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

Friend in Need (Bridgend CBC) 

During the COVID-19 pandemic Bridgend County Borough Council worked alongside Bridgend Association of Voluntary Organisations (BAVO) to expand the Community Companions befriending scheme recognising, the need to adapt approaches in relation to the pandemic and restrictions. BAVO and the Council wanted to provide support to individuals in different ways including telephone befriending to support social distancing particularly targeting older more isolated adults over the winter period. During 2020 there were 229 referrals received for befriending support. A total of 145 individuals were supported with befriending opportunities, with 102 volunteers involved in telephone befriending and 50 individuals involved in the pilot of the intergenerational pen pal scheme. This scheme has continued to grow despite the disruptions of schools closing and BAVO have made links with a local primary school during lockdown to write letters/drawings which were developed into postcards to send out to Community Companions beneficiaries and volunteers.

Monmouthshire Community Volunteering (Monmouthshire CC) 

Monmouthshire County Council and third sector organisations worked together during the initial lockdown in March 2020 to build a support structure for community groups. The support structure involved training and screening volunteers for safeguarding, sharing information, building neighbourhood networks and providing a single point of contact in the council who could assist the groups with any challenges they were facing. Asset-based principles and belief and trust in communities were the foundations of the council’s strategy to manage lockdown. The strength of the council’s relationships with the existing community groups and new mutual aid groups meant that the council was able to benefit from the support of the communities in much more than shopping and collecting prescriptions. This type of approach led by the community and driven by personal relationships has inspired the creation of the county’s new Town Ambassador Programme. Organised by town councils, with support from the county council and GAVO, the programme sees local volunteers meet with those who feel uncertain about leaving their homes and walk with them around the town centre. The volunteers are given training so they can advise about the COVID-19 measures in place around the town centre and shops, chat about general wellbeing and signpost to local services.

 

Further details are captured in New Local study (Jan 2021): Shifting the Balance: Local adaptation, innovation and collaboration during the pandemic and beyond 

Gwynedd’s Community Spirit (Gwynedd C) 

Within the first two weeks at the start of lockdown in March 2020, over 600 people had registered to volunteer with Mantell Gwynedd’s Volunteer Bank. Gwynedd Council and third sector bodies held formal weekly online meetings and worked together in a more joined-up manner to serve the needs of communities by identifying gaps, sharing resources and stepping up to the demand. Although the nature of volunteering has changed since the initial lockdown with many people returning to work or education, the volunteering spirit has remained. Many of the people who originally registered to volunteer with Mantell Gwynedd at the beginning of the initial lockdown reached out to volunteer again during the Autumn Firebreak.

 

Further details are captured in New Local study (Jan 2021): Shifting the Balance: Local adaptation, innovation and collaboration during the pandemic and beyond

Conwy Community Support Service (Conwy CBC) 

Conwy County Borough Council established the Community Support Service(CSS) helpline in March 2020, the purpose of which was to provide assistance to anyone within the community who wasn’t able to call on friends, family or neighbours to ask for help with picking up shopping, delivering medication etc. Assistance was initially provided through volunteer matching and we then moved on to using temporarily redeployed staff from other services within the council. Volunteers were encouraged to register with Community & Voluntary Support Conwy(CVSC) to be matched with local organisations. Conwy CBC have an agreement with a number of local shops and both Tesco stores in the county to take payment over the phone from individuals using the CSS for shopping requests. When the Conwy Staff are at the till, the shop ring the customer who then pay for their shopping over the phone. There is also a process in place to assist if individuals have no means to pay by card over the phone. The CSS service has been scaled back in line with easing lockdown rules and the number of requests we receive reduce. All surgeries and pharmacies have been informed and have been encouraged to register with the RedCross if they need assistance with prescription deliveries.

Supporting Isolated Vulnerable People through the Buddy Scheme (Caerphilly CBC) 

During the third week of March Caerphilly CBC wrote to all 70,000 plus households in the county borough offering support for people concerned about the UK Government advice to self-isolate if over 70, or with an underlying health condition, if they felt they would be unable to cope with daily shopping or picking up prescriptions. 1560 older and vulnerable adults rang the dedicated helpline asking for support. At the same time a call to action was issued to staff able to help as volunteers to provide an immediate response. Over 590 staff eventually ended up acting as Buddies being matched with up to 10 older and vulnerable adults/families each. As accessing cash was a difficulty, and no WCVA cash handling guidance existed at that time, corporate credit cards and petty cash access was set up at short notice to prevent allegations of financial abuse and fraud. Residents were invoiced at a later date for shopping bought on their behalf. At the same time the Council provided enhanced DBS checked drivers to local pharmacies to help with deliveries of medication as normal driver services were not operational. As the lockdown eased and shielding ended many staff have continued to maintain a befriending role with the people they have been supporting. The scheme is now working with the voluntary sector and local community groups to support the lesser number of people still requiring support through the Community Regeneration Team working with the local CVC. A jointly appointed Volunteer Coordinator is helping to manage the Buddy Scheme with a view to developing a more formal corporate volunteering scheme as a legacy. The Community Regeneration Team are working closely with local community COVID volunteer groups particularly in helping isolated people registered on the Buddy Scheme become more connected to their communities.

Safe and Well Project to support vulnerable residents (Neath Port Talbot C) 

The Neath Port Talbot Council Safe and Well Service was established at the start of the coronavirus outbreak to support residents who were shielding and had nobody to call on for help with daily living tasks such as shopping and collecting medicines.

Members and officers also identified other groups of people who needed support, including people who needed to self-isolate and had no support, young carers, parents of children entitled to free school meals unable to receive BACS payments; and carers of people shielding and self-isolating.

Approximately 1,300 people received support from the service between the end of March 2020 and the end of June 2020.

A food hub was established where staff from a number of different departments collaborated to source food, ensure its safe storage, handling and distribution, made deliveries, kept good records, prepared healthy menus that catered for specific dietary requirements and ensured emergency food provision where circumstances warranted it. These arrangements were identified by Welsh Government as an example of good practice.

Circa 100 employees volunteered in their own time and circa 450 residents registered an interest to volunteer with the service. Volunteers were trained and then worked with local councillors to support the local community. A Volunteer Co-ordinator will be recruited in order to support the project and function and a strategy is being developed with input from councillors and community organisations to establish what will be needed in the ‘new normal’.

Together we are fighting Coronavirus Covid-19 (Flintshire CC) 

Flintshire County Council have been working in partnership with Flintshire Local Voluntary Council (FLVC)  to ensure vulnerable people receive appropriate support.  Prior to Covid-19, (FLVC)  already had access to a directory of validated community organisations i.e. those who were constituted, had received appropriate training and had policies in place, such as safeguarding. This Directory is updated as new community groups set up. FLVC employ two staff based with the Council’s Single Point of Access (SPoA) team signposting and supporting individuals to access the voluntary and community support available across Flintshire. Furloughed staff from organisations who work closely with the Council have been encouraged to volunteer via the Volunteering Wales website. Over 200 people have stepped forward to volunteer in Flintshire, 84 individuals chose to volunteer for the council and virtual training has been put in place. Together we are fighting Coronavirus COVID-19 

 

Vale Heros (Vale of Glamorgan C) 

Vale of Glamorgan Council has established a Crisis Support Team to provide information and assistance and works closely with Glamorgan Voluntary Service  and Cardiff & Vale Age Connects, directing people to organisations that can help. Vale Heros  is a searchable database that helps connect individuals in need of support with those offering it. People can register if they need assistance with grocery shopping or medicine collection, for example, as can individuals or groups able to help with such tasks. Currently, numerous people are volunteering across the Vale, with over 2000 coming forward since March when the Covid-19 crisis hit.

A new Vale Heros Crisis Fund has also been established to offer grants of up to £3,000 to community groups, the voluntary sector, town and community councils and eligible businesses.

Community Resilience Hubs (Rhondda Cynon Taf CBC) 

Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council quickly established seven Community Resilience Hubs. comprising of  ‘virtual’ multi-disciplinary and organisational teams from Council services and partners, led by Council Community Coordinator.

The Community Resilience Teams contact all the people who request assistance, and those on the NHS Shielded lists, to provide support with shopping, picking up prescriptions, dog walking, and befriending services, matching the needs of residents with local volunteers, community groups, partner organisations, or by providing staff support.

To date, over 2800 residents have been supported by the Community Resilience Centres and close to 11,000 residents on the NHS Shielded list contacted by ‘phone with an active offer of support. 

The council were overwhelmed by over 1100 applications for volunteers and have currently paused recruitment as they work to mobilise Community Resilience Volunteers in response to local need.

Community Connectors in Powys (Powys CC) 

Powys County Council, Powys Teaching Health Board and Powys Association of Voluntary Organisations (PAVO), as key partners of Powys Regional Partnership Board ,  established a Community Sector Emergency Response Team (C-Sert) to coordinate and support emergency response to people in the community who may be affected by COVID 19 through formal and informal volunteers. The CSERT, with the assistance of thirteen Community Connectors based around the county, arrange practical support for vulnerable (shielding and non-shielding) residents from local volunteers through local support networks. In terms of services offered through the CSERT, is provided with shopping and medication collection as well as a befriending service to help tackle loneliness and social isolation. Powys has around 4,000 volunteers across the county at any given time. The CSERT have been very pro-active in increasing formal volunteer support during the pandemic

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.

Newport City Council 

Newport City Council (NCC) has put in place a robust set of practical support mechanisms to help those in the community who are most vulnerable. This has been helped significantly by the already implemented community hub approach supported by the Council’s spatial data team. The council has maintained its vital contact centre to continue service support and has put in place a free phone number for the hubs. Working with Volunteer Matters and GAVO, Newport has over 300 volunteers working in communities. NCC is enhancing foodbank parcels with extra essential items. The council is helping to provide baby bundles (milk, nappies, wet wipes etc.) that have been purchased for distribution to the most vulnerable as identified by health visitors as well as activity packs for young children and well-being packs for older residents. 

Joint COVID-19 Co-ordinators group (Isle of Anglesey CC) 

The Isle of Anglesey County Council have established a joint Covid-19 Co-ordinators group across Statutory and third sector organisations. The group, chaired by the Council’s Leader is part of the island’s response to the pandemic. It consists of the Council and the third sector led by Medrwn Mȏn and Menter Mȏn who are working to mobilise Covid-19 community support groups on the island. The co-ordinators group have developed a Covid-19 community guidance. The council has 860 registered volunteers operating within 36 area teams. Sixty of these volunteers are classed as specialist volunteers as they have a current DBS. Through community support, volunteer groups and ‘neges’ meals service around 675 individuals are being supported, with a further 325 individuals receiving assistance with prescription collection, food shopping and referrals to various support services.

Gwynedd Council 

Gwynedd Council have deployed 23 officers to create a COVID Support Team set up to make contact and deal with inquiries from all resident who are isolated and/or concerned about their circumstances due to COVID-19, contact details are available on the Council’s website. Within the first 11 days in April the councils Team had over 1,000 calls from self-isolating and high risk shielding individuals. The calls for advice, signing up for the emergency foodbox and/or to arrange collection of medication. The Befriending schemes support vulnerable residents with shopping, collecting medicines, preparation and delivery of food etc. Alongside Menter Mon, Gwynedd Council have collated a list of food businesses across Gwynedd offering a range of service support residents during the pandemic. There are 600 volunteers registered to the Volunteer Bank of the local Volunteer Council, Mantell Gwynedd.

Ceredigion 

Ceredigion County Council (CCC) have been working in partnership with Ceredigion Association of Voluntary Organisations (CAVO) to coordinate the volunteer response to COVID-19. Clear process has been put in place for individuals wishing to volunteer in different communities, whereby CAVO ‘match’ volunteers with groups or organisations. As of the 24th April 2020, 192 volunteers had signed up in response to COVID-19. CAVO and CCC are working in partnership to update resource lists three times a week. These are available on the Local Authority website and include a directory of meal deliveries, shopping and prescription collection, support groups in each community across Ceredigion.

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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