Tips for setting up a volunteer group to respond to Covid-19

People and communities need help now more than ever.  If you want to respond by setting up a local volunteer group, follow these top tips.

  • Identify a core team to run the group – we wouldn’t recommend one person taking on all the responsibility.
  • Ensure roles are clearly identified, such as volunteer coordinator, promoter of group, link person to other services etc.
  • Clearly set out your priorities – what do you want to do and achieve? More importantly, what can’t you do?
  • Do some research – don’t duplicate the work of other volunteer groups covering your patch – see what’s being done and establish what value you can add or additional services you can provide. Speak to your ward coordinators
  • All new volunteers should be supported by the group to ensure they fully understand their volunteer role and the boundaries which need to be put in place due to COVID-19, such as volunteer agreement, health and safety, lone working, confidentiality, safeguarding, handling money, confidentiality.
  • Create a basic volunteer registration form that also sets out the do’s and don’ts of your group including safety and confidentiality arrangements.
  • Make your presence known to other local organisations/ services so you can coordinate resources as much as possible – such as GP surgeries, parish councils, local charities – people will not likely want to be bombarded from lots of different groups.
  • Get a system in place that allows remote working – set up conference calls using FaceTime, Skype or Zoom.
  • Use WhatsApp or similar messaging services – it allows you to communicate remotely in real time.
  • Create material within your local community to tell them about the service you are providing. It just needs to be a simple, clear one-sheet of information.
  • Create a log/spreadsheet of requests which will allow you to manage priorities and identify gaps.
  • Treat clients’ information in the strictest confidence, in line with General Data Protection Regulations 2018.
  • Provide some simple manual handling advice to your volunteers.
  • Have first aid procedures and ensure you keep a first aid book.
  • Finally, look out for one another – this is a difficult time for everyone so regularly check that your team members are ok and ask if they need to talk.

Contact the experts at Business Volunteers and we can arrange to call you or visit.

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