On Monday 23rd March, the British Government announced new measures to help tackle the spread of COVID-19. National restrictions have been put in place which meant that isolation is now non-optional for the citizens of the United Kingdom. Some have felt that the new guidelines have been too vague in detailing who is and who isn’t allowed to continue operating.
We can confirm today (Tuesday 24th March 2020)that charities like ours who provide key frontline services in times of great need are allowed to STAY OPEN under these new guidelines. Here’s what the Government says, and what we are going to put in place to ensure the safety of our volunteers and service users:
What the Government Say
Speaking about Getting assistance with foods and medicines if you are reducing social contacts, the Government advise the vulnerable to:
Ask family, friends and neighbours to support you and use online services. If this is not possible, then the public sector, business, charities, and the general public are gearing up to help those advised to stay at home. It is important to speak to others and ask them to help you to make arrangements for the delivery of food, medicines and essential services and supplies, and look after your physical and mental health and wellbeing.
Guidance on social distancing for everyone in the UK (Accessed 24th March 2020)
In addition, in the latest measures (Further businesses and premises to close), the Government state that whilst places of worship and community centres must close, an exception is to be made for those places and organisations hosting vital frontline work:
Facilities may remain open for the purpose of hosting essential voluntary or public services, such as food banks or homeless services. We will do everything to support vulnerable people who are without a network of friends and families.
Further businesses and premises to close (Accessed 24th March 2020)
THEREFORE, ALL OUR SERVICES REMAIN OPERATIONAL.
What are we doing to keep our Volunteers and Service Users Safe?
As we announced on 23/03/2020, we have a policy and procedure document which allows for maximum remote working and social distancing. To read this document in full, click here.
The only operation that requires multiple people to be in the same building at once is the Food Distribution Hub. In operating the Hub, we will maintain the following rules:
- A maximum of 5 people may work at the Hub at any one time, 2 of whom will be lone-working delivery drivers. This means that a maximum of 3 people will be working in the Hub itself.
- Those working in the Hub will regularly sanitise and clean furniture, door handles, and wear protective clothing whilst working.
- Those who are on shift to make and receive telephone calls will sanitise the equipment and themselves on entry to the office, during their shift, and before they leave.
- All other volunteers will work from home, and follow the volunteer guidelines here.
We are still open for business, and we will continue to monitor closely our praxis to ensure maximum safety for everyone. This pandemic is causing a great deal of suffering already, and our services are needed now more than ever.
Please pass on our details to anyone who may need them, including those who do not have internet and social media. Give them our switchboard number (02921 880 212)
Remember that your mental health is just as important as your physical health, and so please feel free to talk to us if you are struggling.
Over the coming months, we will be here to provide food parcels, Click&Collect shopping deliveries (as long as they remain open), prescription collections, a listening ear, and the services of the clergy. Let’s pull together and get through this.
Rev. Dean Aaron Roberts | Rector & Vicar | Chair of the BMMR Parish Trust