Coronavirus – Advice for Organisations Responding to the Crisis

If your organisation is planning to support people through the Covid-19 crisis, Hunts Forum is here to help you do this as effectively and safely as possible.

Many community organisations across Huntingdonshire are pivoting to support people who are ill, who are in vulnerable groups or who need help for any other reason. Some are established organisations while others have appeared recently to respond to this crisis. Both need to find new ways of working, and quickly.

From this page you’ll find lots of useful advice, checklists and sample documents. Please help yourself to these resources and adapt them as necessary. These pages are being updated regularly so please check back for the latest advice.

Checklist for Covid-19 Volunteer Groups

What is the structure of your organisation?

  • Mutual aid groups that have no formal management structure, insurance, screening checks or cash-handling processes can work well for a small group of people such as a street but may to struggle over a larger area. It may be easier and safer to redeploy these volunteers via an established organisation.
  • Established community and voluntary organisations can use their policies and procedures (including volunteer recruitment, safeguarding, risk assessments, data protection, insurance) to good effect to support people across larger areas.
  • Town and parish councils can have a role to play, perhaps as a centralised point of contact and for handling card payments for shopping over the phone or online. They might deploy volunteers directly or work in conjunction with local community organisations or mutual aid groups.

Read our guidance for people looking to volunteer here.

Regardless of your size and structure, make sure volunteers are acting in a safe way – see our guidelines here.

Organisations of all sizes need to figure out how people pay for their shopping while they are self-isolating. Read our guidance notes here.

What are you asking your volunteers to do?

  • It is imperative volunteers are told what they are expected to do. The clearer you can be, the less chance there is for confusion and disagreements later. If possible, a volunteer role description/agreement should be created and given to each volunteer. Download our model volunteer agreement here.

What support are you giving your volunteers?

  • Volunteers should have a named person as their main point of contact, plus a second contact should the named person become ill.
  • Consider giving the volunteers guidance on what to do if they have a problem i.e. how to report a safeguarding concern or if they have concerns about a person’s health.
  • Keep things simple for them – create a single document with everything they need to know to carry out their specific role. Here are some suggestions for people answering calls for help and people delivering groceries and prescriptions.
  • Give volunteers a letter that they can carry to demonstrate that they are acting on your behalf. Click here for our model document.

How are you protecting your volunteers?

  • The health and safety of the volunteers are paramount. Make sure that your volunteers are aware of the guidance given on the government website.
  • Don’t ask volunteers to do anything that puts them at an unnecessary risk, such as receiving cash from someone who is infected.
  • The volunteers may be volunteering alone, consider having a lone working policy and make sure they are aware of it. Click here for our model lone working policy.
  • Make sure the volunteer doesn’t take too much on. The current situation is overwhelming for us all and some may feel the need to take more on than they can deal with. Have a team of volunteers supporting groups of people in need, so there’s no one volunteer who feels solely responsible for a particular person.

How are you protecting the people you want to help?

  • The people you are helping may be vulnerable. You should complete a risk assessment, particularly with consideration to reducing the risk of cross-contamination when handling shopping, delivering it and paying for goods. Click here for our model risk assessment for activities relating to coronavirus.
  • Adopt a safeguarding policy and put it into action – click here for more information and our sample policy.
  • Be clear about what roles require a DBS check – click here for more information.
  • There are already examples of people using this opportunity to commit fraud. What measures can you put in place to protect your scheme from dishonest behaviour? Read our advice for preventing fraud here.
  • A sensible precaution is to centralise the handling of money rather than leaving it to the volunteer and recipient. Read our advice on payments here.

Are you looking after people’s information correctly?

  • Confidentiality of people’s information is a legal requirement under GDPR legislation. Seek express permission before gathering it, store it securely and only share it when necessary.
  • Remember that you are responsible for the data you hold of both volunteers and clients.
  • Find out more about GDPR here.

Are you ensuring that your organisation stays healthy through this crisis?

Don’t forget to look after your organisation’s sustainability. Read our advice here.


Something wrong with or missing from this page? Please tell us.

Back to the Coronavirus Portal landing page.