As the English Government call for 150,000 NHS ‘Volunteer Responders’ from society to support the NHS during the COVID-19 outbreak. The ‘healthier’ and more able of the volunteers can help with delivering medications, shopping, transport to/from hospital etc. However, don’t think there isn’t a role for you if you are self-isolating, part of the ‘at risk’ group or don’t drive. There is also the role of ‘check-in and chat’ volunteers, whose job is to call people on the NHS list of being ‘at risk of loneliness through isolation’.
I have already signed up to be a ‘check-in and chat’ volunteer and it was so quick and easy to do! I thought I would do a blog post to show just how easy the process was and to also spread the word to try and get more people in England to volunteer themselves, at the times that suit them individually.
The website to register to be a NHS Volunteer Responder is: https://www.goodsamapp.org/NHS and the rest of this post will show you step by step, just how this process works and the easy effort it takes to sign yourself up.
Plus at the end of the post I talk about why lonliness can be a difficulty during self isolation, especially for those that live alone. I also give you lots of ideas of things you can do to reach out to the lonely and things to help show care to others during isolation.
Step by step guide how to register as an NHS Volunteer Responder:
- The website clearly lists the different roles you can volunteer for and the duties each one requires (a starter pack and training of how to do these jobs safely is provided) so you can have a ponder about which you can take on before you carry on with the process and fill out your details:
2. Then next step is to fill out your personal details, which you can see from the screenshot of the online form below it is simple and easy to follow instructions to give the information needed. PLEASE NOTE: If you only want to volunteer for the ‘check-in and chat’ role then answer ‘no’ when asked if you have access to transport, then it will limit your application to the ‘check-in and chat’ role only.
3. Once you are registered, you will get an email with a link to verify your email address. Then all checks on you have been done, which can take up to 72hours, as they will verify the documents you uploaded with your details such as DRB check, Driving Licence, passport etc (list is in red in the image above of documents they accept). However, once you are all confirmed, you will then have a log in for the ‘GoodSAM’ responder app or website.
4. The rest of the process is all done through the Government approved app ‘GoodSAM’ or through their website. In the app/on website, you can then put yourself as ‘on duty’ when you are free to take on a job. You decide the times you can be ‘on duty’ and you can view a list of duties in your area and choose which ones you want to complete. This gives Volunteer Responders the freedom to choose how much time they give to help the support efforts and choose the when and choose the where, so that jobs can suit us all individually each day.
Their website also has more information about the NHS Volunteer Responders initiative if you still want to know me about how it all works. Once you have been accepted you do get sent a detailed start up pack including any relevant training and safety instructions.
Why loneliness is a difficulty during self-isolation, especially for those who live alone:
I’m no stranger to self isolation, as when at my worst from chronic illness, the pain of Fibromyalgia and the Fatigue of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I’ve had times when I just don’t leave the house, or only for appointments and treatments. Although these times aren’t as frequent anymore, I know personally how much isolation, especially when you live alone, can affect your mental health and the feelings of loneliness. I’m assuming many on the list will be elderly or disabled who live alone. So I did feel a personal pull on my heart strings to sign up for this ‘check-in and chat role.
I know how much it means for my remaining Grandparent’s wellbeing that he has family support, help, advise and voice at the end of a phone. I know if my Nan was still alive today the anxiety, worry and stress she would be experiencing, and that would even be when she lived with someone and had family to talk to. So, again this pulls on my personal heart strings, to think of elderly, vulnerable, isolated and lonely people needing to have someone to talk to. Someone to check if they are okay, someone to hear what they have to say and someone to remind them that although they are alone at home, that they aren’t actually alone!
Ways you can reach out to the lonely during COVID-19 self-isolation:
Even if you don’t register for these specific volunteer roles, maybe this post is an encouragement for you to check-in more on the people you know who may be feeling lonely, isolated and scared.
Maybe you reach out in other way rather than a phone call if that suits you better. Maybe write a letter, send a picture or painting your children made, a homemade card you made, send a text, send a voicenote, send a joke, send a picture, have some supplies dropped to their doorstep, have flowers delivered, buy them something off their amazon wish list, post a book or magazine through a neighbours letterbox etc. (Wearing gloves and socially distancing of course).
I have lots of ideas in my blog post ‘Top Ideas for how to show kindness to others through ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ (click on the blog title to give it a read and pick out the ideas you can do while socially distancing, from home, through the post, over the internet, etc.
Please feel free to share ideas of things you have done for others in the comment section below this post…– Helen (PS: STAY SAFE!)
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