We have been tremendously touched and impressed by the way LASSN volunteers have changed and adapted the way they offer support under social distancing. We’re particularly grateful for their flexibility and willingness to embrace new ways of volunteering – phone, video and so on – even when it has not been easy.
With the loosening of lockdown measures, we are concerned that you are no volunteers are exposed to any unnecessary risks in the course of their volunteering.
The virus has not gone away, and still poses a danger to everyone.
We still think Volunteers are best placed to decide how they want to volunteer
We want to reassure volunteers that it is completely fine to continue to volunteer in a virtual non-face to face way. There are no expectations from LASSN that volunteers will want or need to meet with the person they are matched with. We will continue to try and support people to volunteer in the way that feels right and safe for them.
Similarly, if a volunteer wishes to meet up with the person they support, we are happy to encourage this too – so long as volunteers have considered the following questions before they arrange to meet the person they are matched with.
We’d prefer to have a conversation with volunteers about their answers before they make contact. Volunteers can do this by phoning your Volunteer Manager, or by attending one of our Monday Zoom Meetings.
This conversation is the way we will support volunteers to manage the risks of meeting face to face (or side by side). It will be unique to them and their match.
If a volunteer is unable to speak with a Volunteer Manager, or Jon (the Director), or they are unable to attend the Monday Zoom meetings at 11am (pw: 627340) – we would like them to email and confirm that they have read and thought through the answers to the following questions.
It is really important that we have a note of our conversations with volunteers, so that we can assure ourselves, our Governance and our insurers that we have taken reasonable steps to protect the people who volunteer with us, and the people they support. If volunteers choose to meet with the person they support without speaking with us first, this may cause difficulties for LASSN, if something goes wrong.
Finally, LASSN recommends wearing a facemask when in close proximity to others, to help control the reduce the spread of c-19.
We have mailed out an emergency pack of face coverings to all the people we currently support, along with instructions on how to make a face covering.
We ask our volunteers to use their expenses to claim back the cost of buying reusable fabric facemasks for them and the person/people they support, up to the value of £3 each (They can be bought cheaply on ebay or made at home).
Some questions we’d like volunteers to consider, before deciding to meet up
Consider your health and the health of the person you are meeting
- Do you have any particular vulnerabilities/underlying health conditions? or do any of the people you live with?
- Does the person you are meeting (and/or the people they live with) have any particular vulnerabilities/underlying health conditions?
- A list of who is at moderate/high risk can be found here
Does the person want to meet with you?
- Remember your power in this relationship. It may be hard for the person you support to say “no.”
- If you’re thinking of suggesting that you meet up – please ask the person you are matched with and be led by them. Make it easy for them to say no, and that they can change their mind at any point
How are you/they going to get there?
- Are there c-19 related hazards/risks? (face-covering/mask for public transport, being aware of your hands and where you put them) for you or the person you are meeting
- Do you have the equipment to travel safely?
- Could you use a car or bicycle to get there?
What are you going to do?
- Is the activity one where you can socially distance?
- Do you need to go into the person’s house? And how can you minimise the amount of time spent inside, in close proximity?
- If you are using resources, how will you minimise the possibility of inadvertently passing across contaminated resources
- Are the activities ones that you can do which are side by side rather than face to face
- Are there restrictions on the kind of thing you can do together – will the person you are meeting be ok about sharing their address/contact details or complying with covid-secure rules in certain venues (cafes etc)?
Masks, face coverings and communications
- Are you going to wear a face-covering/mask when you meet the person you’re matched with?
- Have you discussed the above with the person you know?
- Will you provide a face-covering/mask for the person you know?
- How are you going to manage if the person you know does not respect social distancing?
- If meeting outside, what will you do in case of bad weather?
- What if they cannot understand you and ask you to take your face-covering/mask off?
We are proud that LASSN’s volunteers lead on all aspects of our work. The enthusiasm and kindness of our volunteers has been a lifeline for many throughout this pandemic.
So far, we are not aware of any incidences of serious illness amongst either clients or volunteers, and we are keen to try and ensure this into the future
Thanks once again and please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions, queries or comments.
Jon, Director 07845 298047 [email protected]
(and Andrew, David, Emily, Jo, Rawand, Riley, and Tina too.)