Volunteering in York during COVID-19 pandemic

Bec Horner

Bec Horner

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Volunteering in York during COVID-19 pandemic

City of York Council and York CVS held a meeting last week with choice voluntary organisations in the city including Age UK, York Mind, Move the Masses, York Carers Centre and York Neighbours, to discuss training and deploying York volunteers to support our most vulnerable people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is strategy to bring together city-wide volunteers to support people with the most basic of care including:

  • Getting shopping and medication delivered
  • Calling people to check they are ok

People who would like to help and volunteer can register at www.york.gov.uk/COVIDVolunteering. This portal will ask for details of your skills, whether you are DBS checked and your availability and then match them to an existing voluntary group to deliver support where it is needed.

One of the charities mobilising their volunteers is Move the Masses.

Their usual walking buddy and free workout projects are temporarily suspended, so they are now working to ensure their volunteer workforce is robust and ready to support vulnerable and isolated people in York during the pandemic.

Move the Masses stated:

“It’s vital that support is managed by organisations with effective safeguarding policies so that people who need help and support are looked after safely and are not left open to abuse. It’s also vital that volunteers are managed with their own health and safety in mind, and that there are processes in place to ensure volunteers are not putting themselves or others at risk.”

Move the Masses are initially assisting with tasks such as collecting and delivering medication. Other tasks might be taken on as the situation develops.

York Neighbours are still providing aspects of their service. Here is what Roni Robbins, the Coordinator there, had to say:

“York Neighbours are continuing to provide a service, albeit one for essential tasks only. These include shopping, picking up prescriptions, replacing light bulbs, retuning televisions, to name but a few. We continue to make our regular phone calls to all our Neighbours to ensure that they know that they are not alone during this time and we are here to help where we can. We are working tirelessly alongside AgeUK York and Adult Social Care to ensure no-one gets left behind during this extraordinary time.”

Cllr Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council said:

“Our incredible communities and voluntary sector are a key part of how York will get through this crisis. We know that hundreds of residents across the city have already offered their help to fellow residents at this unprecedented time, and we welcome this public-spirited approach.

“We are working with care providers across the city, providing them with the latest information and advice. Our priority is looking after the physical and mental wellbeing of our older and vulnerable people.

“Together, we are working fast to create a comprehensive strategy which connects our willing and wonderful volunteers to those in greatest need. Please do play your part.”

Do YOU need support because of the impact of COVID-19? 

Those vulnerable residents who do not currently have any access to support, but who need help because of impact of COVID-19, are asked to email City of York Council’s Community Support Coordinators at covid19help@york.gov.uk or call 01904 551550 for assistance.

Contact your neighbours directly

And don’t forget, if you know your neighbours directly there is no harm in sending them a note. Let them know you are about and able to help. Give them your name, telephone number and your email address, tell them where you live and let them know what you can do (buy shopping? have a telephone chat? pick up a prescription?). Some communities have set up WhatsApp groups for the whole street so if one person is sick, someone else will be able to help.

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