Posts in Category: COVID-19 (Volunteering - Digital)

Support to volunteer groups meeting COVID challenges (Monmouthshire CC) 

In Monmouthshire, challenges associated with COVID-19 have been met with an incredible and collective response by communities and organisations- over sixty volunteer led community groups with over 1000 volunteers mobilised overnight. Monmouthshire Council’s strategy was to tackle COVID-19 with communities and to support the volunteer groups in every way they could.

The council coordinated a ‘virtual community network’, with a clear collective purpose- to protect life and support communities, with no gaps and no duplication. 

While the community groups were able to develop fast, local solutions that changed people’s lives during lockdown and shielding, the council could provide structure through partnership working. Social Workers professionally and efficiently screened all individuals to ensure it was appropriate for a volunteer to support them and then allocated the support in a timely manner. 

To supplement the virtual networks, the council launched an online community- Our Monmouthshire, providing an alternative structure for people to ask for and offer help.

Aware of the potential in communities, the council delivers the Community Leadership Programme, which offers a suite of training, learning and personal development opportunities for community volunteers, for example- Successful Grant Writing training for volunteer groups exploring next steps after COVID-19. 

Connect Carmarthenshire (Carmarthenshire CC) 

Residents and businesses across Carmarthenshire are showing remarkable community spirit by helping and supporting those in need in their communities during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. A number of voluntary groups have been set up to help wherever they can, offering both practical and emotional support. Connect Carmarthenshire has been created to bring communities and individuals together – a place to offer or request help to / from neighbours and the wider community. This platform is available to anyone who lives in Carmarthenshire.  Users to the website can sign up to  SirGâredig – Sharing Carmarthenshire’s Kindness, a regional campaign to encourage more people to be kind to each other. The Council’s website has lots of helpful information on the various support groups that have been set up and how  to volunteer. Town and community councils are also co-ordinating volunteers in their areas and working closely with local groups.

Pembrokeshire Community Hub (Pembrokeshire CC) 

The Pembrokeshire Community Hub is a one-stop shop for any support required during the current pandemic, from help with shopping to a friendly telephone call. It is a partnership between Pembrokeshire County Council, Pembrokeshire Association of Voluntary Services (PAVS), Hywel Dda University Health Board and Delta Wellbeing. Residents who would like to volunteer are signposted to a web based interactive directory of community support organisations that are registered with PAVS, or they can volunteer directly through Volunteering Wales.  94 Community Support Groups have registered with PAVS, and over 600 volunteers have registered with Volunteering Wales.

Torfaen Community Support Mobile App (Torfaen CBC)  

Torfaen Council launched the Torfaen Community Support Mobile App on the 27th April 2020 to help to quickly and easily register volunteers who want to offer their time, and to help Torfaen’s most vulnerable residents register for support and enable them to be matched with the most appropriate provision. Residents who sign up to the App will be able to make requests for: collection of medication; shopping for food and other essentials, befriending services etc. The App has been developed by Syncsort one of the council’s technology partners. The app will aid the council’s newly established Community Support Hub to operate more efficiently and will be particularly helpful as resident’s needs grow and volunteer skills and availability changes over time. The council, with the help of partners, including Bron Afon and Torfaen Leisure Trust , and alongside community groups and volunteers is coordinating and providing direct support. A web version of the app is also available via the Covid-19 page on the council’s website for those who do not have access to mobile devices. If residents have no access to the web they can call 01495 762200 for assistance. Torfaen Council also has ambitions to use the app long term to support services post Covid19 to coordinate Volunteers.

Our Monmouthshire (Monmouthshire CC) 

Monmouthshire County Council’s Community Support Team ‘assess the need’ and in partnership with volunteers offer a range of support services, such as: collection and delivery of shopping and medicines, provision of food parcels and ready meals to those in need; befriending services etc.

A digital platform https://ourmonmouthshire.org/ has been developed to complement existing activity which will include time banking functionality. There are 1000+ volunteers active in the county. Area Development Teams have built a picture of the volunteer requirements for each of the 60+ local community action groups being supported by the council and key partners to match need and demand of volunteers.

Together for Cardiff (Cardiff C) 

Cardiff Council’s   Together for Cardiff scheme was set up at the onset of the COVID-19 emergency.  More than 1,200 are now registered with the scheme that has acted as a brokering service, matching people who want to help with volunteering opportunities across the city. Volunteer Cardiff  developed in partnership with third sector organisations, offers a on-line search facility of local organisations and businesses that will deliver to people’s doorstep and where residents can register to volunteer. Work is ongoing to establish a network of anchor organisations i.e. trusted and established organisations to support the many new organisations being created as a direct response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Working with Council staff, volunteers play an important role in preparing and delivering emergency food and essentials parcels for people experiencing difficulties getting supplies during the outbreak because they are self-isolating or because of the financial impact of the crisis. The Council’s Food Team has just under 1,200 volunteers and relies on between 10-15 volunteers per day to pick, pack and deliver food.

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