circles/informal volunteering
Many neighbours have already undertaken to assist and support one another in a very small locality. In most cases, this means that the people involved already know each other, to some extent. No-one should be placed under pressure to participate. Postcards or leaflets pushed though letterboxes have been used to re-introduce neighbours and suggest how they might help and support one another: from simply keeping in contact through phone calls, to dropping off shopping on the doorstep, etc. whilst maintaining social distance.
Details may be found on social media links such as WhatsApp and local groups on Facebook, etc.
Joining an existing volunteer organisation
Volunteers should expect to be asked to sign up to a code of conduct required by the organisation.
All volunteers can be asked about their unspent convictions (those for which the rehabilitation period has not yet ended (see information here: Unlock)) but only as a matter of good practice. This is the same as a DBS basic check but could be a matter of filling in a simple online form.
Some other volunteer roles may require enhanced DBS checks DBS checks but as these are for roles with contact with the people who are most at risk of conventional safeguarding issues, there will be fewer such opportunities. Roles requiring enhanced DBS checks should be clearly stated on the information.
Safeguarding information for groups and organisations recruiting and using volunteers
Community responses to COVID-19 must put systems and processes in place to safeguard beneficiaries and volunteers from abuse and harm.
Here are top 10 tips to get you started.
Please see our detailed guidance on the website for more information on all these points:
- Group leaders should provide their contact details to the beneficiaries (the people you will be helping) and a description of the services they are planning to offer
- Group leaders should create role descriptions for volunteers which identify any need for DBS checks (or email email@example.com with a role description) NB: All volunteers can be asked about their unspent convictions (those for which the rehabilitation period has not yet ended (see information here: Unlock)) but only as a matter of good practice. This is the same as a DBS basic check but could be a matter of filling in a simple online form.
- Group leaders must familiarise themselves with the types of activity which are defined as ‘regulated activity’ and would require an enhanced DBS check with barring list by law.
- The service should create a clear system for beneficiaries to alert volunteers to their need for help: volunteers should be informed what to do next – usually to call the emergency services.
- Group leaders should ensure that volunteers have access to a named co-ordinator who is easily contactable.
- Volunteers must know that they should contact the Co-ordinator if they have any safeguarding concerns and the Co-ordinator should have a list of contacts to make referrals, e.g. police and social services.
- Volunteers should follow all Public Health Wales guidance about COVID-19 and security measures should also be observed.
- Financial transactions must be carefully managed and cash exchange avoided at all costs.
- Volunteers should use a clear form of identification when communicating with beneficiaries.
- Where possible, use the existing volunteer workforce, e.g. community drivers and befrienders.
The role of local County Voluntary Councils (CVCs)
What does the CVC (County Voluntary Council) do?
There is a County Voluntary Council in every county which supports voluntary organisations, promotes volunteering and provides information to the public.
CVCs can assist organisations with recruiting and managing volunteers and can also help individuals identify suitable opportunities.
CVCs help those who are looking to volunteer by providing direct support and information, (either face to face or by phone or email) and by managing the national database of volunteering opportunities for their area www.volunteering-wales.net.
Volunteering Wales Website
The website www.volunteering-wales.net can be searched to find opportunities by location, by category or by key word. Anyone can search, but you will need to register as a volunteer on the website in order to express interest in an opportunity or to obtain contact details.
If you use the link below, then scroll down, you will see opportunities linked to COVID 19, which could be useful. https://volunteering-wales.net/vk/volunteers/search.htm?searchString=&categories=3042
The CVC also provides advice and support to organisations and groups, including advice on governance, funding, safeguarding and legal matters and the involvement of volunteers.
You can find contact details for your local County Voluntary Council here.
Find local support groups
Find voluntary services at your fingertips! Find a wide variety of excellent voluntary and community services that are able to provide information and support so that people can make an informed choice.
Here are some key organisations who could help. Remember that many staff are now working remotely. Phone lines may be busy due to high demand. It may be best to email in the first instance.
Please click here to download the list.