31st May 2020

Volunteering in Somerset during Coronavirus outbreak

Would-be volunteers are reminded they can still help communities and those most in need during the Coronavirus (COVID 19) Pandemic.

The five councils in Somerset – Somerset County Council, Mendip District Council, Somerset West and Taunton Council, South Somerset District Council and Sedgemoor District Council – are working together to coordinate a countywide network of support for the county’s most vulnerable people.

However, we can all do our bit to help those who are likely to become more isolated by measures currently in place to delay the spread of the virus. Some simple but effective things we can all do to help include:

  • Collect and deliver shopping or medicines – leaving deliveries on the doorstep or safe place to avoid close physical contact.
  • Putting out bins or taking in parcels.
  • Help others to use Skype or FaceTime so they can see a friendly face, helping to reduce their isolation.
  • Help to care for pets.
  • Deliver books and magazines or materials to support hobbies, such as wool for knitting or art materials.
  • Reassure people with accurate and up to date advice and information and signposting people to other sources of help if needed.

It’s important to stay safe. Volunteers are advised not to enter homes, to keep a two-metre distance from the person they are helping, to wash their hands before and after a delivery and to wear protective gloves throughout. It is also advised to cancel and make alternative arrangements if the person they are supporting is feeling unwell.

If you would like to volunteer, Spark Somerset has set up a website where people who want to offer help are encouraged to register on https://www.corona-helpers.co.uk/.

Further advice and guidance for community groups can be found at https://www.sparksomerset.org.uk/guidance-cov-19-groups

The NHS has launched a campaign for volunteers, which can be accessed here

https://www.goodsamapp.org/NHS.

Somerset County Council recognises how critically important the work of volunteers and local charitable groups is at this time, and we thank them for all the support provided so far.

The Council is also supporting the Somerset Community Foundation’s Coronavirus Appeal and has pledged £50K to kickstart the campaign. Anyone who wants to donate can do so at https://www.somersetcf.org.uk/appeal