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  • Writer's picture@cheamrector

Coronavirus - Community Support Cheam

With the best of intentions, we at Cheam Parish and Cheam Baptist Church have asked for volunteers to offer support for those who might need it within our community of Cheam. We are very grateful that some seventy people offered their help.

We have been investigating how to take this group forward, in particular regarding important questions of safeguarding. At present, because we would be establishing this group formally on behalf of our churches, we have received clear advice from the Church of England that current safer recruitment practices should be followed in all respects. In addition, helping people who are ill involves working with vulnerable people. This may require some form of DBS check, although holders of a check undertaken in the past three years could be accepted. In brief, this recruitment process would require:

· A job description for the role(s) we are recruiting for;

· Each volunteer to apply for a role;

· A brief interview;

· Identification to be checked;

· Confirmation that volunteers are not barred by DBS.

There may be some further government advice in the coming days which might allow us to adopt a different approach. Given the guidance we have, however, we simply are not equipped to undertake what would be a lengthy, time-consuming process with the resources we have.

This is very frustrating and disappointing because we want to help and are aware that there are many in our community who will need support. Safeguarding, however, must always be taken extremely seriously.

There are two paths open for helping and volunteering in the current environment:

Help As A Private Citizen

Wherever possible people who are self-isolating are being encouraged to ask for help from family, friends, and neighbours. We would encourage everyone who can help others to let their family, friends and neighbours know if they are available and what they can do to help, whilst following government advice. The government has produced some guidance about helping safely. This can be accessed here.

There is a need to support food banks during this difficult time. Many may need additional volunteers or donations. Details for the Trussel Trust’s Sutton food bank can be found here.

Remember to consider government guidance regarding social distancing, and guidance regarding shielding for those who are extremely vulnerable. Anyone who has been particularly advised by the government to stay at home should be encouraged to do so.

Volunteering Through Sutton Council

Sutton Age UK, Community Action Sutton, and Volunteer Centre Sutton are acting together across the borough and have issued a joint statement with Sutton Council. They have formal Facebook group with regularly updated information and there is a webpage for volunteer registration. These organisations are well set up to deal with volunteering and are connected with other organisations across the borough. We would strongly encourage those interested in volunteering to consider offering their time in this way.

Thank you once again for your offer to help. It has been good to see such a positive response in a relatively short time. If a way in which we can take this Cheam group forward becomes apparent, we will endeavour to do so.

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