We know that many people have signed up to support their local communities, either through the local community support groups, or adding their names to national registers, and we want to thank them for their contribution and commitment.

These services are providing a lifeline for people unable to get to the shops or collect prescriptions from local pharmacies, as well providing welfare support by reaching out by telephone, email, text or social media to let people who cannot get out hear a friendly voice or messages and offers of support.

If you are interested in helping, the information below covers the different ways you can support your local community.

How to help as an individual

Volunteering opportunities

There are several volunteer centres operating in different areas of South Gloucestershire, with coordinators who work to put people in touch with local charities directly. You can find out more including contact details, information on specific roles, and how to be added to the COVID-19 volunteer support distribution list, by visiting their websites:

To volunteer with Southern Brooks community support services you can email volunteering@southernbrooks.org.uk

Befriending

If you have considered providing company for a lonely older person, Age UK currently need telephone befrienders in South Gloucestershire. Befrienders get matched with an older person in the community, and call them to provide companionship. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, telephone befriending services are more vital than ever.

Befriending is not a big commitment, it can be as little as one phone call a week, which can make a real difference to someone who is feeling isolated and lonely.

David, who suffers from memory loss, was referred to the service and connected to Kelvin who speaks to him once a week, read his feedback below:

“Through a small amount of effort it provides a lot of benefit to people. I get a lot of satisfaction out of volunteering and I enjoy listening to people’s stories. As I am older it brings a broad life experience and I find it easy to find something in common when talking to people. I enjoy hearing about people’s lives and being a part of them. By listening, I can also signpost them for further help and support. It’s very rewarding”.

Volunteer befrienders would be required to work through a self-study training pack, and undertake a video training session. If you are interested, contact Age UK by email on volunteering@ageuksouthglos.org.uk

Advice and guidance 

The government have issued advice on how to help safely.

The British Red Cross online training for volunteers is for anyone who is responding to the coronavirus outbreak. Whether you have been deployed by a charity or have decided to lend a hand to a neighbour, it tells you what you need to know to look after yourselves and others.

Paid care and support roles

We are urgently seeking to recruit care and support workers across South Gloucestershire. There are various opportunities for paid roles including temporary, permanent, full or part time across South Gloucestershire, Bristol and North Somerset.

Doing well in a caring role isn’t about qualifications – what really counts is your desire and willingness to make a difference to the people you support.  To them you will be more than ‘just’ a carer – you’ll be someone who can offer practical help, a listening ear, empathy, conversation and help make their lives a little bit brighter.

You will learn on the job and be provided with training. You could also benefit from development opportunities.

We are extremely grateful to everyone who has come forward so far to become a care and support worker during this national crisis and beyond. We need many more people to act now. You can make a real difference to vulnerable people by being ‘Proud to Care’.

You do not need a CV – visit our COVID-19 Emergency Recruitment page on the Proud to Care website for full details.

Join a community support group

If you are not part of a group and you would like to volunteer to help one, check our community support directory to find a group in your area.

Each listing includes contact details for the group so you can get in touch with them directly to enquire about current volunteer opportunities.

How to help as a group

Community Aid South Glos

Since the outbreak began, an impressive range of formal and informal community-based groupings have swung into action to support others in their communities. These have been on a street, neighbourhood and village scale; organised by existing organisations and spontaneously through social media and by door-knocking.

Community support directory

We want to support connecting the individuals who would like to help to others who are in need by promoting local community support groups and the services they can provide. To find out what support is available in your area, check the directory of the help and support available from the mutual aid groups and established community organisations in South Gloucestershire.

Details of new groups working locally can be submitted using the form below.

Submit details of your group

We will do our best to make sure all our communities are able to support and be supported by each other. We are not seeking to override or coordinate these voluntary community groups. We cannot at this time regulate them or assure safeguarding standards, but we have included some information for groups to help keep volunteers and those they are helping feel safe.

Community information pack

This pack is to support you and your community during the period of disruption that COVID-19 will cause. It includes resources that you may find helpful, lists of key contacts and information, which we hope you can share with your community to support each other as much as possible during this time.

Download the COVID-19 Community Aid information pack

Mutual Aid groups available in the UK

You can also check the Together for Good – Mutual Aid COVID-19 directory detailing Mutual Aid groups available locally and in the rest of the UK.

Funding for community groups and organisations

Quartet Community Foundation – Coronavirus Response Fund

The Coronavirus Response Fund offers emergency funding for local charitable and community organisations that are working to support local communities face challenges due to the continuing threat of Coronavirus. To be eligible to apply, community organisations must be working to support one or more of the following groups: Elderly (aged 65 and over); People with disabilities and/or underlying health difficulties; Homeless people; Low income families; Refugees and asylum seekers; People experiencing food poverty.

For full information please go the Quartet Coronavirus Response Fund webpage.

Member Awarded Funding (MAF) 

Councillors have agreed to temporarily modify the principles of the Member Awarded Funding (MAF) scheme in order to support the work of COVID-19 Mutual Aid Groups during the current health pandemic. You can find out more and how to apply on our Member Awarded Funding page.

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