Volunteer effort aims to beat coronavirus

Shopping volunteer

A drive to get those who are healthy to support communities through the Covid-19 epidemic has been launched

30th March 2020 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Volunteers are set to show that Scotland Cares through the coronavirus crisis.

The Scotland Cares campaign has been launched to encourage people to volunteer during the pandemic.

The Scottish Government has said while the most important ask for the public remains to stay at home and follow the essential public health guidance, people who are healthy and not at risk can volunteer to provide practical or emotional help to those most in need.

The Ready Scotland website is being constantly updated and provides advice on volunteering safely and the organisations to register an interest with such as Volunteer Scotland and the Red Cross.

“We know there are a huge number of people who are already volunteering and many more with a desire to help their communities, public services and voluntary organisations. And for that we are incredibly grateful,” said First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

“This site means that those who are able to can contribute in a way which makes a real difference. It helps people to help each other, as we all get through this together.”

In line with Scotland’s current stay at home rules the public can only volunteer to carry out tasks which involve leaving their home, once a day, if you are not required to be isolating and are not in any risk categories.

Cabinet secretary for social security and older people Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “The Scottish Government is working closely with local government and a range of partners to co-ordinate the volunteering effort across Scotland.

“By providing this national portal we will be able to connect people to where their contribution is most needed in their local community, ensuring everyone can play their part in helping Scotland come through this pandemic.

“For some, that may involve roles responding to specific needs in health and social care. For others, it may be that we draw on their skills, enthusiasm and energy in the weeks and months to come.

“It is important to remember that the most helpful thing many of us can continue to do to help the NHS is to stay at home and follow all Covid-19 guidance.”

Norman McKinley, executive director of UK operations for the British Red Cross, said: “We have been humbled by the outpouring of kindness across the country and the numbers of people wanting to play their part. We are proud to partner with the Scottish Government to encourage even more volunteers to sign up with the Red Cross and help others when they are needed.

“We want to help support and strengthen communities who are already doing so much to support others, by harnessing the power of people’s kindness into a coordinated network of volunteers. They will be called upon in the weeks and months ahead, to assist the vital work that’s already happening to distribute food, medicines and supplies to those who can’t get out themselves.

“People who are well can also receive alerts to join the work of existing initiatives such as food banks and community groups in their local area, through organisations such as FareShare and the Trussell Trust. By coming together, we can make sure everyone’s individual needs can be met, and no-one is forced to face this crisis alone.

“Even if you are currently self-isolating, you can still show your kindness from home by registering as a Community Reserve Volunteer and receiving useful tips on facing the challenges of this pandemic, which you can help others with by sharing with them, too. It is this spirit of kindness that will keep us together.”

Think you can help?

Those wanting to volunteer to support their communities have three options which are signposted from the Ready Scotland website:

• returning NHS workers will be directed to existing voluntary arrangements in NHS Scotland

• people wishing to offer their support to our public services, including the NHS and local authorities, will be directed to a site co-ordinated by the British Red Cross

• those looking for opportunities with other charities or community groups in their area will be directed to Volunteer Scotland for information

• The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) has created a community directory to provide vital support to voluntary groups and the public during the current crisis. The Covid-19 Third Sector Information Hub allows groups to share what non-medical help they can offer to the public and other organisations