Information for voluntary sector groups

The spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is a concern for all of us and VSNS takes this situation seriously. We can all do things to help reduce the risk of catching and spreading this virus.

Keep up to date with advice from:

NHS England
Department of Health and Social Care

The government site gives clear guidance on what to do (e.g. self-isolate) if you have returned from visiting any of the affected areas, whether you are experiencing symptoms or not.

What you can do:

  • Regular and thorough hand washing with hot soapy water (not touching mouth, nose or eyes with unwashed hands)
  • The agreement not to take offence when someone politely reminds us about washing our hands (it is easy to forget when we are always in a rush and our minds are elsewhere)
  • Using tissues or your elbow when sneezing or coughing – NOT coughing or sneezing into someone’s face – guidance here
  • Using antibacterial wipes on phones and keyboards – especially if you hot desk
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell
  • Ensure people you support understand the situation – particularly if they are unable to speak/read English
  • If you think you might be infected with the Coronavirus, do not risk spreading it by coming into work or by going to the GP or hospital. Ring 111 for advice

If you are providing services in the social, community care or residential care setting there is specific advice for providers of these services on the government website here.

What VSNS has done:

  • We’ve put practical measures in place to help reduce the risk of spread of the virus across our 3 offices such as, improved signage in toilets about hand-washing; paper hand towels; antibacterial hand-wash in kitchens and regular disinfecting of taps and public door handles. These practical measures will be reviewed regularly, in accordance with changes to public health guidance.
  • We have made contingency plans in case the services VSNS provide can no longer be delivered from our offices – if you haven’t already done this, it may be timely to revisit your own contingency planning for the services you provide.
  • We have put in place WhatsApp groups, video conferencing and team chat facilities so that we can stay in contact with each other. If your organisation needs help with any of these technologies we will support you wherever possible.
  • Office phones will be redirected to enable us to be contactable even if the offices are unmanned for a short time.
  • Contacting our volunteers individually and collectively to ensure that they are supported. Befrienders and buddies should be led by their clients wishes and they should not visit anyone if they are feeling unwell or have had known contact with anyone with a virus.

For more information watch the The iHASCO ‘Coronavirus Awareness’ video

Read specific online advice for COVID-19 

Sign Language information from SignHealth on COVID-19