Volunteers urged to join major St Albans scheme to help vulnerable people during coronavirus crisis

Volunteers needed in St Albans during the coronavirus crisis. Picture: St Albans District Council

Volunteers needed in St Albans during the coronavirus crisis. Picture: St Albans District Council - Credit: Archant

Those wishing to help the vulnerable in St Albans during the coronavirus crisis are urged by the council leader to join a major scheme run by a voluntary agency.

Councillor Chris White, leader of St Albans City and District Council, has highlighted the project run by Communities 1st, an organisation that supports charities and community groups.

Communities 1st is looking for volunteers to help handle calls from vulnerable people as well as collect and deliver shopping and provide digital services training.

Councillor White, speaking at a meeting of the council’s cabinet on Thursday last week, said: “It’s great to see communities organising to look after their neighbours.

“I’m aware, though, that there is a rise in scams with criminals taking advantage of the situation and there are dangers inherent in sharing details about vulnerable people.

“So, I’d really urge people to think carefully about safety. Our partner, Communities 1st, has a well-organised scheme that people can sign up to if they want to volunteer to help.”

There will also be a need for dog walkers, postcard pals, telephone friends and street champions who will keep an eye on particular neighbourhoods.

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Chief executive of Communities 1st, Stephen Craker, said: “We are pleased that the council is supporting our endeavours to organise volunteers effectively during this public health emergency.

“We’re anticipating that there will be a huge demand for help across the district from people struggling to get out of their homes because of age, disability or illness.

“By becoming a Compassionate Community Connector, you can be confident that your work will be coordinated and directed towards those in real need.

“People who are being helped by our volunteers will have the assurance that appropriate safeguarding measures are in place.”

Councillor White also outlined to the cabinet the council’s work to support the response to the COVID-19 response.

The council has cancelled non-essential committee meetings and were looking at safe ways of operating essential ones.

To enquire about joining the Communities 1st scheme, email volunteering@communities1st.org.uk or phone 020 3940 4865 on weekdays between 1pm and 3pm.