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C19 Helpers’ page


At the early stage of this project 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, in the first weeks, our helpers might not be 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: 04-Apr-2020 v18
Helpers Needing help
RegisteredValidated and availableRegisteredConnections established
372 296 35 34

See trend graphically

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.
If you have told us that you are unavailable, for isolation or other reasons, we will flag your record as unavailable and you will be excluded from the ‘validated and available’ figures until you tell us otherwise.


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.  

Making connections

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 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.
If you become unable to meet the needs of the isolated person, either because those needs are too great, or because your own availability is compromised, then contact us to request another helper to support or replace you. As the number of people requiring help increases, we will not be able to maintain lengthy email exchanges on each case. Please only contact us when you are not able to provide the help required, or if you cannot make contact with the isolated person or are concerned for their safety. In the absence of communication from you, we will assume that the isolated person is receiving the help required.

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.