Coronavirus - advice for communities
This information was last checked on 31 March 2020.
- Concerned about one of our tenants?
- Support pack for District Councillors and Parish Councils
If you are a local resident who would like to help support other residents or vulnerable people, there are community groups who will welcome your kindness. See our coronavirus I want to help page for full details of how you can help.
The below short video may be a helpful guide that sets out how to set up a crowdfunding page. It is aimed at people not familiar with the idea of setting up a page of this type. Crowdfunding is one way of creating a small pot of money within a village or town.
If you are concerned about a Council tenant during the Coronavirus outbreak, especially if they are elderly or vulnerable, please email us their details and we will check up on them.
We have created a pack to support District Councillors and Parish Councils who may wish to coordinate community efforts to respond to the COVID-19 situation by helping one another and looking out for vulnerable individuals.
It brings together Government advice to help delay the spread of the virus and some examples of what communities are already doing to help each other.
If you are a Councillor and you are in a high-risk group, or you are self-isolating, you may not be able to be directly involved in any of the following activities. However, you may be able to organise remotely, finding willing volunteers who are not in a high-risk category.
We are working with health organisations, other councils and public bodies in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to collectively consider the latest Government guidelines on helping tackle COVID-19. Calls take place on a regular basis to make sure the public sector is working together to support local people.
Included in the pack:
- Knowing your parish
- Health advice to avoid spreading the virus
- Key information
- Suggestions on supporting vulnerable people
- Resources and support
This pack has been sent to all South Cambridgeshire District Councillors and parish councils by email - if you are a Councillor or from a parish council and haven't received this please contact the communications team.
It’s really important that everyone helps to share the most up to date, useful and factual information in their communities to make sure as many people as possible are receiving the latest guidance on the virus. One way to keep up to date is on social media, especially the following trusted accounts:
Public Health England
Cambridgeshire County Council
South Cambridgeshire District Council
Download NHS posters to remind people to regularly wash their hands to help delay the spread of the virus
Additionally, Cambridgeshire County Council has some posters that are translated into other languages. You can also see additional guidance on their website as the situation unfolds.
Work is well underway through the county-wide Cambridgeshire and Peterborough COVID-19 Co-ordination Hub to provide essential support such as food, medicines and distraction activities to those people with serious health issues identified by the Government as needing to 'shield' themselves for the next 12 weeks. The hub has been established by Cambridgeshire County and Peterborough City Councils and covers both areas. Once numbers of local residents who need to shield themselves have been confirmed, those without a reliable support network will be contacted directly by the hub with offers of support. This work is in addition to all the assistance you are giving at a local level in your communities.
Anyone who can volunteer their time as part of this Cambridgeshire County Council / Peterborough City Council coordination effort is asked to email CommunityCV@cambridgeshire.gov.uk
Registering your volunteer group
So the COVID-19 Coordination Hub can link you up with volunteers who want to help you, local people needing help, and also get the message out to the public, we ask you to register your group.
Please record details of the help you are offering, the number of volunteers available, and one set of contact details for a co-ordinated response, that people can use to reach you, stating clearly the area (for example, ward, village or specific streets) covered.
To register your group you need to go to the Cambridgeshire County Council On-line Directory of Services and then:
- Select 'sign up' at the top right-hand side of the page
- Select the ‘Create a listing’ button
- Enter your listing name, city/town/village, and reference COVID-19
- Fill in key information - including street names if you are only covering a specific area, and end with the number of volunteers available (this can be updated later)
- Tick up to 3 in the Category/subject listing, whichever you feel best suits
- Important: To fill in the ‘tags, groups and similar services’ section start to type ‘COVID-19’ and select the tag from the drop down when it appears
- Fill in the age bracket
- Fill in Contact details you want people to use to contact your group with the full address for websites and Facebook, starting with https:// by copying the link copy the link from the page. This will be displayed to the public.
- You do not need to fill in Eligibility, Referral or Facilities and Equipment, unless you have something to share.
If you have any queries about registering, please email communityCV@cambridgeshire.gov.uk.
Advice for parish councils and community groups: 25 March 2020
Please note that the below advice was issued to local parish councils and community groups on Wednesday 25 March 2020. You may find it useful to read in conjunction with the Government's 'how to help safely' advice which was issued on Thursday 26 March 2020.
- You must ensure you and your volunteers are following the latest Government advice on how to minimise the spread of the virus. You can help others while adhering to social distancing measures. You must continue to follow basic handwashing advice along with catching coughs / sneezes in tissues and binning those tissues
- The simplest thing everyone can do right now is look out for their neighbours and offer help with shopping and other errands. This can be done despite social distancing guidance – think about phone calls, emails, Skype etc. It's not just about neighbours who are self-isolating or vulnerable. Other people in the community who might also appreciate help include stretched medical staff and volunteers, staff and volunteers in key worker roles, supermarket workers and delivery drivers
- If you are carrying out a leaflet drop, ensure volunteers doing this are washing hands regularly with soap and warm water or hand sanitiser and following social distancing guidelines
- Consider how volunteers are interacting with people who require assistance. They should always maintain a distance of at least 2 metres. They can also speak via phone, Skype, What’s App, Zoom, email etc
- Can volunteers call ahead before visiting people they are assisting, to see whether they are displaying any symptoms of Coronavirus? If so, the volunteer should not enter the resident’s home. Volunteers should avoid going into people’s homes as standard. They can still provide assistance via dropping off shopping or medical supplies or phone calls to check-in
- If volunteers are dropping off shopping or medical supplies, consider how they will be delivered to the person receiving assistance without getting closer than 2 metres to them. Can they be left on a doorstep, with the volunteer then knocking at the door and then retreating to a distance of 2 metres or more? A password system could be put in place between the volunteer and resident
- Handwashing facilities should be available to volunteers and well supplied. More regular handwashing clearly requires more supplies. Make arrangements to provide hand sanitiser, tissues and cleaning products for volunteers
- Volunteers can provide information on who people should call if they feel unwell, how to use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service and leave the number for NHS 111 prominently displayed
- If you’re trying to help someone with very serious issues – don’t be afraid to flag their situation with the appropriate statutory services. If in doubt as to who / what this service is, contact email@example.com and the team will be able to signpost
- You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are struggling to find volunteers for your existing effort or you are looking for volunteers for any effort you are hoping to establish
- Volunteers should let family and friends know what they’re doing and when they will be doing it
- This is a fast-moving situation. So, all volunteers should use their own judgement to regularly assess whether they feel they are able to continue. This will be based on their personal circumstances
- People who are over 70 years old, people of any age with an underlying health condition, women who are pregnant or people identified as extremely vulnerable to severe illness as a result of COVID-19 must stay at home. Members of a household where someone is displaying symptoms should also not leave their home. These groups of people must not take part in any volunteering efforts that involve them leaving their homes. Personal circumstances must always be considered and if in any doubt, check the latest Government guidance and err on the side of caution
- Anyone who is displaying symptoms of Coronavirus should not leave their homes. If they are well enough, they may like to consider supporting volunteer efforts from home via email, Skype, What’s App, Zoom etc
- Do not visit or provide care if you are unwell. Make alternative arrangements for care
- Do not enter other people’s homes. There are ways that all volunteers can assist people in need without needing to go into their homes – such as dropping supplies at the doorstep, talking from a distance of 2 metres, updating websites, making phone calls and coordinating volunteers
- Don’t assume who a prescription should be delivered to – for instance, if a person has dementia, it’s very likely that their medication will be managed by carers or family members, so it is important that a prescription is delivered to their carer and not to the person with dementia. Always check who the prescription needs to go to
- Do not put volunteers at risk
- Don’t put any pressure on volunteers to complete any particular task. They clearly want to help and that is why they have come forward – but they are also human beings and will have their own worries and anxieties about what is happening
- Don’t forget to look after your own wellbeing and physical health during this time
- Make sure that offers of help are welcomed by residents. For instance, someone who is ‘shielding’ may welcome help in the form of food deliveries but not feel comfortable chatting to a stranger, or vice versa
The response in Cottenham
- There are 140 volunteers organised into 14 zones. Each volunteer is led by a Coordinator, and a backup Coordinator, who both live in the zone. The volunteers can perform tasks such as doing shopping, collecting prescriptions, making friendly phone calls etc
- The team in Cottenham dropped a leaflet through the door of every home in the village, asking people to get in touch if they felt they needed assistance and asked for volunteers to come forward to help the effort
- This assistance in Cottenham is a joint effort between District Councillors, the parish council and volunteers. A Zoom subscription has been purchased so that this group can communicate effectively
- There are two central teams that have been established. One collects requests for help. The other manages the Coordinators, who in turn manage the volunteers that provide the on the ground assistance in their zones
- A mental health professional is making follow-up calls to residents who request help or those who volunteers are worried about
- The group is making use of the website for the Cottenham Fun Run (which has been cancelled) and has modified it so it can be used as a pre-payment shopping system. This has been done in liaison with the local Co-op store, who are allowing volunteers to multi-buy for residents they are helping. This also means volunteers don’t have to ask for cash or payment
- The Parish Council is coordinating efforts with churches and other local groups
- More than 120 volunteers have so far been identified
- A leaflet drop to every household has taken place to flag the assistance available and to ask for volunteers to assist
- Each street has been given a “street lead” and a volunteer to assist with deliveries including medical prescriptions and groceries
- The group has a separate lead for local business enquiries
- The new HIHub website, a local community platform, is being used to update residents on the latest efforts in Histon and Impington
- The HI Volunteers public Facebook group is being used to gather support
- A community radio station has been re-established to provide daily updates and news with the local vicar providing a “thought for the day”
- One of the local charities, HI Friends, has elderly person, loneliness and wellbeing coordinators and is responsible for the wellbeing response
- The parish council has purchased a Pro Zoom account which the core team use regularly
- The local PCSO and Sergeant have provided links with the County Council officer for provision of advice on scams to be circulated to the community
- The parish council, St Mary’s Church, Linton and Sawston’s Children Centre, Linton News and Community Volunteer Program are all working together on the local response
- 40 volunteers have been identified so far
- A leaflet drafted by volunteers and printed by the parish council was delivered to every household
- The foodbank run from church is being staffed by volunteers who are collating a list of vulnerable people for a forthcoming delivery service
- Linton News is to bring out a special edition with contact cards that residents can share with neighbours to ask for assistance. This edition will also have a list of local businesses that will be open and providing a delivery service as well as times for early and vulnerable shopping sessions
- The parish council website has a dedicated Covid19 section to provide up-to-date information
- The group has reached out to the South Cambridgeshire District Council housing team to offer their support as and when required
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