The response of Buckinghamshire communities has been simply incredible. Local people are coming together to support vulnerable and isolated residents. Local community response is grassroots, community-led and often focusing on streets and neighbourhoods.
The information below aims to help people to deliver this response safely and effectively.
Are there other initiatives or organisations in your area you could link with?
Make sure your activities are linked up with other initiatives to avoid confusing duplication or anyone falling through the cracks.
Buckinghamshire Council Coronavirus Area Coordinators are the first point of contact for local volunteering groups and town & parish councils, providing a link between coronavirus voluntary groups, community leaders and others who are working to support vulnerable people. Contact your local Area Co-ordinator to make sure your group is connected with everything that’s happening locally.
Find out what else is going on in your area: look for your parish and town councils, Resident’s Associations, Good Neighbours Schemes, Street Associations, local faith organisations, Food Banks, Facebook or other social media groups.
If you are looking to join with an existing voluntary group, you can contact them directly via the Council’s directory or fill in this form to become part of the Bucks Volunteer Matching Service and join a pool of volunteers ready to be deployed where, when and how your support is needed over the coming weeks and months.
Contact the Bucks Volunteer Matching Service with information about the number of volunteers you are looking for, what type of activities they would be involved in, the location they’ll be volunteering in, and the contact details for volunteers to get in touch with you. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are an informal voluntary group, it can be difficult to access funding. Unfortunately, some people are exploiting the current situation for fraud, so it’s important to be transparent and act with integrity in order to retain the trust of the community you are supporting.
Fundraising from the general public is complicated! It’s covered by the Fundraising Regulator, and there are lots of rules and principles to abide by.
Most providers of grant funding require you to have at least:
a bank account in your group’s name.
a constitution or governing document that sets out the purpose of your organisation, and how it’s run.
You could approach an established charity or community group that already has these to discuss partnering with them so that you don’t need to set up everything afresh.
You could set up a Facebook page, leaflet your street, let your GP, church and pharmacy know that you are supporting the community. Information in parish and community newsletters are also a good way to get the word out that your group is here to help.
Let other community groups in your area know what support you are providing – find out what they are providing and work together to ensure you’re not duplicating work and that people are clear who to go to for help.
Where money is changing hands, think about how you will protect both parties from infection and potential fraud. We have produced a simple guide to shopping and handling money, which includes a range of payment options to consider.
When supporting vulnerable people, you must complete a risk assessment, particularly in order to reduce the risk of spreading the virus and the risk of fraud when the exchange of money is involved. Our counterparts at Wales Voluntary Action have produced a simple risk assessment template you can use.
If you support people who are living with conditions such as disabilities, autism, dementia, anxiety etc, then you might need to adapt your usual approach in order to best help them. You could ask charities that specialise in that area for specific advice and guidance. If you need help with this email email@example.com
If you are aware of a vulnerable Buckinghamshire resident who is not getting the support they need contact Buckinghamshire Council on 01296 383204.