Although we’re all still getting used to what Tier 5 means – it’s clear that we’ll be in it for at least a couple of months, so it feels right to communicate our thinking on things (so far) with a smile and a sigh and to hopefully provide some useful resources to help you in your volunteering.
What are the new Tier 5 Rules?
What does this mean for volunteering at LASSN?
The Government summarise their current restrictions as message as “Stay Home”. We want our advice to be equally clear and consistent.
So we are advising everyone – volunteers and the people they support – to be extremely cautious and to act as if they have the virus, and to avoid meeting up for the duration of the Tier 5 restrictions.
The Government rules say I can leave the house for volunteering – so why can’t I meet up?
Yes, it’s possible to argue this – but the situation is complicated: different volunteers and clients have different clinical vulnerabilities. (People from migrant backgrounds remain over-represented in the number of people contracting and dying of COVID). The rules for meeting up – even socially distanced and outside – are also not simple. For example, you can walk together, but you can’t sit down on a bench together. The person you wish to meet may not be able to bring children/dependents with them. There are also risks associated with travelling to and from an outdoors meeting place.
If you believe someone really needs contact in person, please discuss this with your Volunteers Manager and we will work out how they can get the support they need.
This is so upsetting and frustrating.
Yes. It is. We are trying to do everything we can to help to support people as best we can, but the new strain of COVID makes it even more difficult than it was in March 2020. We also have a duty of care towards our volunteers and staff – so we cannot and will not ask you to put you (or the people you live with) at extra risk.
So – what can we do?
Staying in touch by phone is really really important. Texts and messaging are really good ways of staying in touch, and are sometimes easier than awkward conversations.
Over Christmas we doubled the amount of support with phone costs from £10 per month to £20 per month. (there are PAYGO SIMs with unlimited calls/data/texts for £20 per month). We will continue to provide all LASSN volunteers and clients with up to £20 a month towards their phone/data costs, until the end of February 2021, when we will review if we can still afford to do this.
This is all very well – but it’s really hard to find things to talk about if neither of us are going out/doing much.
We reckon our volunteers have a vital role in keeping people safe. By asking the following questions, you can really help to keep people safe.
- How are you feeling?
- How are things with you and your partner?
- How are the children doing?
- Have the school been in touch about free school meals?
- Are they getting lessons to do at home?
- Is anyone else helping you right now?
- Do you have the food/medicines you need? – Would you like us to try and find someone who can help you with this?
- Does anyone have any symptoms?
- Do you know what to do if you have symptoms?
- Where do you get up-to-date information about the Virus and the restrictions? Would you like help to find out more?
- Would it be helpful to call you with an interpreter so we can talk in more detail?
It’s really stressful to ask questions when I don’t know the answers. People can get upset or expect me to solve things if I’ve brought them up.
This is true. But you are in a unique position to help people find the support they need. Signposting is really hard when people lack confidence – but your volunteer Manager can support you with this as well. If we know there is a problem, we can try and act to solve it together. If we don’t know, the problems go unspoken and that is probably worse.
It’s impossible to know who can help – which organisations are open, who is shut, or how to be helpful. A lot of the information online is out of date. I don’t think I should be advising people about things I don’t understand.
You are absolutely right. Things are extremely fluid and will remain this way for a few months at least. But if you stay in touch with your Volunteer Manager, they will make sure you have the best most up to date information that’s available. You can call us or email us in the usual way (our details are here). Most of what we know about changing local arrangements comes from http://migrationpartnership.org.uk and http://migrantinfohub.org.uk.
Is there anything else I should know?
In addition, LASSN staff will be available on Zoom every Monday morning 10:00 – 12:00 to provide you with advice and support, and to answer any questions you have http://bit.ly/lassnzoom It may not always be “your” Volunteer Manager (we’ll be using a rota) but whoever is there will be able to help.
Here is a list of resources you may find helpful. It not exhaustive, but maybe a useful start and is adapted from the info we posted about support over the Christmas period.
Refugee and Asylum Seeker Support
- Migrant Help telephone advice and guidance for asylum support and repairs issues is now open 24/7 – 0808 8010 503
- Refugee Council’s Telephone infoline – 0808 196 7272
- Meeting Point’s drop ins on Mondays 14:30-17:00 and focus on providing food, clothing and a warm, friendly social space for refugees and asylum seekers.
- PAFRAS Drop in on Wednesdays 10:00 – 13:00.
COVID Info and support
Translated materials on Covid related topics
- Let’s hope no one needs to use these Resources for people who have been detained – but better to know about them than not. GOV have issued Covid guidance on staying in touch with people in Removal Centres
Domestic Violence Support
- Leeds Domestic Violence Service 24HR HELPLINE 0113 246 0401
- Leeds Food Aid Network are constantly updating their signposting documents, that can be found here
- Cultural Food Hubs
- Urgent treatment Centres are for people who need to see a Doctor or a Nurse urgently, but where the condition is not life-threatening. Here are the details of the Urgent Treatment Centres in Leeds open every day from 8am – 11pm
- NHS Walk In at Shakespeare Medical Centre in Lincoln Green is also open every day 8am – 8pm
- Emergency Dentists can be accessed by calling 111
Mental Health and Wellbeing –
- The Mindwell website is a good first stop for most things mental health in Leeds
- Live Well Leeds have a really useful list of Emergency Contacts on their website
- Meet and Connect – online socials Contact Hala 07832 977006 or Anna 07927 808375
Asylum Seekers and Refugees should contact LCC Housing options – their out of hours number is 07891 273939
- Some emergency accommodation for roofless people (including asylum seekers, refugees and EU/non-EU migrants) is available via LCC Housing Options. Asylum seekers should be referred to PAFRAS or British Red Cross
- St George’s Crypt will only usually take refugees or people with the right to remain in the UK.
- If temperatures drop beneath zero degrees overnight then the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol kicks in and anyone can find shelter, regardless of their immigration status. You can find out if the SWEP has been declared by looking at the Street Support Website. Check daily after 3pm
All homeless Households with Children under 16
- Homeless Households with children under 16 should contact Leeds City Council and ask for help under Section 17 of the Children Act, regardless of their immigration status. They can also use the emergency out of hours number 07891 273939.
- Lost ARC/Aspen card queries – 0808 8010 503 (open 24/7 Migrant Help)
- This UK.GOV web tool takes you through a series of questions to help you find the right place to contact
- Covid -19 related changes to the Asylum Process from Right to Remain
Immigration reporting centres
- Current guidance and contacts details
- Leeds 0300 1065267 [email protected] (open 09:30 – 14:30 Monday – Friday inclusive)
Removals & return
- Removals, deportations, detention – West Yorkshire Enforcement Team 0113 386 5719 (open 07:00 – 21:00 hrs 7 days a week)
- Voluntary Departure team – 0300 004 0202