Information and guidance related to vulnerable groups and volunteering.
We are working as fast as we can to update this page with useful information for you. Please follow @LGAwellbeing for the latest updates and keep checking back.
Please also see our FAQ page for common questions related to support for vulnerable people, including the shielded and other specific groups, and volunteering.
An LGA briefing outlines the current position in councils’ crucial role in supporting vulnerable or people who may become vulnerable people during the current crisis, which is updated as of 9 April via the COVID-19 FAQs. We continue to work with Government and national partners on key issues in supporting vulnerable people locally. Emerging good practice examples are being captured.
- General advice and information
Supporting local solutions
DEFRA – commercial food offer for the non-shielded vulnerable (pdf, May 2020)
An LGA briefing outlines the current position in councils’ crucial role in supporting vulnerable or people who may become vulnerable people during the current crisis. This has been updated via a series of COVID-19 FAQs as of 9 April. We continue to work with Government and national partners on key issues in supporting vulnerable people locally.
To inform local work on data a LG Inform dataset looks at people who may be particularly vulnerable (you will need to be signed in to LG Inform to view this)
Note on potential future changes to shielding advice in local areas (pdf, 30 July 2020)
Guidance for families on children & shielding (July 2020)
Shielding packages FAQs for local authorities (pdf, updated 15 July)
MHCLG data sharing guidance for the shielded group (pdf, 27 April 2020)
MHCLG guidance on the 'uncontactables' (pdf, 4 May 2020)
National shielding helpline council briefing (pdf, 24 April 2020)
- Children and young people
The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command Centre (CEOP) have just launched a campaign, #OnlineSafetyAtHome, to help prevent all forms of online exploitation. CEOP have produced a number of resources for all age groups and for those concerned about sexting.
Please visit the communities page for translated materials and guidance to and from religious organisations, alongside a range of resources on supporting asylum seekers, gypsies and travellers and people who may be vulnerable to radicalisation.
- Domestic abuse
Respect: #NoExcuseforAbuse campaign calls on perpetrators of domestic abuse to get help to manage and change their behaviour
Safe Lives: staying safe during COVID-19.
Standing Together against Domestic Abuse: guidance during the COVID-19 outbreak
Surviving Economic Abuse: Guidance on economic abuse during COVID-19
Women’s Aid: making a safety plan
Live chats and survivor forums
The Samaritans can also be a source of support for people who are generally feeling low and would like to talk to someone. They are a non-judgemental listening service that will not give advice or pressure them in any way.
Bright Sky app by Hestia
Bright Sky is a free mobile app, launched by Hestia in partnership with the Vodafone Foundation, providing support and information to anyone who may be in an abusive relationship or those concerned about someone they know.
Telephone support services
England: freephone 24 hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline 0808 2000 247 (run by Refuge)
Northern Ireland: 0808 802 1414
Scotland: 0800 027 1234
Wales: 0808 8010 800
Men's Advice Line: 0808 801 0327
Respect helpline: 0808 802 4040 (for anyone worried that they may be harming someone else
- Financial hardship
LGA briefing note on local government coronavirus response to Economic Vulnerability and Financial Hardship
GOV.UK – COVID-19 council tax hardship fund letter (pdf, 16 April 2020)
Surviving Economic Abuse: Guidance on economic abuse during COVID-19
The NRPF Network has developed a factsheet on councils’ roles and responsibilities for supporting people with no recourse to public funds during the pandemic.
- Health inequalities
Please visit COVID-19: Public Health for a range of resources on health inequalities.
- Homelessness and rough sleeping
LGA submission to HCLG Committee’s inquiry into the impact of COVID-19 on homelessness and the private rented sector
Please visit COVID-19: housing, planning and homelessness for a further range of resources
- Mental health, mental capacity, isolation and wellbeing
LGA & partners
LGA and the Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH) – a briefing for Directors of Public Health on public mental health and wellbeing issues.
Mobilise’s a virtual 'Cuppa' for carers at 4pm,
The Children’s Society - Young Carers
Children’s and young people’s mental health
The Children and Young People Mental Health Coalition
Mind for Children and Young People
GOV.UK – looking after people who lack mental capacity including deprivation of liberty safeguards
Campaign to End Loneliness – ideas to help older people stay connected during self-isolation
PHE looking out for each other resources on combating isolation
The Silver Line helpline for older people
Mental Health Foundation: How to look after your mental health
- Modern slavery
Home Office – Modern Slavery awareness booklet (pdf, 2020)
FocusGov have made their secure messaging service available for local authorities and other organisations who need to stay in touch with vulnerable people
Giving World is a national charity offering help to local hubs and councils in the response to COVID-19, including providing essentials to the people in the medically shielded groups and other vulnerable people free of cost. They are also providing patients and front-line staff with changes of clothing and personal hygiene products. Please contact Rama Bhalla at email@example.com for more information or visit their website.
- People with disabilities
Please visit the page COVID-19: adult social care and support for a range of resources on people with learning disability or autism
- Public health service users
Please visit the page COVID-19: adult social care and support for a range of resources on safeguarding adults. More information on children and young people is given in the folder above.
- Visually or hearing impaired
Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)
- FAQs from blind and partially sighted people (by RNIB, Guide Dogs, Visionary, VICTA, Fight for Sight, Vision UK and the Macular Society)
- Helpline including advice on social distancing and support for accessing shopping and local support (0303 123 9999 8am-8pm weekdays and 9am-5pm Saturdays)
- Five ways RNIB services can help
- Guidance to help ensure digital communication is accessible to blind and partially sighted people
Accessing support: the role of the voluntary and community sector during COVID-19
An LGA briefing on the role and contribution of the community and voluntary sector and the use of volunteers in local and national responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Government information
Government information on eligibility guidance for standard DBS checks
- NHS Volunteer Responders
An incredible 750,000 volunteers have signed up for NHS Volunteer Responders since its launch on 24 March 2020.
The NHS Volunteer Responders programme has been extended to social housing staff, who can now directly refer tenants who need help with collecting shopping, medicines or other essentials.
NHS is encouraging health and social care professionals, pharmacists and local authorities to use the service to refer people for support via the NHS Volunteer Responders referrers’ portal. You can also call 0808 196 3382 to refer patients.
Social care providers can make referrals directly if they have an nhs.net or gov.uk email address. Without one, they will need to await approval which may take up to 72 hours, or they can make referrals through their local authority.
Identity checks are carried out for all volunteers, with an enhanced DBS check for those volunteering as patient transport drivers. Royal Voluntary Service, the charity delivering the volunteer effort, is completing security checks for the 750,000 applications and the scheme is now fully operational.
You can refer people who are at very high risk from coronavirus where no local support is available, for example if they have been asked to self-isolate and ‘shield’, if they are over 70 and have underlying health conditions, or if they are self-isolating and you consider them to be especially vulnerable. Please continue to make use of your local schemes where they exist and please talk to your patients if in doubt about whether they require support.
Once the referral is logged, ‘on duty’ volunteers in your area pick the job they want to do that day and close the task once complete. You can use the portal to track when the patient receives support. You can also use the portal or phone number to remove someone from the scheme if they no longer need assistance.
The NHS has also published guidance for volunteer responders on how to refer individuals (pdf) and for volunteers helping homeless people (pdf).
- Other guidance
National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) – information on volunteering and coronavirus
Councils can now make a request for volunteer support