Safe Volunteering

Thank you for coming forward at this difficult time. Before offering your support to others, please consider carefully whether you or your family may be at risk. We want to make sure you are safe and well and that we are not at risk of spreading the virus.

Below is guidance about how to volunteer safely with specific volunteering role examples.

  1. Shopping Delivery
  2. Dog Walking
  3. Giving people a lift to medical appointment
  4. Delivering things by car
  5. Befriending phone call

Can I help?

You can only volunteer outside of your home if you meet all these conditions:

  • You and all the members of your household are well and have no symptoms of COVID-19. (These could be a new continuous cough, fever or loss/change to your sense of taste/smell.)
  • You have not experienced symptoms of COVID-19 in the previous 10 days (even if the symptoms have now gone).
  • You have not been advised to stay at home by the Test and Trace service.

If you are over 70, pregnant, or have a long-term health condition that makes you clinically vulnerable, then you should only volunteer after a full risk assessment has been done by the group or organisation you are volunteering with.

Your safety

Most people are honest and genuine about their need for help, but your personal safety is important.

  • Stay 2m away from anyone you do not live with in all indoor and outdoor settings.
  • Make sure someone knows where you are and what time you are likely to be back.
  • Make sure your mobile phone is fully charged.
  • If a situation does not feel right, it probably is not, so leave the situation immediately.
  • Do not go in anyone’s home. Current restrictions mean that we must not mix with people we do not live with in indoor settings. If the person you are helping is self-isolating, you should avoid any direct contact.

Their safety

  • Let the person know when to expect you.
  • Encourage the person to keep informed with the latest information.
  • Encourage them to have regular communication with people on phone/skype.
  • Follow the guidance on this webpage when volunteering.
  • If you have a safeguarding concern report it immediately.

1.Shopping delivery

Follow these precautions:

  • No physical contact.
  • Put shopping on the door step and move two metres away before the individual opens the door to collect it.
  • Wear a face covering.
  • Wash hands before and after delivery or sanitise your hands.
  • Where possible:
    • Use alternative methods of money transfer. For more about this, please see: Money handling guidance for volunteers.
    • Handling cash should take place when there are no other options to pay.
  • No hand-to-hand contact, maintain social distancing (2m).
  • Wash hands thoroughly before and after handling cash (volunteer and recipient).
  • Avoid handling money for a stranger. Even with the best of intentions, confusion and conflict can arise and no one wants to be accused of stealing.
    • If you must handle money, make sure you and the person you are shopping for have a clear agreement about it.
    • Avoid visiting the recipient’s house more than once – i.e. better to pick up the payment at the same time you drop the shopping.

2. Dog walking

  • Agree the process of pick up, drop off, walking route before the walk. This is to make sure you keep to social distancing guidelines.
  • When walking a dog, find out about its temperament. Things like how it reacts to other dogs, people and traffic.
  • Wear gloves for the duration of the walk and if disposable, throw them away after.
  • Touch the dog as little as possible.
  • NEVER walk dogs from different households at the same time.
  • Where possible use a different lead to the owner’s, and if using theirs, ask that it is washed in hot soapy water before and after.
  • Always wash your hands thoroughly before and after walking the dog, regardless of whose lead is used during the walk.

Important note: There are no confirmed cases of humans catching COVID-19 from pets. However, it can be passed from person to person via surfaces like a dog’s fur, collar or lead.

For more guidance, visit: Walking someone else’s dog (Local Government Animal Welfare Group).

3. Driving people to a medical/vaccination appointment

You must adhere to the relevant social contact rules that apply to you when car sharing.

In tier 3 and tier 4 areas, car sharing is not permitted with someone from outside your household or your support bubble unless your journey is undertaken for an exempt reason. For example, if car sharing is reasonably necessary as part of your volunteering duties, or taking someone to a medical appointment or vaccination appointment.

It is difficult to socially distance during car journeys. Where it is essential to car share, you can reduce the risk of transmission by:

  • share the transport with the same people each time
  • minimise the group size at any one time
  • opening windows for ventilation
  • travelling side by side or behind other people, rather than facing them, where seating arrangements allow
  • facing away from each other
  • considering seating arrangements to maximise distance between people in the vehicle
  • cleaning your car between journeys using standard cleaning products – make sure you clean door handles and other areas that people may touch
  • the driver and passengers should wear a face covering

4. Delivering things by car

  • Wash your hands with soapy water for at least 20 seconds before collecting the items you are delivering.
  • Try and avoid touching your face.
  • You should avoid going inside the home of the person you are delivering to. They may be particularly vulnerable or isolating themselves.
  • Try to stay 2 metres (6 feet) away from anyone you do not live with at all times. This includes when you are in a car travelling to make a collection or delivery.
  • Leave the delivery on the person’s doorstep or drop off area, then:
    • knock on the person’s door;
    • step back at least 2 metres, before they open the door;
    • if possible, check that the person knows you have left the delivery on the step before leaving.
  • You should always make sure someone picks medicines up before you leave. They must not be:
    • posted through letterboxes (pets can die if they eat them);
    • or just left outside a house.
  • Leave the bag/box containing the delivery with the person you have delivered to. We should avoid reusing bags/boxes with other people, as this increases the risk of spreading the virus.
  • Wash your hands again with soapy water for at least 20 seconds as soon as you can after deliveries.
  • If you start to feel ill while making deliveries, stop what you are doing and go home. Do your best to let the person know that you are not able to make the delivery. This should be when it is safe to do, so not when you are driving.

5. Befriending phone calls

  • Remember, you are calling to have a chat and not to offer counselling or give medical/financial advice.
  • Keep the chat light and positive.
  • Think about your own boundaries. It is fine to chat about your personal life, if you are happy to do that.
  • If your person does not answer, call back after a few minutes. If they do not answer again, tell your coordinator/organisation.
  • You should be familiar with our Safeguarding contact information. If you have a concern, contact the appropriate person in Safeguarding.
  • If you want to hide your number for a call, you can. Please see Hide your number for how to do this.
  • Stopping calls – you can stop making calls at any point and for any reason. You should tell your coordinator/organisation.
  • Being a befriender can be quite draining and sometimes make you experience low mood. If you need any support at any time please contact our Peer 2 Peer – Listening Ear Support service. This has been opened up to support Volunteers during the Coronavirus pandemic. It is open 7 days a week (8am – 8pm), phone: 01422 392111.
Hide your number
  • Landline, dial 141 and then the number.
  • Android device, go to ‘phone’ then:
    • press the vertical 3 dots for a drop down menu;
    • select ‘settings’;
    • select ‘supplementary services’;
    • select ‘showing caller ID’;
    • click ‘hide my number’.
  • Apple device, go to ‘settings’ then:
    • select ‘phone’;
    • select ‘show my caller ID’;
    • slide the circle to the left to hide number.

If someone in your household shows symptoms or you are vulnerable to Coronavirus you must stay at home. You can still play a role in supporting others, but you can do this from home.