Covid 19 Safety Guidelines when shopping and running errands for refugee partners
Herts Welcomes Refugees aims to provide support to refugee partners during the Covid 19 emergency to the extent it is able and in accordance with NHS and government guidance and directions.
Volunteers can only shop or run errands for refugee partners who do not have anyone in their household who can do this for them, for example if the household is self isolating or the household is made up of adults who have been told they need to be shielded (have received a letter telling them that they must stay at home for at least 12 weeks).
By running errands we mean essential tasks such as collecting prescriptions and taking things to the Post Office.
Volunteers who are over 70, in a high risk group or should be shielding must not shop or run errands for refugee partners. Volunteers must not feel under any pressure to provide support and must not compromise their own safety.
As a volunteer you must not
- Enter the home or car of a refugee partner or provide transport for a refugee partner
- Use public transport to do shopping, run errands or deliver
- Provide personal care
- Handle bank cards or PIN numbers
- Handle personal or valuable items
- Cook food for people
- Share personal details of the refugee partners you are supporting or other volunteers
- Take or share photos of anyone you are helping or other volunteers without permission
- Compromise your personal safety – always let someone know where you are going, how long it is likely to take and aim to have a mobile phone with you
- Over-commit yourself – please let the Volunteer Co-ordinator or your Area Convenor know if you cannot do what you said you would do
- Continue to shop or run errands if you develop symptoms or think you may have been in contact with someone who is self isolating. Please let your Area Co-ordinator know if that is the case.
Guidance relating to specific circumstances
Shopping or running errands for refugee partners whom you do not know
Usually, you will be asked by your Area Co-ordinator to help a refugee partner whom you know already. If you are asked directly by a refugee partner for help, please let your Area Convenor know. It is important that the refugee partner understands how the arrangement will work and the Area Convenor will explain this to them. It is also important that HWR has an overview of the issues behind requests for support and the kind of support our volunteers are providing.
If you do not know the refugee partner already, your Area Convenor will provide you with the phone number and address of the refugee partner and will have clarified payment arrangements.
If you are approached directly by someone you do not know who says they are a refugee partner, ask for their name and address and check with your Area Convenor that they are known to Herts Welcomes Refugees before you do anything for them – this is to protect you and Herts Welcomes Refugees from scammers.
Paying for items and recovering the cost from refugee partners
The presumption is that refugee partners will pay for shopping and costs incurred in running errands, such as postage. If the Area Convenor has not covered this with you already, please ask the refugee partner how they propose to pay. If they do not have cash (whether because of hardship or simply running out of cash) and cannot use online banking, you should contact your Area Convenor who will contact the refugee partner and let you know how to deal with this situation.
Delivering shopping etc and dealing with payment
Before you deliver shopping, phone or message the refugee partner to let them know how much it cost. If they are paying in cash, ask them to have the exact money ready or to let you know how much money they will give you so that you can get the change ready in advance. Wash your hands and if possible apply sanitizer before you shop and deliver and apply sanitizer to any money you give to a refugee partner or receive from them. Use your phone to take a photo of the receipts and put the originals in the bag with the shopping. Put the change into the bag with the shopping. Ask the refugee partner to put their money into a small bag or container.
Follow the example of the supermarket delivery drivers - put the bag on the doorstep, ring the bell and stand at least two meters back. Ask them to take the shopping in, put any change on the doorstep and then close the door so that you can collect the change. If possible, remind the refugee partner to wash everything that you have delivered. Please wash your hands as soon as possible.
Picking up prescriptions
Please take the name, address and date of birth of the person you are collecting for to the chemist. If you are not sure whether the refugee partner is entitled to free prescriptions, check with them before you go. Ensure that you also take your own ID as you may be asked for this.
Dealing with questions and raising concerns
You may find that refugee partners ask you questions that go beyond the scope of your role or knowledge as a volunteer. Most of the families are supported by a Refugee Council or Dacorum Borough Council caseworker who should be the first port of call for queries about an individual’s particular circumstances, for example, if the individual is not clear whether they are at higher risk or is having difficulties with benefits. Other queries can be referred to the Volunteer Co-ordinator or the Area Convenor.
If you identify an issue that you do not feel comfortable about or any behaviour that you consider inappropriate on the part of a refugee partner or another volunteer, please contact your Area Convenor or the Volunteer Co-ordinator.