Safety Guidelines for the BerkhamstedCovid-19 Mutual Aid Group – Version 1 19 March 2020


The following guidance has been put together with external agency support and in conjunction with the Covid-19 UK Group. We are all so grateful for everything everyone is doing and our aim is always to support you in helping those in our community in the safest way possible.

What volunteers can help with:

  1. • Shopping

  2. • Collecting prescriptions

  3. • Taking things to/collecting items from post offices

  4. • Any other local errands that can be conducted over the doorstep

  5. • Phone calls to provide a friendly chat

NB: Some of the tasks that are being requested in the group need to be put forward to external agencies who have the relevant DBS checks and infrastructure in place. If in doubt please contact us (info@berkocommunity.org) and we can point you in the right direction.

What volunteers are advised not do:

  1. • Enter anyone’s home or car

  2. • Provide personal care

  3. • Handle personal or valuable items

  4. • Handle bank cards or PIN numbers

  5. • Carry out childcare/home jobs/counselling

  6. • Cook food for people without a food hygiene certificate

Advice to volunteers:

  1. • Do not enter anyone’s home or car

  2. • If you are concerned about anything let someone know where you are going and what time you expect to be back

  3. • Keep a mobile phone on you at all times

  4. • Do not share personal details of the people you are supporting or other volunteers

  5. • Be prepared to show ID if requested

  6. • Do not take or share photos of anyone you are helping or other volunteers without permission – Follow the GDPR rules regarding personal data: (https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-data-protection/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr/individual-rights/

  7. • Try not to over commit yourself – it’s better to help a little and often. We may be in this situation for a while!

  8. • Try to do what you promise, and be in communication if you can no longer help. If you need support to find another volunteer please contact us and we can help. info@berkocommunity.org

  9. • If you are someone with a public facing role, the advice is that you should not volunteer, please ask another member of your local group to take your place

  10. If at any point you develop symptoms or think you may have been in contact with someone who has then isolate yourself. No longer volunteer and pass any existing promises of help over to another volunteer in your group.

Advice to anyone being supported:

  1. • Volunteers do not expect payment for their time – you should only pay for shopping or other expenses you would normally cover

  2. • Do not invite volunteers into your property – shopping and other goods can be left on door steps to avoid infection

  3. • Abuse of volunteers, verbal, racial, sexual or otherwise, will not be tolerated and will result in you being reported

  4. • If you feel that a volunteer is behaving in an unacceptable manner then please report it to the admin team immediately on info@berkocommunity.org

Advice on deliveries:

  1. • Ensure all shopping you’ve left is safe (i.e. nothing has defrosted, been damaged, ripped or opened in transit).

  2. • The recipient of the goods should check all food/supplies once they receive it, it is advised that packages are wiped down and all fresh food washed before being put away.

  3. • Public transport should be avoided where possible when delivering. In cases where taking public transport is unavoidable, disinfection of the items delivered should be carried out.

  4. • Take care 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.

  5. • Disinfect any surface that will be touched by the person you are delivering to (i.e. handles of bags).

Picking up Prescriptions

  1. • Some of the prescriptions that volunteers may collect have a potentially high street value or are class A drugs which cannot be handed over without prior consent

  2. • Prescription collection arrangements should be made between people who know each other well if possible, although in these difficult times that may not always be feasible

  3. • If you are offering to collect prescriptions please take the name, address and date of birth of the person you are collecting for to the chemist with you in case the pharmacist asks to check with the person you are collecting for

  4. • Ensure that you also take your own ID

  5. • If there is no one available to collect the prescription some chemists will deliver. This should be treated as a last resort so as not to put undue pressure on individual pharmacies.

General infection control advice:

  1. • Follow all WHO advice regarding infection control. Wash your hands regularly. There should be no direct physical contact

  2. • Volunteers should wash their hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after every contact with a beneficiary

  3. • If at any point you or a member of your household develop symptoms or you think you may have been in contact with someone suffering from COVID-19 then you should self-isolate.

Incidents and Scams

  1. • There are an increasing amount of scams related to the pandemic taking place across the UK. If anything comes to your attention that is inappropriate or dangerous please do alert the admin team – info@berkocommunity.org. For all our safety never mention any names related to any incidents on any public forum.

  2. • The admin team may remove posts if they are deemed to be unsafe for members of the group. If this happens we will notify the person who created the post that it is being removed and why. Again, this is to aim to keep everyone safe.

Berkhamsted Covid-19 Mutual Aid are an informal group of local volunteers who are joining together for the benefit of all. Everyone should be aware that whilst some volunteers are DBS checked, some aren’t and most have no medical or specialist training.

All volunteers are simply kind, community minded individuals who want to help out their neighbors at this time of crisis. As such common sense should be used by both volunteers and those being helped to keep everyone safe.

The admins and organizers accept no liability or responsibility for damage or loss of property, infection, issues with food or supplies that are delivered, or other issues resulting from contact between volunteers and those being supported.

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