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FAQs for Groups

In this section, you will find some frequently asked questions and answers, which may be particularly helpful for groups at this time.

 

I want to set up a community group in my area, how should I do this?

Support is available for local community groups and organisations from local charities from Basingstoke Voluntary Action who can provide advice and guidance on a range of subjects such as volunteering and fundraising. They can also advise whether a group already exists in the area providing the same service and signpost volunteers to support the group.

How do we manage people's prescriptions?

Ordering Prescriptions

The following temporary guidance for prescription ordering is suggested: 

  • Where possible prescriptions should be collected by patients or a family member/friend.
  • If this is not possible, check if their community pharmacy is able to deliver
  • Only if the above options are unavailable, then consider collection/prescription through this procedure. 
  • Check that there is no close family member or friend that could collect and deliver the prescription.  
  • Arrange collection and delivery by a volunteer. 
  • Ensure you have the following information: 
    1. Name and address of the pharmacy 
    2. Name and address of the individual  
    3. Whether they are exempt from paying for prescriptions and the reason why
    4. If the individual does pay for prescriptions, they will need to contact the pharmacy and pay via debit or credit card, prior to the prescription being released.  
    5. Confirmation the prescription has been ordered and paid for as above.   
    6. Whether the prescription is urgent i.e. will run out in next day or two, or non-urgent. 
    7. Delivery requirements e.g. knock loudly, wait a while for them to get to the door, access requirements for communal entrances 
    8. Remind the individual if they have not received their medication in the timeframe expected, they should contact you again. (This is to ensure that prescriptions are delivered correctly). 
  • Collate all the prescription requests throughout the day and send each pharmacy a list of the patients prescriptions which will be picked up by a volunteer the next day:  
    1. If your organisation has already made arrangements with local pharmacies on how volunteers can collect prescriptions, please follow themOtherwise, arrange with the pharmacy a process for collecting bulk prescriptions. This may be different for each pharmacy. Some may suggest using the back door or joining a separate queue. Ensure you tell them you are a Local Response Centre volunteer. You may be required to show proof of this when you collect the prescriptions.
    2. Add the arrangements for the pharmacy to the centrally stored pharmacy list for other volunteers to see. 
  • Some pharmacies may need to close during the outbreak period. Pharmacies have been set up with a buddy pharmacy where prescriptions will be sent in case of a closure. Many pharmacies will close their doors to the public for a couple of hours during the day, normally over lunchtime hours to ensure they can prepare prescriptions in a safe and timely manner. This type of closure will not defer to the buddy system. To find out which pharmacies have closed, check your local response centre email address 

Collecting Medication

Collecting and delivering medicines to people is a vital role in current times. Whether to patients in self-isolation or those who may already be house-bound due to other existing medical issues; it is important that the correct medicine is delivered to the correct patient.  

  • We recommend where possible that you pick up prescriptions from Pharmacies in batches.  
  • Upon arriving at the pharmacy you will be asked to provide your ID.    
  • The pharmacy will provide sealed packets for each of these patients. Please ensure they are sealed and labelled. 
  • Check name and address details on the collected prescriptions to ensure that they match the details of the intended recipients on your list. 
  • Store the packets securely in the vehicle, preferably out of site in the boot or rear of the vehicle. Do not leave medication in view. 
  • To avoid the potential for confusion, you should also complete all deliveries from a single pharmacy before picking up further prescriptions or delivery from another pharmacy. 
  • Prioritise any deliveries that may contain an item requiring cold storage. If delivery cannot be fulfilled for such an item, ensure that it is returned promptly to the pharmacy and update your service organiser.  
  • When queuing, lead by example and keep a 2-metre distance from others.  
  • Volunteers should always carry identification. 

Delivering medication to the Patient

Make sure you have the contact details of the pharmacy you are delivering for. If at any time you are unsure of what to do with a medicine’s delivery, call the local resource centre for assistance and guidance.  

  • When delivering the medication, please follow the procedure requested by the recipient e.g. knock loudly, wait patiently.  
  • Stand at least 2 metres away. Wait for the recipient to answer the door.
  • If the recipient does not come immediately to the door, remember to wait for someone who may have low mobility to get to the door. You can also ring the contact number the individual gave when requesting the collection – they may be being ultra-cautious and not answering the door as they may not know who it is, but they will probably answer the phone. 
  • Verify that you are at the correct address by knocking without asking for the recipient by name and stating ‘pharmacy delivery, can you confirm your name/name of the person expecting delivery?’ 
  • Ask the recipient to close the door.  
  • Place medication on the door step and stand at least 2 metres away.  
  • If delivery is not successful, you must return the prescription to the pharmacy. You must not keep the prescription to reattempt delivery at a later date. Ensure that any undelivered prescriptions are returned to the pharmacy in good time before pharmacy closure.   
  • No undelivered prescriptions should be held overnight in volunteers/team personal homes, in an office or within the vehicle.  It should be noted that pharmacies are currently able to be closed to the public for up to 2.5 hours a day during their normal opening hours to catch up.  Any returns need to take account of this potential closure period. 
  • Under no circumstances should prescriptions be posted through the letter box, as it becomes irretrievable if a mistaken address is then realised, and may be harmful to any pets, children or vulnerable people within the household. 
  • Report back to your Local Response Centre Co-ordinator at the end of the delivery round with the outcomes of the delivery.  
  • The co-ordinator can then make sample calls to contact recipient to ensure that prescription has been received, and if necessary make arrangements for collection and delivery of any items owing, before closing the referral. 

How should we best handle other people's money?

Handling Money – Options for COVID community response networks

( From Hampshire CVS Network – pdf download is available here )

These are not the only options, but they are the simplest. None of them are risk free, but they are listed in order of the least risky first.

PLEASE DO NOT ALLOW ANYONE TO GIVE THEIR BANK CARD TO ANYONE ELSE FOR ANY REASON

1. Recipient pays shop

Recipient pays online / over the phone – volunteer then collects and delivers the shopping.

Recipient needs a facility to pay online or over the phone. Shop would have to offer a click and collect option.

(See “How can People pay for their shopping etc. without internet banking?” above for an alternative way of paying)

2. Volunteer expenses paid by a community group

The volunteer does the shop and pays for it, then provides a copy of the receipt to the community group for reimbursement as expenses. The recipient of the goods pays the community group, before or after the payment.

The community group needs money available in a bank account and a process for paying individual volunteer expenses.

3. Between volunteer and recipient direct

Volunteers pay for the shopping using their personal card or cash, keeps receipts, and the recipient settles up with them by cash, cheque or online payment.

Some volunteers will not have the ability to pay up front. Some recipients will not have cash at home. Some might not get money back.

4. Between volunteer and recipient direct

Recipient gives cash to volunteer who then purchases the shopping.

The recipient would have to have cash at home, and there is a risk they may not receive their shopping, but for small purchases, this could be a sensible option.

How and where can we get funding to support our relief activity?

Basingstoke Voluntary Action can help you find funding opportunities for all your activities. Simply complete this form and we will contact you about undertaking a specific funding search for your group.

Action Hampshire are maintaining a comprehensive list of Covid 19 related funding opportunities, which can be accessed here.

Note: Funding for Covid 19 related activities can be closed earlier than advertised due to the number of applicants. Always apply as soon as you can.

Do the volunteers in our group need to be DBS checked?

No, there is no legal requirement for you to carry out DBS checks on volunteers. Some established organisations (such as national charities) may already have this policy in place and DBS is working to process any checks as quickly as possible.

For local organisations being spontaneously set up to support people in the local community there are sensible and pragmatic steps that can be taken.

The most important thing you can do as a volunteer organiser is to ensure your group considers safeguarding practices. Adopting simple precautions like keeping records of money spent and providing shopping receipts supports you in helping your neighbourhoods whilst protecting vulnerable residents.

If working in pairs, you must stay two metres apart at all times.

You should go shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, as infrequently as possible. Leave supplies at the door, where possible, to avoid entering another household.

Further information on safeguarding practices and DBS checks can be found in this accompanying FAQ document.

I am involved in managing a community building. How do I make the premises COVID secure?

Before opening your premises you should undertake a risk assessment. This will help you understand the risks involved in opening and how you are going to deal with them. Risk assessments are specific to your premises however examples of what you should consider:

  • What cleaning you think is necessary, remembering that common touch points e.g. door handles, may need more attention
  • How many can use your premises/rooms so that social distancing can be maintained
  • Whether you need to put a one way system in
  • What additional signage you need to put in place
  • Track and Trace – the NHS Track and Trace QR Code may be generated here. You may also want to consider your own system, this can be a list or there are free apps that you could use. Remember to comply with guidance on handling of information.

Share your risk assessment with any users/hirers of your premises. You should ask them to provide you with a risk assessment to understand how they are going to comply with the current rules on social distancing etc.

Review your risk assessment regularly and update it as necessary.

Once you have carried out a risk assessment you should display the above notice in your workplace to show that you have complied with the guidance on managing the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Health and Safety Executive have produced lots of information in this area targetted at employers, but much of it also applies to any premises from which a voluntary community group or hub will be operating.

https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/working-safely/index.htm

Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) provides support to village halls and are regularly updating their factsheets for re-opening.

Action Hampshire offer information and guidance for people who run community buildings, including village halls, community centres, church halls, social clubs, and other buildings that are available for hire by groups and individuals.

Visit Britain/Visit England has a comprehensive page of information https://www.visitbritain.org/business-advice/operating-during-covid-19

Visit Britain also has an online assessment to support you as you work towards re-opening and welcoming customers. The ‘We’re Good To Go’ COVID-19 industry standard and consumer mark is now available to provide a ‘ring of confidence’ for businesses, attractions and destinations as well as reassurance to local residents and visitors that clear processes are in place and that as a business you are good to go. https://www.visitbritain.org/business-advice/were-good-go-industry-standard

I am looking to restart my community groups activities again. What should I consider?

Firstly, make sure you understand the current rules on how your activities may be undertaken – https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

If you need more clarification take guidance from the head body for your activity.

Undertake a risk assessment before restarting. This will help you understand the risks involved in re-starting and how you are going to deal with them. Risk assessments are specific to your activities however examples of what you should consider:

  • What cleaning you think is necessary, remembering that common touch points e.g. door handles, may need more attention
  • How many people are you able to have attending safely and comply with social distancing rules
  • Do you need to make any special arrangement e.g. have a one way system for entering and leaving
  • Do you need to put any signage in place?
  • Are any of your attendees or activity leads classified as ‘vulnerable’? What steps will you put in place for them to be safe?
  • How will you comply with Track and Trace – the NHS Track and Trace QR Code may be generated here. You may also want to consider your own system, this can be a list or there are free apps that you could use. Remember to comply with guidance on handling of information.

If you are hiring premises ask for their risk assessment so that you understand what they require you to do

Share your risk assessment with the premises and everyone who will be involved in running the activities. Make sure they understand what needs to be done and feel comfortable about their own responsibilities.

Review your risk assessment regularly and update it as necessary.

The Health and Safety Executive have produced lots of information in this area targetted at employers, but much of it also applies to any premises from which a voluntary community group or hub will be operating.

https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/working-safely/index.htm

Visit Britain/Visit England has a comprehensive page of information https://www.visitbritain.org/business-advice/operating-during-covid-19

 

We want to start fundraising. What guidance is there?

The Fundraising Regulator and Chartered Institute of Fundraising (IoF) published two pieces of guidance in June 2020 to support charitable organisations to return to fundraising activities in line with social distancing requirements, as restrictions are eased across the UK.

The guidance, prepared in consultation with Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive,  covers the:

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