Norfolk needs YOU: Recruitment of ‘army of volunteers’ for virus response

Voluntary Norfolk chief executive Alan Hopley.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

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

An “army of volunteers” is being recruited to help Norfolk’s elderly and vulnerable make it through the coronavirus outbreak.

The charity Voluntary Norfolk is aiming to sign up tens of thousands of people who can pitch in and help others in need.

It comes as the government is writing to 1.5 million people considered most at risk of Covid-19 across England to ask them to self-isolate for 12 weeks.

Alan Hopley, Voluntary Norfolk’s chief executive, said the recruitment drive was part of a co-ordinated campaign alongside county, district and borough councils.

Mr Hopley said: “This is a huge challenge that we’re facing and we’ve got a greater need than ever before. The need for help across health and social care is going to rise rapidly as more people contract this terrible disease.”

Mr Hopley said volunteers would be called upon for tasks including shopping for food and medicines for the elderly and vulnerable.

He said this would be done with no, or as little as possible, direct contact between the volunteers and the people they are helping, in order to protect everyone’s health.

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Mr Hopley said: “Lots of people are needed by lots of different organisations – this is a big, co-ordinated effort.

“We’re trying to keep people who are isolating safe in their homes, and provide support to the NHS and other services which are going to be under strain going forward.

“The NHS have identified people who are particularly at risk. They may already have health issues, they could have severe asthma, heart conditions, or one of a whole range of conditions that have been identified.”

Voluntary Norfolk is particularly keen to hear from people with the skills to volunteer in health and social care roles, which have been identified as priority areas.

Mr Hopley said some of the voluntary organisations they were working with who normally supported people in need had been depleted, because their volunteers were often themselves elderly and now had to self-isolate.

Other partners in the campaign include Community Action Norfolk and the Norfolk Community Foundation.

Visit to register to volunteer.

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