Not all superheroes wear capes: recruitment drive begins for Covid-19 rapid response volunteers
A recruitment drive has been launched to boost the number of volunteers who can help support Covid-related needs in their community.
The Community Resilience Delivery Group, which was set up by the Norfolk Resilience Forum as part of the local response to COVID-19, is looking to recruit 200 Covid-19 Rapid Response Volunteers to further support the volunteer response across Norfolk at a local level.
Alan Hopley, Voluntary Norfolk's Chief Executive, said: "This new volunteer role is extremely important to us and will require good communication skills to address the needs of the most vulnerable.
"Since the first lockdown, we have been fortunate to have the support of volunteers across Norfolk, but, many have now returned to their normal work roles and we again need to boost our volunteer numbers for the longer term, especially with the introduction of the new Rapid Response role.
"In times like this, the best resource you can have is people and I am confident that the residents of Norfolk will want to get involved. Ideally, we are looking for volunteers who enjoy speaking to people, can provide reassurance and guidance, are mobile and physically well."
Tom McCabe, Norfolk County Council's Head of Paid Service and Chair of the Covid-19 Strategic Control Group, said:
"This time we're better equipped to deal with a lockdown with support systems in place to help vulnerable residents and the wider community."
"Working in close partnership with our colleagues in the districts, health and voluntary sector has been key when delivering support to residents in need and we shall continue to work together to get through the winter period.
"I'd like to say a big 'thank you' to all the volunteers who have already given up their time and energy to help those in need. There's no doubt that we're all in this together and having a taskforce of superheroes willing to volunteer to protect Norfolk for the tough months ahead, is very much appreciated."
The three main tasks a Covid-19 Rapid Response Volunteer will carry out are:
Our volunteers will visit local communities with key public health messages and advice on how to stay safe and how to self-isolate. This could include leaflet drops or being available and visible in a location to be asked questions.
Community contact tracing and welfare checks
We need volunteers to visit residents with advice and support to those who have tested positive but who have not engaged with the contact tracing system. This will not require visits within homes and would be a non-contact door step activity. Visits such as this are crucial to offer people personal and financial support, because some vulnerable people might not be aware that such help is available.
A Covid-19 Response Volunteer will support public health colleagues to deliver tests to people's homes (non-contact) to explain how to do the test and how to register the test results. Collection of test samples and collation for onward transit will also be part of the testing activity.
Case study - meet volunteer Fiona Green
Fiona Green from Breckland stepped forward to volunteer in April this year, responding to Norfolk County Council's initial request for volunteers to support people during the first wave of Covid.
Fiona carried out doorstep welfare checks on people who were isolating, making sure they were OK, had everything they needed and were aware of the support available to them. When lockdown eased, Fiona continued volunteering with Voluntary Norfolk and, for the past few months, has been making befriending calls to people who are still vulnerable because of health concerns. She has two clients in Gorleston and Great Yarmouth, whom she calls once a week for 30-40 minutes.
"You can make such a difference to someone's day, even with just a phone call", says Fiona. "'We talk about all sorts of things, their health issues, or how they are occupying their time. The clients are really grateful; one person told me she wants to bottle my laugh and listen to it every day!'"
"'I have found volunteering really fulfilling and have been given lots of support by Voluntary Norfolk. I can always call my Volunteer Co-ordinator if I have any concerns or want to discuss anything.", adds Fiona.
Due to the nature of this role it is important that people applying are physically well and not classed as clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV). Full training to work in public health will be given, along with the full PPE equipment to carry out the role. Risk assessments will be carried out by council officers beforehand to ensure volunteers' safety. We also ask that those applying have availability through at least to March 2021 and are happy to fulfil tasks at very short notice. All applicants will require a DBS check (this will be part of the recruitment process if not already available) and should have access to transport, in order to travel around their district area.
Want to do something special? Come and join us
If you have any questions regarding this role or want to know more, please contact the Covid Response Team via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or read the full job description and sign up at: https://www.voluntarynorfolk.org.uk/services/volunteer-services/covid-response-volunteer-service/
Other volunteering roles
If this isn't for you, there are plenty of other volunteering roles available.
Volunteers have been on hand for people in need since the first lockdown. Typical duties include, accessing supermarket delivery slots, volunteer support to help with shopping and medicine collections, as well as support and advice.
Help is also on hand to help residents find other services that may help them in the longer term with services such as befriending and loneliness support.
For more information, please go online: https://www.voluntarynorfolk.org.uk/home-2/register-to-volunteer-2/.
By The Norfolk Resilience Forum.