Clanfield Coronavirus Community Support Update
Published: 30th March 2020
Categories: News, Community & Volunteer, Clanfield, Alerts
This newsletter will cover a number of topics you might be interested in, particularly our upcoming volunteer opportunities
1. Update on the Clanfield Coronavirus Community Support Group:
Well, who knew how much our lives were going to change over the last few weeks? Having seen Brexit dominate the news for so many months , and now Coronavirus, one could be forgiven for forgetting what “normal” feels like.
Just two weeks from the launch of the Clanﬁeld Coronavirus Community Support Group (CCCSG) and we have been humbled and overwhelmed by the tremendous response to our call to arms, over 200 of you volunteering your services to the community. Thank you.
The core team has been busy trying to establish a framework of support and to identify key needs and resources to match. Inevitably, this has been done somewhat “on the ﬂy”, but we have learnt a lot along the way. So, I thought it was time to provide an update on where we are.
Firstly, thank you to the team of 40 volunteers who undertook last weekend’s leaﬂet drop in Clanﬁeld, Catherington and Chalton. Having guesstimated the requirement to be around 3,000 leaﬂets, the ﬁnal number delivered was closer to 4,000.
Subsequently, our Help Desk (both phone and email) has solicited 90 requests for help in the ﬁrst week alone. We have also had many messages from folks who are vulnerable or isolating just to express how glad they are to know the support is there, should they need it. It is sobering to see just how many people rely on the goodwill of their neighbours to help them with day to day tasks.
So far, the group has been able to help with prescription runs, emergency shopping, dog walking and assigning buddies to some isolating members of the community who feel they just need a bit of regular contact.
2. Shopping provision for vulnerable and shielding individuals:
It seems, perhaps not unexpectedly, that shopping is the biggest area of need.
The core team has been working hard to ﬁnd solutions to the high demand. As many of you will know, regular users of supermarket delivery services have found “slot times” hard to come by. While some individuals are able to rely on friends and family, many have no other method of obtaining basic supplies. Finding a way to supply shopping essentials with payment over the phone or web has been challenging. You will see in the Volunteer Guideline attached that we are trying to avoid the need for volunteers to handle cash or cards as this clearly represents a potential risk to both parties. Ideally, we would like a facility whereby the person in need could order and pay the shop , leaving just the delivery to our volunteer force.
There are understandable logistical challenges for our local shops and they have put in a super human effort, under intense pressure, to keep open and keep the village supplied.
Some volunteers have offered to collect and pay for items and then be reimbursed by the person in need. While this would not be our preferred method, we appreciate this neighbourly approach. Should you feel inclined to support in this way, please make sure you keep a note of all receipts and report any issues you encounter.
We will continue to work with local shops and support them in meeting the needs of the village at this stressful time.
3. Volunteer opportunities:
We now have a team of coordinators in place, adequately trained, replying to phone calls, texts and emails on a rota basis and assigning tasks to volunteers as needed.
At this stage it is difﬁcult to predict volume of future requests . But now, having had the opportunity to experience the types of requests the Help Desk might receive, we have identiﬁed some opportunities of volunteering in the community. We hope you can “raise your hand” for particular areas highlighted on the front page of this Newsletter.
A strong core team is already in place, but there is still scope for expansion. If you have particular skills in dealing with “clients”, are technology savvy (Google Docs, Excel etc) and can do a regular 1/2 day shift ( from your home), please let us know.
To be added to our existing list. You will need a mode of transport ( vans are good) and the ability to offer yourself for a 2-3 hour slot on some days (a calendar is published every week where you can nominate yourself for duty).
Budgens Door & Picker:
This is either a 2 hour shift on the door, helping with queue control or a couple of hours helping select the shopping for the vulnerable individual list.
“Buddies” will be allocated to those who are self isolating or part of the “shielded” community for occasional check-in call, but more likely some errands like post ofﬁce runs, shopping for essentials etc. Matching to be done by street.
If you feel able to support in any of these areas speciﬁcally, please drop a quick note back to this email with a simple “Coordinator”, “Driver” or “Buddy”, “Budgens Door”, “Budgens Picker”…that’s all we’ll need. Your responses will be logged and thus make it easier for our coordinators to assign tasks.
We have tried to keep things as informal and practical as possible. Clearly, however, there is a need to be mindful of the safety of both our “clients” and our volunteers as we proceed. It is a sad fact that there are those who seek to exploit folks when they are at their most vulnerable. Equally, we do not wish to expose you, as a volunteer, to unnecessary risk as you help your community. To this end, we have prepared a simple set of Volunteer guidelines covering the main areas of concern such as infection control, data protection and some helpful list of Do and Don’t.
5. Action required!
Can I thank you all once again for offering your services to the community. Whether you’ll “get the call” will depend on how volumes go over the next few months…and it could be many months that we need your support. If, for any reason, you need to pause your volunteering ( eg if isolating) remember to let us know.
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