ACORN CORONAVIRUS COMMUNITY SUPPORT

ACORN is dedicated to the protection of our communities. Members around the country have begun referring to us as the fourth emergency service!

In light of the latest developments with Coronavirus,  ACORN is organising local volunteers to support people in the community who need shopping, prescription collection, post and anything else they may need if they are stuck at home. 

(We are also campaigning for more protections for renters – see below)

If you need support…

Click on your local city, fill out the form and we’ll do our best to match you with a volunteer… 

If you can volunteer…

Click on ‘volunteer sign up’ if you want to volunteer. This may be to provide direct community support, such as going to the shops for those unable to leave their home, or to be put in touch with other volunteer organisations across our towns.

Could you chip in a few £ to help us fund leaflets, hand sanitiser & other campaign costs? Donate via PayPal now:

PROVIDING COMMUNITY SUPORT – GUIDANCE

Volunteer Guidance

The system we have designed is simple and de-centralised, aiming to link volunteers with people requiring support with shopping or collecting prescriptions.

When you sign up to volunteer, you will be directed to a local announcement only WhatsApp group. Regular outreach activities such as flyering will be announced as they are planned.

Once you are in a local WhatsApp group, you can start helping people straght away – see the Google spreadsheet which shows active requests from your local community. Look through the list and check if there are any requests you can help with that haven’t been picked up by another volunteer. Enter your name and phone number in the blue columns, and change the status of the request to ‘In Progress’.

Give the requester a call

  1. Introduce yourself and let them know you are calling from ACORN as part of the coronavirus community support project.
  2. Ask the requester what they need assistance with. They may have thought of extra things they need since they completed the form.
  3. Make sure their request is for one of these things: food and supplies; collecting prescriptions and medicine; sending or collecting post; check-in calls. Guidance for each category is below.
  4. Confirm their address and how they can pay. The form only asks for postcodes to keep people safe, you will need to discuss the exact delivery details with them personally. 

    WE RECOMMEND THAT YOU DON’T DO MORE THAN £20 SHOPPING PER TIME

If their request is for something outside of these categories, let the requester know you might not be able to help, and message one of the administrators of your local WhatsApp group for advice. We can help you figure out if it is something we can help with, or whether we should refer the requester to other services or organisations for specialist support. 

Guidance for all Deliveries

Please read carfully:

  1. Don’t go into any houses. Leave food/ goods outside the doorstep. Communicate to the person in isolation that you have delivered via message or phone call. Get confirmation that the person has received it before you leave. 
  2. Remember to wash hands before and after deliveries. Where possible wash for 20 seconds with soap and water. When out and about keep a bottle of alcohol hand sanitiser to hand. 
  3. Volunteers should ensure they have a low chance of becoming infected. Where possible follow social distancing protocol and don’t take unnecessary risks.
  4. Public transport should be avoided where possible. In cases where taking public transport is unavoidable, disinfection of the items delivered should be carried out. 
  5. Take care to wear gloves when handling any items which may be given to people who may have compromised immune systems. The virus can live on inanimate surfaces for up to 24 hours. 
  6. If you cannot wear gloves, disinfect any surface that will be handled by the person you are delivering to.
  7. After every request is completed, open the spreadsheet and change the status of the request to ‘Complete’.
Food & Essential Supplies
  1. Ask for a list of the items that they need you to collect for them.
  2. Ask where they want you to purchase their items from.
  3. Chat with them about arranging payment between you. The principles of mutual aid we are using are based on an agreement between you as individuals based on trust. If you’re worried about being able to afford their items or that they may be unable to pay, contact an administrator on the WhatsApp group for advice. 
  4. Arrange a time to drop their shopping requests to their house. Make sure you leave enough time to go to the shop to buy everything!
  5. Follow all the safety guidance outlined above to deliver their items.
Medicine and Prescriptions

https://www.pharmacy2u.co.uk/ offer a free delivery service. For anyone requiring prescription collection, direct them to that. You may need to talk them through it. Details are on the website. 

With the possibility of this and other services get overun in the next few weeks, we are developing a safeguard-checked volunteer-led system that will be able to respond. 

Post
  1. If they need you to collect post, ask them where the collection location is, if there are any special codes or information needed to collect the item, and if there is any cost involved in sending their item.
  2. If they need to send an item, ask them what it is, where it needs to be sent from, and if there is any cost involved in sending their item.
  3. If they need to pay for anything, chat with them about arranging payment between you. The principles of mutual aid we are using are based on an agreement between you as individuals based on trust. If you’re worried about being able to afford sending their item or that they may be unable to pay, contact an ACORN organiser before you complete the request.
  4. Arrange a time to collect/deliver their post.
  5. Follow all the safety guidance outlined above.
General Volunteer Safeguarding Advice

Follow Public Health England advice. Wash your hands regularly, for at least 20 seconds. Avoid touching your face.

If you are worried about symptoms, please consult the NHS guidance. If symptoms are severe call NHS 111 . Do not go directly to your GP or other healthcare environment. Immediately stop carrying out deliveries or in person support work.

If you are collecting a prescription for someone else, follow NHS guidance. Most prescriptions are sent electronically direct to a pharmacy from the GP surgery and you can collect the medicine on their behalf if the person has told the pharmacy that they are happy for you to do so. In rare cases where paper prescriptions are used, the patient and person collecting will need to fill out an FB10 form.

To avoid infection: 

  1. Don’t go into any houses. Leave food/ goods outside the doorstep. Communicate to the person in isolation that you have delivered via message or phone call. Get confirmation that the person has received it before you leave. 
  2. Remember to wash hands before and after deliveries. Where possible wash for 20 seconds with soap and water. When out and about keep a bottle of alcohol hand sanitiser to hand. 
  3. Volunteers should ensure they have a low chance of becoming infected. Where possible follow social distancing protocol and don’t take unnecessary risks.
  4. Public transport should be avoided where possible. In cases where taking public transport is unavoidable, disinfection of the items delivered should be carried out. 
  5. Take care to wear gloves when handling any items which may be given to people who may have compromised immune systems. The virus can live on inanimate surfaces for up to 24 hours. 
  6. If you cannot wear gloves, disinfect any surface that will be handled by the person you are delivering to.

For more FAQ’s about this project, please see here

ACORN’s Protect Renters Campaign

The Government’s budget of the 11th March 2020 set out emergency measures to be introduced to help deal with the Coronavirus outbreak and the economic impact it will have on businesses and employees.

The budget did not set out any plans to protect renters from eviction or rent arrears.

ACORN is calling for the government to take action to protect renters, demanding rent waivers, mortgage waivers, and all evictions stopped.  

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