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Offers To Volunteer Soar As Services And Community Groups Work To Help Those In Need

Published on: 6 Apr, 2020
Updated on: 7 Apr, 2020

Voluntary Action South West Surrey has now seen more than 400 people contact it offering to help others where they can as a result of the coronavirus.

As a registered charity organisation, it is part of the Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) for the boroughs of Guildford and Waverley and has been extremely busy with hundreds of calls to its Community Point service from people who need help.

Voluntary Action’s staff have been advising those wishing to volunteer, giving details of organisations and services who are recruiting volunteers to help in the current crisis.

For those who have requested help – with things such as shopping, obtaining their prescription medicines, details of foodbanks and so on – Voluntary Action is contacting charities, churches, parish councils, community groups, shops offering food deliveries, and other services, so help can be appropriately directed.

Over the past two weeks, Voluntary Action has compiled a huge database of those (existing and new) who are offering help and services throughout Guildford and Waverley. And, while it continually adds to this database, it has meant that it can pinpoint details of help to people close to where they live. This is especially useful for people who are either housebound or unable to travel far from their homes.

Voluntary Action South West Surrey’s chief officer, Carol Dunnett.

Voluntary Action’s chief officer, Carol Dunnett, said: “The response from people wanting to volunteer has been amazing. Particularly useful are volunteers who have experience of working with vulnerable people and the organisations who help them.

“From those who call us for help and information, we find as much as we can about their needs, such as whether they are self-isolating. We also ask for their permission to contact those who can offer help and assistance to them.

If you wish to volunteer or need help, call Voluntary Action on 01483 565456.

Stoughton Neighbourhood Support Facebook page.

The Facebook-based Stoughton Neighbourhood Support group is one of a number of community groups that have been formed. It has around 90 helpers. Set up by Stoughton resident Robert Good, he said in an email to all those who are volunteering as part of it: “People have been outstanding in going out of their way. A big thank you to all – as the emergency progresses we can’t have too many.”

Its helpline is manned by four people, who Robert says, “have been doing a magnificent job fielding requests”.

They are: Maria: – 07730 789 107. Emma: – 07733 268 010. Claudio: – 07977 147 534. Danni: – 07739 965 044.

A section of the UK-wide Mutual Aid Volunteer Locator map for a part of Guildford in and around Stoughton.

Its volunteers are listed on a UK-wide Mutual Aid Volunteer Locator map.

You will need to zoom into the Guildford area to view.

Guildford Borough Council’s new community helpline goes live today (Monday, April 6). In an announcement, the council stated: “Staff are on-hand to ensure the most vulnerable in the borough will have food and medicine and feel supported. All residents need to do is call 01483 444400. Or if you know of someone who is self-isolating or a neighbour or friend you are worried about you can call on their behalf, just let them know you are referring them and we will do the rest.”

Council staff are also offering another phone service by matching offers of volunteering to resident-run community groups (both new and existing). Call the council’s customer services on 01483 505050.

And the Park Barn Centre (The Hive) and the Shawfield Centre in Ash is providing an increased meals-on-wheels and wellbeing checks service.

GBC has set aside £50,000 to pay for food “to ensure we can meet the needs of our vulnerable groups”.

Guildford’s Spectrum leisure centre is Surrey’s hub for distributing food to those who are classed as shielded because they have received a letter from the NHS. The centre is a collaboration between Surrey County Council, Guildford Borough Council and partners from the Local Resilience Forum.


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