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C19 Helpers’ page


Status as at: 31-Jul-2020 v50
Helpers Needing help
RegisteredValidated and availableRegisteredConnections established
393 343 46 46

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, 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.
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. If 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, please contact your Area Co-ordinator (see below). In the absence of communication from you, we will assume that the isolated person is receiving the help required and has had active contact with you within the last few days.

We maintain a list of Frequently Asked Questions for Helpers.

Area co-ordinators

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.