In the early weeks of this scheme to match volunteers willing to help with those who need some help, we have many more available helpers than people notified to us as needing help. Therefore many helpers have not yet been called on to provide any help at all. However, we expect the number of people requiring help to continue to increase and possibly the number of available helpers to decline as illness or isolation restricts their capability. So please do continue to volunteer and to register as a helper for the difficult weeks ahead.
|Status as at:||05-Jun-2020||v50|
|Registered||Validated and available||Registered||Connections established|
Registration and validation
You are registered as a helper if you:
- Registered online, completed the web form and received the automated email response confirming receipt; or
- Completed a paper form and sent it to us.
You are a validated and available helper if you are registered and:
- You are a Grange Association member whose subscription is up to date and whose registered address matches that on your helper application; or
- You have returned an address validation code and received an acknowledgement email confirming that you are now a validated helper.
Our process provides protection consistent with GDPR on the storing and sharing of personal data, especially of isolated people who could be vulnerable. It also requires us to safeguard both the helpers and the people requesting help. For example, we must confirm that registered helpers are 18 or over. We cannot send a child to a stranger’s house. If the registered helper agrees with the person needing help that the helper’s teenage child can walk the isolated person’s dog, that is a separate matter.
For the helpers, we validate the postal addresses to be sure that applicants stay at the address they quote. For Grange Association members, we check the postal address against our records. With non-members, we send a unique validation code to the postal address, to be returned by email or phone. Given the most recent Scottish Government guidance on social distancing, we can no longer hand deliver these validation codes so we are mailing them all, accepting the delays that will entail.
When we have been told of someone requiring help, we will look for the most suitable available helper, by matching the support required and location. We will try to find a helper in the same or an adjacent street.
We then issue a standard email containing the details of the helper and the isolated person. This is sensitive data and is sent only to those two people, to the area co-ordinator, and to the person notifying us of the isolated person’s needs. The email quotes the unique helper reference number and the unique isolated person number. See this example of a connections email.
What you should do as a helper
Please tell us immediately if you are unavailable for whatever reason. Do not wait until you receive a connections email to tell us that you are not available.
If you receive a connections email, you should:
- Contact the isolated person, preferably by telephone. Do NOT go to the address without first trying to make contact by other means.
- Discuss the help that is required and how best you can provide support.
- If shopping is required, agree the shopping list, the urgency, and how payment should be made. You may arrange to leave shopping on the doorstep if the person is isolating.
- Agree a date and time for the next contact.
- Confirm to us that you have made the connection so that we can update our records.
We maintain a list of Frequently Asked Questions for Helpers.
Area Co-ordinators support the Helpers who have already been assigned, and check whether additional assistance can be provided to those who have indicated that they would welcome help. Area Co-ordinators may also ask if a person already registered to receive help knows of neighbours or others in the Grange who could benefit from the Grange Helpers scheme.
Area Co-ordinators are allocated between five and eight connections (of helpers and people requesting help) within a postcode area to monitor and support. Area Co-ordinators are all validated helpers. Their role is:
- To make contact with the Helper and the person requesting help for each connection;
- To identify whether additional support would be welcome by either the Helper or the person requesting help and to secure that additional support;
- To check whether the Helpers or those requesting help are aware of others in that area who would benefit from some help through this scheme;
- To give feedback centrally, about weekly, to confirm that the needs of the Helpers and the people needing help are being met.
Additional support could be one-off help, such as one large shopping trip with a car to a supermarket, to supplement smaller shopping trips that the Helper is already providing. Or it could be regular phone calls from another Helper if the first assigned Helper is short of time. The identification of additional support by the Area Co-ordinator is in no way intended to undermine the good work of any Helper who has already been assigned, or the relationship which each Helper develops with the person to whom they have been connected to help. Rather, it is to support that original Helper with backup to ease the burden.
And “thank you”
These are extraordinary times. Alongside the stress and anxiety of this health crisis, we are seeing magnificent examples of our community working together to help each other. By offering to help others, you are showing that generosity of spirit that will see us all through this pandemic and which demonstrates the innate kindness of the people of Edinburgh. Thank you.