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 email@example.com 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 - email@example.com
Archdeacon of Derby - Ven Dr Christopher Cunliffe - 07946 442178 - firstname.lastname@example.org
PA - Cathy Luffman - 07749 702669 - email@example.com
Revd Canon Paul Morris, Principal Chaplain of voluntary workplace chaplains in the Diocese of Derby, writes:
As Principal Chaplain, I have been invited onto the Derbyshire Local Resilience Forum (LRF) Health and Social Care Sub-Group looking at preparedness and response for Covid-19.
Not only will I be the key contact for the 150 voluntary workplace chaplains we have around the County, but I will also be the connector for this group to all diocesan clergy.
On this group are members of Derbyshire County Council (DCC), St. John’s Ambulance, Peak 4x4, CVS, Derbyshire Emergency Volunteers, EMAS, Emergency Planning, and Public Health. Further support will be identified from legal and IT to set up systems, information governance and safeguarding arrangements.
The COVID-19 Community Response Unit (CRU) has these aims:
- To support people in Derbyshire who are adversely impacted by COVID-19 and unable to meet their basic needs due to financial, social or health restrictions
- To support the Health and Social Care System in Derbyshire to continue to function
- To support individuals and families to adhere to self-isolation and maintain physical and mental wellbeing
Although this work will be led by the County Council, it will form part of the LRF COVID-19 response and rely on the co-ordinated effort of all partners. This LRF sub-group will link with an equivalent response group in Derby City, recognising that the LRF covers two upper-tier Local Authorities but that the requirements and scope of the approach will differ between the two Local Authority areas.
The CRU will support Derbyshire residents who have been adversely impacted by COVID-19 and are unable to meet their basic needs due to financial, social or health restrictions. This will include those who are:
- Advised to self-isolate to shield themselves from the virus for medical reasons.
- Already vulnerable, or who become vulnerable as a result of being unable to access their usual services and support.
- Adversely impacted financially by COVID-19.
- Already vulnerable, and self-isolation could pose significant mental and physical challenges.
The CRU will support community efforts wherever possible, to remove or reduce barriers and to enable partners and community groups to respond to local need. This may include looking at provision of resources e.g. grants, buildings and people, and will include a ‘step up’ approach to be developed with adult and children’s social care.
The community response will operate at three levels: Community, Borough/District, County. We will identify those roles and functions which are best carried out at each level and support them. There are many offers of support that have already been made and there is a role for the CRU in matching offers of support to need. There are also organisations that operate countywide and the CRU will have a critical role in informing and coordinating to ensure that there is an equitable level of support across the county.
The CRU will organise practical support for people by organising and deploying staff from DCC and other public bodies that have been identified as available resource, volunteers, community and private organisations.
The roles they may be asked to undertake include, but are not limited to, food shopping and delivery, checking in on the socially isolated, collecting and delivering prescriptions and meal preparation.
There will be a financial hardship fund available for individuals and families via the Derbyshire Discretionary Fund. This will sit alongside the council’s Business Support Fund.
The Welfare Rights Team will provide support to those people who have difficulties accessing benefits due to the reduction in IT access, or those who find themselves sanctioned or in difficulty as a result of COVID-19. There will also be a need to link with support available for funeral costs.
Public Health staff will provide a virtual support offer to promote health and wellbeing for people who are self-isolating. This will include support to address health issues which increase the risk of severe disease from COVID-19 such as smoking and obesity. A mental health and wellbeing offer will be developed to support those who may need it. Loneliness and anxiety are likely to increase as a result of prolonged isolation, as is the risk of suicide. There will also need to be links to bereavement support.
Large scale social isolation is already underway, and the health and social care system is under pressure, so the CRU will mobilise as soon as possible, but a number of practicalities will need to be worked through to enable this to happen safely. These include Safeguarding, Data Protection and HR considerations.
DCC has a range of resources which could be utilised to support the community effort and a mapping exercise will identify what could be available. Potential resources identified so far include staff available for potential redeployment, pool cars, library staff and mobile library facilities, school catering staff and facilities, potential financial resource.
A communications plan will be developed for the CRU. As a first step, a three-pronged approach has been agreed:
- Identify available resources and support – organisations and community groups/networks that are available to help or are already mobilised to help, will be asked to contact DCC so that we can build a picture of what is available across the county.
- Give information about how and where to register as a volunteer to provide support in a range of roles.
- Open communications channels for people who need help.
This is the initial draft scope of the CRU response; an action plan and risk log will be developed shortly.
25 March 2020
As the Church enters unchartered territory during the coronavirus pandemic, we're asking you to share your ideas on how our churches, clergy, readers and all those connected with the church can reach out to their parishes.
It is important that people understand that the Church is still working for them and supporting them.
Although we may be physically separated from people in our parishes, there are countless ways we can continue to engage with them.
Please use this page to draw inspiration - and to let us know about your ideas and what is working for you, given the now strict rules about staying in our homes and keeping our churches closed.
Working from home may be a new experience to many of us so we have prepared this guide to be an aid to all of us during the coronavirus pandemic.
The current global situation is unprecedented and we appreciate that this, combined with a new way of working, may cause a level of anxiety.
If you need support, please don’t hesitate to outreach to your line manager or Mandy Roberts, HR Manager – firstname.lastname@example.org
Live streaming is just one way our churches are doing their best to keep engaged with congregations and communities.
Revd Tim Sumpter, vicar of St Stephen's Borrowash, tried streaming a service for the first time on Sunday - and the BBC was there to see how it went!
>> See the full report (from BBC News) and watch the video (below) from BBC East Midlands Today.