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Community support

Community help hub

Gloucestershire's community help hub is a collaboration between local councils, police and health services matching local people who need help with those who can provide the help that they need during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

I want to help

Find out how you can offer help to others in your local community

I need help

Find out how you can access the support you need

Our community: be kind

This is a difficult time for everyone and we must support each other with the changes in our lifestyles that we must make to delay the spread of COVID-19.

People who are self isolating are most likely to need help at a local level and offering support to your neighbour can help meet these needs.

Download the community champion help sheet

Some of us may already be supporting our neighbours.

You can reach out to those who may be at high risk by giving them a call or posting a letter through their door with your details on and how you can help with doing the shopping, picking up urgent supplies, posting letters and making a friendly phone call.

Download the community action leaflet.

Download the community action leaflet (Polish)

Local online community groups and meal support

If you would like to find out about local online support groups and get information on food banks and meal support, please see the link below.

Information on local online community groups and meal support

Gloucestershire community help hub: advice for volunteers                                   

Social distancing and protective measures

To protect both you and the resident, please adhere to the Public Health England social distancing guidance by;

  • not handing items to residents but instead leaving items on their doorstep
  • moving two metres away (about three steps) before the resident opens the door
  • do not, under any circumstances, enter the resident’s home

Payment

Download the handling money and payment for shopping advice sheet

Where possible, avoid the use of cash. Instead use alternative methods such as BACS bank transfers, cheques or PayPal (ensuring that accounts are secure – advice below)

  • Many banks now allow you to pay cheques in simply by photographing them, so please do this where possible to limit your own social interaction and protect financial staff
  • Do not, under any circumstances, allow a resident to hand over their debit or credit card for you to use
  • Please keep yourself, and the resident(s) you are helping as safe as possible by adhering to the Public Health England guidance around handwashing, particularly after visiting ‘high traffic’ areas such as supermarkets and pharmacies
  • If you are making several deliveries, please ensure you use hand sanitiser between them for your own safety and to avoid cross-contamination
  • Further advice and guidance can be found at gov.uk/coronavirus

Securing PayPal

  • Use three random words to make a long and strong password that you don’t use anywhere else and isn’t easy to guess (avoiding family names, pets’ names, places, the word ‘Password’, sports teams)
  • Turn on two-factor authentication if possible – you will need a mobile phone or an Authenticator app on a phone or tablet for this. This means even if someone manages to get hold of your password, your account should still be secure as they will not have access to the code sent to or generated by your phone. Step by step guidance on turning on two-factor authentication for PayPal can be found here: www.telesign.com/turnon2fa/tutorials/how-to-turn-on-2fa-for-paypal/
  • Be wary of emails that appear as though they have come from PayPal – PayPal users are a common target for fraudsters and cyber criminals. If in any doubt that an email may be genuine, do not click on any links or attachments and instead log in to PayPal’s website by typing the web address into your search bar; paypal.com and logging in directly.

Gloucestershire community help hub: advice for residents

Social Distancing and protective measures

To protect both you and the volunteer, please adhere to the Public Health England social distancing guidance by:

  • not inviting volunteers into your home
  • asking volunteers to leave items on your doorstep and ensuring they move two metres away (about three steps) before you open your door
  • Once you have taken your items inside, please follow the Public Health England advice of washing your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds as some surfaces can retain the virus
  • If a volunteer or other visitor is claiming to be an official, such as a Police Officer, Council Worker, Public Health Representative or Utilities Worker, please ask them to provide identification and review this, ensuring you stay two metres (about three steps) away from them at all times
  • If a volunteer claims to be a Police Officer or Community Support Officer, please ask them to wait whilst you call 101 to verify their identity – any genuine member of staff will respect this and allow you to verify who they are
  • Be aware of fraudsters – across the UK there have been reports of individuals visiting homes offering doorstep COVID-19 Coronavirus tests or ‘cures’; these are not genuine

Payment

  • Do not send a payment for any items until you have received them
  • Where possible, avoid the use of cash. Instead use alternative methods such as BACS bank transfers, cheques or PayPal (but please ensure your account is secure – advice below)
  • Do not give a volunteer your debit or credit card for them to use

Securing PayPal

  • Use three random words to make a long and strong password that you do not use anywhere else and isn’t easy to guess (avoiding family names, pets’ names, places, the word ‘Password’ or sports teams.)
  • Turn on two-factor authentication if possible – you will need a mobile phone or an Authenticator app on a phone or tablet for this. This means even if someone manages to get hold of your password, your account should still be secure as they will not have access to the code sent to or generated by your phone. Step by step guidance on turning on two-factor authentication for PayPal can be found here: www.telesign.com/turnon2fa/tutorials/how-to-turn-on-2fa-for-paypal/
  • Be wary of emails that appear as though they have come from PayPal – PayPal users are a common target for fraudsters and cyber criminals. If in any doubt that an email may be genuine, do not click on any links or attachments and instead log in to PayPal’s website by typing the web address into your search bar; paypal.com and logging in directly.

Gloucestershire community help hub: advice for parish councills

Suitability of volunteers

We would strongly recommend Parish Councils hold a phone call with a potential volunteer to assess their suitability in terms of ensuring they are;

  • Not in a vulnerable or extremely vulnerable group themselves (see Appendix 1)
  • Not known for acts of dishonesty, theft or exploitation of others – where possible, this should be supported by open-source checks (For example, Googling the potential volunteer’s name).

Log keeping

In order to safeguard both volunteers and residents, we would strongly recommend Parish Councils keep a log of which volunteers have been paired with which residents when they are to visit and for what purpose, example below:

Volunteer

Resident

Address

Assistance

When

John Doe

Joe Bloggs

123 High Street, Gloucester

Food shopping

Friday 27 March

Communications

Please continue to promote Public Health England and government advice, such as hand-washing, social distancing or shielding, to both volunteers and residents.

The latest advice and guidance can be found at www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Appendix 1 – Vulnerable and Extremely Vulnerable Groups

Vulnerable groups:

  1. Those over the age of 70, regardless of any medical conditions
  2. Those under the age of 70 with any of the following health conditions;
  • Chronic respiratory diseases (such as asthma, COPD, emphysema or bronchitis)
  • Chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
  • Chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), a learning disability or cerebral palsy
  • Diabetes
  • Spleen problems, e.g. sickle cell disease or if you have had your spleen removed
  • A weakened immune system as a result of treatment for conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
  • Being seriously overweight – a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above
  • Those who are pregnant

Extremely vulnerable groups:

  • People who have received an organ transplant
  • People with specific cancers or undergoing specific treatments:
    • Lung cancer and having active chemotherapy or radical radiotherapy
    • Cancers of the blood or bone marrow (leukaemia, lymphoma, myeloma)
    • Those having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
    • Those having other targeted cancer treaments that can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors
    • Those who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last six months, or who are taking immunosuppression medication
  • People with severe respiratory conditions, such as cystic fibrosis, severe asthma (defined as requiring hospital admission or steroid tablets) and severe COPD
  • People with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as SCID and homozygous sickle cell)
  • Those on immunosuppression therapies that would significantly increase the risk of infection
  • Women who are pregnant with significant heart disease (congenital or acquired)
  • Those with severe disease of body systems, such as severe kidney disease requiring dialysis

Please note, these groups may change as more is known about COVID-19.

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