COVID 19 Volunteer Response Support

CVS Cheshire East is here to support you if you are organising some sort of community response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Below are some things that you should think about.

Downloadable Resources

CVS Community Response Volunteer - Travel Cover Letter Template [Word Doc]

CVS COVID 19 Community Response Guidance [Word Doc] - Updated 2nd April 2020

 Template Volunteer Registration Document [Word Doc]

Volunteers Guide - Picking Up Perscriptions [Word Doc] - Updated 1st April 2020

Volunteers Guide - Shopping and what you should know [Word Doc]- Updated 1st April 2020

CVS Coronavirus Telephone Befriending Volunteer role description [Word Doc]

CVS Setting up a telephone befriending scheme factsheet [Word Doc] - Updated 20th May 2020

CVS Coronavirus Community Response Volunteer role description [Word Doc]

 CVS Volunteer Problem Solving Policy and Procedure [Word Doc]

 CVS Lone Working Policy [Word Doc]


Preparing Food For Neighbours During Coronavirus Factsheet

Providing remote support to someone experiencing loss and grief [PDF]

Advice for animal-related businesses (Volunteer activities - Dog Walking, Grooming, Home Care) [PDF]

  Walking someone else's dog during coronavirus [Web]

 Shopping guides for people on special diets [PDF]

News, Updates and Announcements

Telephone Befriending volunteers – how to guide conversations and respond to mental health concerns

Together Co – Making connections to change lives

This is a useful website for volunteers who are new to a telephone befriending role and want to learn how to guide conversations and deal with sensitive issues, and promote physical and mental health and wellbeing. You have to enrol to see videos and access the presentations but it is free of charge.

It includes prompts that the volunteers might wish to use to remind people about their mental and physical health whilst in isolation. There are tips on guiding a conversation, and if a person is having mental health problems, or drifting off and having negative thoughts, how they can help them to re-focus and think about the present.

Added 20th May

Support For Unpaid Carers

Cheshire East Council has launched a service that offers support to thousands of unpaid carers across the borough during the current Covid-19 crisis.

An unpaid carer is described as someone who provides their time and support, without payment, to family or friends who couldn't manage without help. This could include day to day living tasks or personal care to a family member or friend such as helping them to wash, get dressed, eat, taking them to appointments, or keeping them company when they feel lonely or anxious.  

Unpaid carers also include many children and young people who look after a brother, sister, parent or grandparent who has a disability or illness.


Added - 30th April


Volunteering and furloughing

The government has introduced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and many organisations are now taking the difficult decision to furlough staff. Shaun Delaney has written about what this scheme means for furloughed workers who may wish to volunteer and for organisations hoping to take on new volunteers. Two important points to bear in mind are that:

  • furloughed staff are not allowed to volunteer for their own organisation while they are on furlough leave
  • furloughed staff do have the option to volunteer for a different organisation while they are on furlough leave.



Free parking for NHS staff, care workers and volunteers

The IPC is working together with many organisations, to provide a single place where all NHS staff and care workers can go to find locations where free parking is available.

CO-OP Gift Card - Saves money changing hands.

A phone number has been set up for a  Co-op gift card that can be used by volunteers supporting isolated people. It saves money changing hands,  and can be topped up as needed. If this is any useful to you the number is 0800 029 4592. The person needs to telephone & make payment. The card will be sent in a few days and can be used by the volunteer.

Added - 24th April

Video calls and mobile data - Guidance for volunteers

As we all get used to new ways of working, video calls are the obvious solution. They’re fun accessible and immediate. They can really help people feel connected. However, we should also be aware that for volunteers and clients and those of us who don’t have broadband, this isn’t “free” – even if we are not paying to use the apps themselves. 

Read the full blog  post

Added - 2nd April


Useful Links for Volunteer Managers:

Furlonteer: Matching furloughed staff to charities needing volunteering support.

The Fore: Provides a platform to be matched up with ‘Skilled’ volunteers and request Pro-Bono support. They are UK wide but you can search by region.

Cheshire Connect: Cheshire Connect can link up businesses with charities to offer Pro-Bono support.

Slack – App Directory: Slack allows you to set up individual channels for topics such as social media ideas, fundraising etc.

Surveymonkey: This is a useful tool to collect feedback and survey groups, especially as it allows feedback to be given anonymously.

Volunteering Matters: This site has a ‘Quick guide on how to run community volunteering safely’

NCVO 1 hr webinar on ‘Involving volunteers during the pandemic’: Youtube recording webinar link

NCVO Coronavirus: Volunteering infrastructure weekly briefings every Wednesday at 4pm.
Register here

CVS Cheshire East – Thursday Thoughts webinars every Thursday 3pm
Register here

Upcoming CVS training courses:


Volunteer Guidance

Find organisations in your area  

Cheshire East Council, AGE UK Cheshire East and CVS Cheshire East have been working together to map existing organisations that are facilitating volunteer support to the public. 

The best way to engage is to link up with one of the organisations that are already established, this may be your local Town or Parish Council, or a community organisation.

Cheshire East Council has set up a scheme called People Helping People

For members of the public at most risk, being Shielded, the NHS Responders scheme will be offering practical support


Setting up a community response

  • If there is nothing already established in your area, then we encourage you to start small. 
  • Offer support to people that you know, your neighbours and friends.
  • Open up your group to people that you know, to widen the reach and work together.
  • Consider the potential risk if you open up your group to unknown volunteers and offering services on a scale that you cannot meet.
  • If you want to formalise your group, then you need to have at least 3 people to act as trustees, and develop a constitution. CVS can help you with this.

Recruiting Volunteers

  • Ask people to complete a registration form, confirming their name, address and why they want to volunteer.
  • Check the volunteer's ID, preferably through a video call - confirm their adress (through a driving license, utility bill or other formal letter) and their photo ID (passwort, driving license) matches the volunteer. (CVS can help you with this - give us a call)
  • If the volunteer is not already known to you, then try and take up at least 1 reference.
  • Keep a record of all of your volunteers.


  • Advertise an email address or phone number that people can contact you on (consider buying a pay as go mobile for this purpose).
  • Advertise your support via Facebook and other social media, but also consider leaflets to reach those that are not IT savvy.
  • Volunteers may become infected themselves or have to look after family members so they need to let you know asap.
  • Ensure that all volunteers’ family have a number to contact you on in case of an emergency.
  • Ensure that volunteers have some evidence of the task they have been asked to carry out – i.e  a Whatsapp or text message, an email, a note on headed paper – this can be shown to the police if asked why the volunteer is not in Lock-down. 


Tasks that volunteers could do

  • Share information about local shops and services that will deliver to the door
  • Pick up and deliver shopping or prescriptions
  • Pick up post to go in the post box
  • Ring people and have a chat over the phone or on an internet video call
  • Walking people’s dogs
  • Gardening


Data Protection - Updated 1st April

  • Only collect the information that you need to collect.
  • Tell people how you are keeping their data (CVS can provide a template privacy notice)
  • Keep data secure- i.e. in a password-protected spreadsheet. Keep the number of people with access to the password to a minimum. Ensure that volunteers don’t ask devices to ‘remember password’. Change the password regularly, and if anyone with access to the password leaves your group.
  • Avoid keeping paper documents
  • Ask volunteers to sign up to a confidentiality and data protection policy (CVS can provide templates)
  • Never publish personal information on public forums such as social media. These forums can be a vital way to connect people at this difficult time but keep any personal information to controlled, private forums such as Whatsapp groups and even then only if necessary. 
  • The ICO has published a guide for community responses to enable them to consider what they need to record.



  • It is not appropriate for volunteers to accept credit/debit cards from people asking for help in order to buy resources on their behalf as this is a safeguarding risk.
  • Avoid money changing hands if at all possible.  Encourage people to prepay for goods over the phone, and a trusted volunteer can simply deliver them to their homes. This is often possible with local independent shops.
  • To reduce the risk of fraud, we recommend that wherever possible you do your shopping and come back with a receipt before asking for money from people in self-isolation. We also recommend that volunteers not make purchases larger than £30 for any one person or family in self-isolation.
  • You should keep a central record of any payments made. There should also be a central record of any concerns raised in respect of payments, and make people aware of how they can raise a concern.
  • Where possible payments should be made by bank transfer or PayPal to minimise the risk of passing on the virus, but if that’s not possible then you can disinfect any cash you receive using soapy water.
  • CVS is looking into options for processing payments securely


  • Ask each volunteer to complete an application form and ask to view ID.
  • Take up at least 1 reference for volunteers by email or phone.
  • DBS check volunteers if necessary (most roles will not require this - visit
  • Ensure that volunteers have read your volunteer handbook (including information about safeguarding policy, confidentiality, health and safety and other key policies) and have an understanding of what to do if they have a concern (CVS can provide a template).
  • Consider having ID badges for volunteers to have so that people know who they are and in case stopped by Police.
  • Keep a record of your volunteers, with alternative contact details for their next of kin in case of an emergency
  • Ask volunteers to ‘pair up’ (preferably who don’t know each other), but maintain social distancing
  • Volunteers must not enter someone’s home. Any deliveries must be placed on the doorstep, and any befriending must be through phone or video.


Infection Control

  • Ensure that volunteers keep a suitable distance – do not enter people’s homes.
  • If delivering leaflets, wash hands before and after. Do not lick fingers to separate, keep leaflets in a plastic wallet
  • If delivering supplies, leave them on the doorstep, ring the bell and step 2 metres away. Wash hands before and after
  • Consider providing Personal protective equipment, for example, disposable gloves.
  • If volunteers have symptoms or feel unwell they should stop immediately. 


Insurance and Use of Car- Updated 

If you are using your own car for voluntary purposes to transport medicines or groceries to support others who are impacted by Covid-19, your cover will not be affected. You do not need to contact your insurer to update your documents or extend your cover. This applies to all categories of NHS Volunteer Responders, including transporting patients, equipment, or other essential supplies.

"NHS Volunteer Responders and others who are volunteering to help their communities during the coronavirus outbreak do not need to contact their insurer to update their documents or extend their cover, the ABI has said. The reminder comes as over half a million people have signed up to be NHS Volunteer Responders.See the ABI website for further information 

If you are managing a scheme you may wish to ask to see a valid driving licence and MOT to ensure that the volunteer is safe when driving.