Volunteering is crucial in the response to Coronavirus and people have not been stopped from doing this. However, volunteering that requires going out of the house is now only permitted in certain circumstances. If someone is well and not at risk from Coronavirus they can undertake essential activities including:
· Delivering food
· Helping people with their medical needs, such as picking up prescriptions
· Providing essential care or to help a vulnerable person or person(s), including through essential public and voluntary services, such as food banks, homeless services, and blood donation sessions
Guidance from British Red Cross on PPE and practices to ensure the safe delivery of Covid-19 crisis response activities is available here.
Volunteer Now has developed good practice guidance which is available for those volunteering, those including volunteers within their organisations and also those providing neighbourhood support. They have also provided sample risk assessments and volunteer registration forms.
Volunteer Now recently launched their free online safeguarding training, which is supported by the Health & Social Care Board and the Department of Health. Follow this link for full details.
Access NI – Safeguarding issues for community volunteers during COVID-19 crisis
AccessNI has published guidance in relation to safeguarding issues during the Covid-19 crisis. This guidance is particularly aimed at new community groups that are being established locally to provide support services to neighbours, etc. The guidance can be viewed here.
Access NI will not process applications for volunteers
• delivering shopping
• collecting and/or delivering prescriptions
They will process applications for volunteers
• doing shopping where there is a physical exchange of money.
Access NI have implemented their contingency plan that allows checks related to covid-19 crisis to have priority.