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Frequently Asked Questions

Please note that the answers here are aimed at those running organised hubs and local support groups – they are not aimed at individuals.

Is a DBS necessary?

I would like to set up a community group where volunteers can offer to provide meals or pick up prescriptions for those unable to leave their homes. Do I need to carry out Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks on the volunteers?

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 would like to volunteer to help those in my street who are unable to leave their homes by delivering shopping or walking their dogs. Do I need a DBS Check?

No, there is no legal requirement for you to have a DBS Check.

However, volunteers will want to ensure that their activities are transparent and trusted by the community they are helping. Simple, practical precautions such as working safely in pairs, keeping records of money spent and providing shopping receipts will help to achieve this.

If they are not from the same household, volunteers must stay two metres apart at all times.

Please remember that gatherings of more than two people in public are currently banned, with these measures being enforced by the police.

Do we need PPE?

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is not required for most volunteering roles.
For example is it not required for work in food distribution networks, area and neighbourhood hubs, or making deliveries to households on foot or via vehicles.

To help protect yourself and the people you are working with or visiting, all
volunteers must practice universal infection control precautions:

  • wash your hands with soap and water before, during and after volunteering –
    do this for at least 20 seconds
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands)
    when you cough or sneeze
  • carry some tissues with you at all times in case you need to sneeze or cough
  • put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • avoid physical contact with others and maintain a distance of two metres (3
    large steps) between you and other people
  • wash used cutlery and crockery thoroughly with hot water and detergent; dry it thoroughly immediately and put it away.

How can volunteers keep safe?

You can only provide support to peoplif you fulfil ALL of the conditions below: 

  • You are well and have no symptoms like a cough or high temperature and nobody in your household does 
  • You are under 70 
  • You are not pregnant 
  • You do not have any long-term health conditions that make you vulnerable to coronavirus. For information about who is at higher risk of COVID-19, please see the NHS website:  

The UK Government has issued guidance for how to help safely which is available on the following webpage,–2/coronavirus-how-to-help-safely  

Volunteers should never enter other people’s households and maintain a distance of 2 metres from others at all times. Furthermore, volunteers should not provide any form of direct, personal care (such as help with washing and dressing). Personal care of this sort should only be provided by professionals, or specialist volunteers with the appropriate skills, training and checks. These volunteers will be specifically advised on the use of PPE as per the PHE Guidance for community care settings. 

To ensure we keep our community safe, you should always report any concerns to whoever is managing or coordinating the response.

Where can we direct people for help?

There are a number of local and national charities continuing to provide support on issues such as mental health, loneliness and domestic abuse. Please find below some useful contact information for support available. Details on further helplines available for Basingstoke and Deane residents can be found here

General support:

· Basingstoke Citizens Advice – call 0300 3309 064 and for Tadley Citizens Advice – call 03444 111 306 or visit

Mental health and domestic abuse support:

· Mind – call 0300 123 3393, text on 86463 or email · Samaritans – call 116 123 or email

· Hampshire Domestic Abuse Service – call 03300 165112

· National Domestic Abuse Helpline – call 0808 2000 247

Friendship support and advice for residents over 60:

· Age Concern Hampshire have set up a companionship phone call service that makes all the difference with a weekly friendly chat on the phone. If you’d enjoy speaking to someone on the phone each week, sign up and register your interest (or refer someone else) by calling 01256 423874 or emailing

For more information, click: Companionship phone calls Basingstoke

· Basingstoke Nieghbourcare is providing a Telephone Befriending service during the Covid 19 crisis for isolated elderly people living in Basingstoke . If you or someone you know would benefit from this, please email

· The Silver Line (advice and friendship for the elderly) – call 0800 470 80 90 or visit

If you know anyone who does not have help from family or friends and needs additional support, please ask them to contact the Coronavirus Hampshire Helpline – Hantshelp4vulnerable – to register. The helpline is available seven days a week, from 9am to 5pm, by calling 0333 370 4000.


Guidance for 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, and their community pharmacy is unable to deliver, only 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 pharmacy 
  2. name and address of 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 thisOtherwise, 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 

Guidance for 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. 

Guidance for 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 immediatley 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 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 may 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. 

Do our drivers need to tell their insurance companies that they are volunteer drivers?

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) have said that NHS Volunteer Responders, and others who are helping their communities during the coronavirus outbreak, do not need to contact their insurers to update their documents or extend their cover – News story on the ABI web site here.

How can People pay for their shopping etc. without internet banking?

For those vulnerable residents who are able to pay for delivered shopping, prescription charges etc. but do not have access to internet or telephone banking, here is a list of the main UK banks vulnerable person helplines. These numbers can be used to allow account holders of the banks to make third party payments.

Barclays 0345 734 5345
Lloyds 0800 085 9179
Nat West 0800 051 4174
Santander 0800 015 6382
TSB 0345 975 8758
HSBC 0345 740 4404
RBS 0800 051 4177
Co op 0345 721 2212
Halifax 0345 222 0333

Note that 0800 numbers are freephone calls, and that 0345 numbers cost the same as a call to a standard landline.

What is a secure way of handling people's money?

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

Handling Money
Options for COVID community response networks

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.


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.

Guidance for dog walking

How can someone purchase supermarket pre-payment cards?

Supermarkets are launching e-gift cards that make the process of shopping for others much more straightforward.

The idea is simple – you pay to preload a virtual card with a certain budget, and then the person organising your shopping can use this to pay for the goods. The vouchers typically feature a barcode or unique number which can be inputted at the checkout, with no need for any physical cash to exchange hands


Posted Aldi vouchers come in multiples of £5 or £10, they are posted out so are not immediately available for use. They can be sent to any address in the uk and then given to use for those shopping on behalf of others.
E-card Our volunteer Shopping card uses our Asda e-gift card technology. You can use this to provide a volunteer who is doing your shopping for you with funds for them to spend at Asda. This avoids the need to hand them cash or give them your card details.

Simply enter the details below, add to your basket and checkout. The Recipient will then receive the Volunteer Shopping Card electronically via e-mail which can be spent in any Asda store by printing it or displaying on a smart phone. You can also choose to enter yourself as the recipient and forward e-mail at a later date to your volunteer shopper if you would prefer.

E-card M&S have an e-gift card on to which money can be loaded when it is purchased. The e-gift card can then be sent to a specified email address and can then be printed off or saved to a phone.

At the store, the volunteer shopper can scan the barcode at one of the checkouts, or can read the barcode to the person at a till. The remaining balance on the card will be printed on the bottom of the receipt and is good for another two years minimum.

E-card Sainsbury’s Volunteer Shopping e-cards can be loaded up with up to £250 and then sent to a family member, friend, or helper so that they can shop in a store for you.
Waitrose ttps://
E-card John Lewis e-gift cards can be purchased and emailed to a helper who can then make a Waitrose food shop.


Guidance on Grocery Boxes

Vegetarian for Life has provided guidance on grocery boxes for Vegetarian, Vegan , Coeliac and Hala boxes.

It can be accessed here


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