COVID-19 Good Neighbour Guide

If you want to offer informal help to those who are self-isolating, here is our short guide to help ensure you are only spreading kindness and not anything else.

The Coronavirus is contagious, and we do not know fully how it spreads. If you want to help, then you do so at your own risk and make sure you follow all the practical measures to keep as safe as possible (see below). If you are over 70 and/or have a medical condition that makes you more vulnerable, then please do not put yourself at further risk by offering to help others.

To help keep yourself and others safe, please act as if you are a potential carrier of the virus and take all practical measures to prevent passing it on to others more vulnerable:

Basic rules to follow

  • Avoid physical contact (minimum 2m distance, about 3 steps) • Wash your hands fully (at least 20 secs) & regularly
  • Leave any items on the doorstep • Ask the person you are helping to wash their hands too (particularly after receiving any deliveries)
  • Avoid going inside someone’s home
  • Follow social distancing guidelines

We are doing shopping, what should we know?

Here’s a few basic precautions for handling shopping that could help keep everyone safe.

  • 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.
  • Check the safety of the products delivered. Check any packaging is sealed and the temperature of product on delivery e.g. If it’s meant to be frozen, is it still frozen?
  • Recommend that recipients wash shopping wherever possible and wash their hands after touching it.
  • 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.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing and sneezing. If no tissue, cough and sneeze into the crook of your arm.
  • Volunteers should ensure they have a low chance of becoming infected. Where possible follow social distancing protocol and don’t take unnecessary risks.
  • Public transport should be avoided where possible. In cases where taking public transport is unavoidable, disinfection of the items delivered should be carried out.
  • 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 72 hours.
  • Disinfect any surface that will be touched by the person you are delivering to.

We are picking up prescriptions, what should we know?

Some of the prescriptions that volunteers may end up collecting have a potentially high street value. This means that it’s fairly likely people will want to steal them in order to sell them on. The danger of harm is likely to be high if someone doesn’t receive the medication they need. This is thus a high risk activity and should only be done if these precautions are followed.

  • Prescriptions should be picked up in pairs.
  • Volunteers collecting prescriptions should message organisers when they have collected prescriptions.
  • Volunteers should message organisers when they have delivered prescriptions.
  • Organisers should message the requester to confirm they have had their delivery before deleting the request.
  • If you collect a prescription, do not advise on doses, preparation or administration of medication even if you have a relevant qualification. This should only be done by the prescriber.
  • The same is true of over the counter medications, such as paracetamol and ibruprofen. No advice should be given by volunteers, no matter what you’ve read. The person requesting over the counter meds must take all responsibility for their request. If over the counter then only buy and deliver the maximum amount which can be purchased by one person (ie only 16 paracetamols and not boxes and boxes. If they need boxes then this should be prescribed).
  • Don’t provide a panic buying service for paracetamols, pasta or anything else.

How do we keep everyone’s money safe?

It is not appropriate for volunteers to accept credit/debit cards from people asking for help in order to buy resources on their behalf as this is a safeguarding risk.

To reduce the risk of fraud, we recommend that wherever possible you do your shopping and come back with a receipt before asking for money from people in self-isolation. We also recommend that volunteers not make purchases larger than £30 for any one person or family in self-isolation.

Where possible payments should be made by bank transfer or paypal to minimise the risk of passing on the virus, but if that’s not possible then you can disinfect any cash you receive using soapy water.

Support your local community during COVID-19

VAL is working with Leicester City Council and Leicester County Council to build a bank of volunteers to help during the Coronavirus pandemic. If you need volunteers to support your community, or if you want to volunteer, sign up on our volunteering website.

Visit VAL Volunteering