Advice for Community Groups
The following has been written with established community resilience groups in mind, but can be used by any group of people who want to help people in their community during the coronavirus outbreak in a way that is safe, sustainable and protects the vulnerable.
If you would like to set up a new community resilience group, guidance is available here.
Follow advice - protect yourself and those you want to help
- By protecting yourself and your family you are already supporting your community by reducing the spread of coronavirus.
- Do not volunteer to help your community if you or a member of your household has symptoms.
- Follow the appropriate isolation advice before resuming any volunteering activities, and check our guide on helping in your community safely.
- All the latest evidence-based advice on protecting vulnerable people is on NHS Inform. Before making any plans with your community, please ensure you are familiar with this advice.
- The Scottish Community Development Centre, in partnership with Public Health Scotland, has created Supporting Communities Safely, a website with detailed advice on how you can help your community safely and reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
- Keeping lines of communication open with members of your community will help everyone to feel connected – even if we have to keep a physical distance for a while.
- Communicate with local residents through online tools, keeping in touch regularly with updates, news about the community and sharing the latest advice from NHS Inform and Scottish Government.
Supporting vulnerable residents
If your group is supporting vulnerable or elderly residents, here’s how you can do it in a way that’s safe for them and your group members:
- Exchange phone numbers with your neighbours (if you don’t already have them) and keep in contact with each other via phone or text.
- If your group is doing essential deliveries of food or medicine, ensure you follow NHS guidance. Do not volunteer to help if you or a member of your household has symptoms – and follow the appropriate isolation advice before resuming any volunteering activities.
- Vulnerable residents may find themselves susceptible to scams. Sign up to Neighbourhood Watch Scotland alerts for information about scams in your area and share this through your groups’ online communications.
National Assistance Helpline
Information about the National Assistance Helpline, for people who are over 70; have underlying health conditions; do not have internet access or do not have anyone to help get essential supplies can be found on this page:
Community resilience groups are an essential part of response and recovery when working with organisations such as the local authority, NHS and emergency services.
Ensure that your group is connected with the responders in your area – starting with your local authority’s emergency planning team.
If you have a Community Emergency Plan it would be good to revisit that or consider developing a plan now.
Requesting help from volunteers
The British Red Cross
If your community group is looking for volunteers, you can request the support of community reserve volunteers from the British Red Cross.
You can request the support of other volunteers from Volunteer Scotland.
If your organisation has volunteer roles based in one or two Scottish local authorities, check the Local Volunteer Centre(s).
Or, use the link below if your organisation has volunteer roles across several Scottish local authorities: