Many of us are helping in all sorts of ways to support our communities, but this must be done within the guidelines and the government rules. For churches and individuals, here is some advice for you to follow:
- Guidance on informal good neighbour activity
Download: Being a Good Neighbour [PDF]
- Guidance and check list for groups organising support:
- Coronavirus: How to Help Safely
Government guidance on how to safely provide help to vulnerable individuals in the community. This is aimed at individuals but contains a lot of useful advice.
Similar conclusions have been reached, locally and nationally, about what can be offered safely: shopping, collecting prescriptions, welfare/befriending calls (phone or online). None of these are regulated activities so we recommend this sensible and proportionate process:
- Verifying the ID of volunteers not already known (copy of photo ID or shown via video link)
- DBS: If they have a recent DBS check ask to see certificate or ask their employer to verify – use these volunteers where beneficiaries are particularly vulnerable
- Take references
- Give volunteers clear guidance about roles and boundaries; provide online training materials (safeguarding, etc.)
- Information about beneficiaries should be:
(a) Gathered and stored securely, accessible only to a small number of responsible people
(b) Shared with volunteers using secure methods and only on a need to know basis
- Communicate with beneficiaries and be clear about what is being offered
- Be aware of boundaries (e.g. social distancing measures, no cash handling)
- Include messages of caution about accepting help safely, potential scams etc.
- Check in with volunteers and beneficiaries regularly to ensure service operating safely and check welfare of both
Advice for churches serving in their community before Covid-19
There will be churches who already had volunteers (DBS checked and safer recruited) working within communities, in villages, on estates and in local community centres, with vulnerable families as part of a regulated activity. These may include Missional Communities, Fresh Expressions, Outreach Social Projects etc.
There are examples where these groups of church volunteers have simply continued to work within the same estates/communities and simply shifted the focus of their activity to support people as needs arise during the Corvid 19 crisis. This is simply an extension of the regulated activity that they were already engaged in.
COVID-19 Community Response Unit – A Note on the Specific Response in Derby City
Wednesday’s briefing included a description on the work of the Derbyshire Local Resilience Forum (LRF), including the COVID-19 Community Response Unit (CRU) set up to support Derbyshire residents to support those unable to meet their basic needs due to financial, social or health restrictions.
The LRF has set up an equivalent response group in Derby City, recognising that the compact and highly populated nature of the city will mean the scope and nature of the approach will differ within the city Local Authority area.
Derby City Council has joined with Community Action Derby, Derby Homes, the University of Derby, Thrive Derby and linking into Derby Covid-19 Mutual Aid Facebook group to coordinate help and support to help those most vulnerable during the coronavirus pandemic.
The aim of this group is to match up potential volunteers with those people most affected by the current crisis, including help with shopping, prescriptions, accessing food banks and befriending schemes. It is specifically designed to ensure we safeguard the vulnerable and reduce the need for potential volunteers to travel to other areas of the city and so, reduce the possible spread of infection.
Simon Cartwright is the connector for this group for the city deanery and we reiterate the advice that churches should NOT organise new volunteer programmes, but encourage all clergy to direct all potential volunteers, as individuals, to contact the Derby Covid Community Response Hub who can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 01332 640000
Food Banks have for a long time been at the forefront of supporting the most vulnerable groups in society.
Many of these Food banks are based in local churches.
The Church of England guidance states “Foodbanks should continue where possible under strict guidelines and may have to move to be delivery points, not places where people gather.”
In the case of Derby City, a central food storage unit has been established in conjunction with the government and Derby Covid Community Response Hub which will temporarily house the government’s emergency food supply.
This will be distributed through a limited number of foodbanks that have been designated as local food distribution hubs.
Simon Cartwright is the key connector for this group for the city deanery, but it is being led by Paul Brookhouse: DFFCC2020@gmail.com for more information
Grateful thanks to all treasurers who are working through the completion of your 2019 accounts in the current climate. Hopefully, many of you will already have completed your accounts in anticipation of presenting them to your APCMs. The chair of your PCC should have already received guidance on how to hold these meetings so please liaise with them.
I would urge Treasurers to still complete their Return of Parish Finances on line, even if they have yet to be independently examined or signed off by the PCC. Please do not formally ‘Submit to Diocese’ until you have had the accounts examined/audited. If you require help in completing the forms on-line, please contact Mary Kemp: email@example.com
If paperwork hasn’t yet gone to your independent examiner, then you will have to delay this step until you can safely do so following government guidelines on social distancing. Now that parishes have until the end of October to hold their APCMs the pressure to complete by the earlier deadline is somewhat relaxed.
Those parishes which have already had their accounts independently examined/audited as necessary are encouraged to ‘Submit their Accounts to the Diocese’ by 15 June 2020 and then ask the Chair of the PCC how to proceed for approval at the earliest opportunity. They can be amended if necessary, post APCMs.
The Archdeacons of Derby and Chesterfield appreciate that many of you – both clergy and dedicated PCC members – may currently be feeling swamped, isolated, vulnerable and in need of support or an answer to a practical question you may have relating to church matters during the current crisis. Whilst you should feel free to contact us at any time on the numbers or emails below, we will be particularly dedicating Thursday mornings between 10.00am – 11.00am to having individual conversations and resolving queries. Should either of us be tied up on the phone when you call, then please contact Cathy, our PA, and she will ensure the message gets back us to contact you back.
Stay safe in these troubled times and thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all that you are doing.
Archdeacon of Chesterfield - Ven Carol Coslett - 07736 196 315 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Archdeacon of Derby - Ven Dr Christopher Cunliffe - 07946 442178 - email@example.com
PA - Cathy Luffman - 07749 702669 - firstname.lastname@example.org