Local charity, Spark Somerset, is working with community groups to coordinate offers of support and match volunteers to activities in their communities via their new website www.corona-helpers.co.uk.
Over the past two weeks, communities have come together to form a huge number of informal groups which are providing a lifeline to vulnerable residents. People who want to get involved can visit www.corona-helpers.co.uk to find their local group and sign up to help with tasks such as grocery shopping, collecting prescriptions, dog walking or telephone support.
The Spark Somerset team is also providing invaluable support to the groups themselves – including practical advice on safeguarding, DBS, managing volunteers and funding.
Katherine Nolan, CEO of Spark Somerset, said: “Our team have been working with voluntary and community groups for many years, but the community response to the current situation has been truly overwhelming. We already have more than 700 volunteers registered and are working closely with more than 70 local groups.
“We have been looking at how we can provide practical support for the groups remotely and have set up a Facebook group for group coordinators and are running regular webinars. We also provide a DBS checking service for volunteers. Heartfelt thanks go to the thousands of people across Somerset who are pulling together to support their neighbours through a really difficult time. It really is amazing.”
James Rimmer, Chief Executive, Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We are very proud to support the fantastic work of Spark Somerset in supporting our most vulnerable people.
“Spark Somerset has extensive experience in supporting groups and volunteers. They provide expertise and advice around safeguarding, training and co-ordination all of which are key to helping keep everyone as safe as possible. We would encourage anyone who wants to help their local community to sign up via their website either as an individual or as a group. Visit https://www.corona-helpers.co.uk.”
Corona Helpers is managed by Spark Somerset, which has run the Volunteer Service in Somerset for many years. The initiative is supported by Somerset County Council, Public Health, Somerset CCG, Yeovil District Hospital and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust.
Groups can contact the team via the online chat facility on the Spark Somerset website: www.sparksomerset or by calling 01460 202970. The latest updates on Covid 19 for voluntary and community groups can be found on the Spark website: https://www.sparksomerset.org.uk/covid-19
Anyone who would like to help out in their community should visit www.corona-helpers.co.uk and click on ‘Help Out’ then ‘Offer Help’.
If you need help, visit www.corona-helpers.co.uk and click on ‘Help Out’ then ‘Request Help’.