Drive for people to join ‘superhero taskforce’ of Covid-19 rapid response volunteers

Voluntary Norfolk chief executive Alan Hopley.
PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Voluntary Norfolk chief executive Alan Hopley. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

A rallying cry has been issued amid a recruitment drive to enlist an army of volunteers to help support Covid-related needs within communities across Norfolk.

Fiona Green, from Breckland, began volunteering in April this year after responding to Norfolk Count

Fiona Green, from Breckland, began volunteering in April this year after responding to Norfolk County Council’s initial request for volunteers during the first wave of Covid-19. Picture: SUPPLIED BY FIONA GREEN - Credit: Picture: SUPPLIED BY FIONA GREEN

The Community Resilience Delivery Group is looking to recruit a total of 200 Covid-19 rapid response volunteers to further support the volunteer army across the county.

Alan Hopley, Voluntary Norfolk’s chief executive, said: “This new volunteer role is extremely important to us and will require good communication skills to address the needs of the most vulnerable.

“Since the first lockdown, we have been fortunate to have the support of volunteers across Norfolk, but many have now returned to their normal work roles and we again need to boost our volunteer numbers for the longer term, especially with the introduction of the new rapid response role.

“In times like this, the best resource you can have is people and I am confident that the residents of Norfolk will want to get involved. Ideally, we are looking for volunteers who enjoy speaking to people, can provide reassurance and guidance, are mobile and physically well.”


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The main tasks a Covid-19 rapid response volunteer will carry out will be raising awareness, community contact tracing, welfare checks and community testing. This includes visiting communities with key public health messages and advice on how to stay safe and self-isolate, non-contact doorstep visits with advice and support to those who have tested positive but who have not engaged with the contact tracing system, and supporting public health colleagues to deliver tests.

Tom McCabe, Norfolk County Council’s head of paid service and chairman of the Covid-19 strategic control group, thanked the volunteers who had taken part already.

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“This time we’re better equipped to deal with a lockdown with support systems in place to help vulnerable residents and the wider community,” he added.

“Working in close partnership with our colleagues in the districts, health and voluntary sector has been key when delivering support to residents in need and we shall continue to work together to get through the winter period.”

- For more information about the role email covid19responseteam@voluntarynorfolk.org.uk or read the full job description and sign up on the website , where other volunteering roles are also listed.

Meet volunteer Fiona Green

Fiona Green, from Breckland, began volunteering in April this year after responding to Norfolk County Council’s initial request for volunteers during the first wave of Covid-19.

Ms Green carried out doorstep welfare checks on people who were isolating, making sure they were okay, had everything they needed and were aware of the support available.

When lockdown eased, she continued volunteering with Voluntary Norfolk and, for the past few months, has been making befriending calls. She has two clients which she calls once a week for 30 to 40 minutes.

“You can make such a difference to someone’s day, even with just a phone call,” she said. “‘We talk about all sorts of things, their health issues, or how they are occupying their time. The clients are really grateful.

“I have found volunteering really fulfilling and have been given lots of support by Voluntary Norfolk. I can always call my volunteer co-ordinator if I have any concerns or want to discuss anything.”

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