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Coronavirus - how you can help

At the start of the pandemic, local people and groups asked us how they could help in their communities. In response, we set up Westminster Connects to coordinate volunteers with those who need help. We are as always humbled by the amazing community spirit of Westminster’s residents. Since March, over 3,000 people have volunteered, supporting over 6,000 residents across Westminster with over 50,000 acts of kindness.

More on coronavirus: Westminster Connects, residentsbusinesses, updates. You can also sign up to our email newsletter for daily updates.

The council is maintaining its essential services which you can contact in the usual way.

Become a volunteer

If you are an individual or organisation who would like to help, please register  below.

1. Volunteering

We have set up a system that connects volunteers to those who need help. If you would like to help out, please leave your details by clicking on the relevant link below.

Volunteer as an individual

 Volunteer as an organisation

By volunteering to help you may be asked to do any of the following tasks: 

  • shopping for food/supplies
  • delivering food/supplies to vulnerable residents
  • picking up and delivering prescriptions
  • having a friendly phone conversation with those at risk of loneliness when in isolation
  • walking dogs for those self-isolating
  • supporting with critical transport needs
  • helping with digital skills coaching

2. Covid-19 health champions

COVID-19, and the measures taken in response, continue to impact all of us. The COVID-19 Health Champions network is empowering thousands of Westminster residents to remain up to date on the latest advice about COVID-19.

The council keeps Champions informed of the latest advice and guidance so that they can help their family, friends and other community members to make sense of the latest facts about the virus. By having and sharing clear information, our volunteers can help their friends, family and community to make informed choices.

Become a Covid-19 health champion 

Health Champions are residents across Westminster and can be anyone in the community. You might be the person that everyone knows and trusts. You might be someone who wants to help in whatever way you can.

Sign up to become a champion

How it works

  • you sign up to be a Champion.
  • we give Champions the latest information about COVID-19.
  • champions share this information with anyone in their community, however they want.
  • champions let us know what is and isn’t working. Together we can do all we can to make sure that everyone in Westminster has the information they need to stay safe and healthy.

Health Champion information sessions

Sessions are held for champions online on Thursdays at 6pm, please register to receive an invitation. Once you have joined, there will be weekly drop in sessions on Wednesdays at 6pm and Fridays at 10am for a chance to share what you have been doing, give any feedback from conversations you have had, and meet other champions

3. Other ways to help

You can also help by:

You can also donate to The World Health Organisation's COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.

If you get symptoms of coronavirus, you must self-isolate immediately and get a test. The symptoms are a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste. You can get a test to check if you have coronavirus on GOV.UK.

4. Set up a local group of volunteers

If you want advice about how to set up a local COVID-19 group of volunteers willing to help neighbours, please visit COVID-19 Mutual Aid, run by a group of volunteers supporting local community groups organising mutual aid throughout the outbreak. They focus on providing resources and connecting people to their nearest local groups, willing volunteers and those in need.

Please send through the details of your newly formed group to us so that we can keep track of all the work going on in the communities and help to publicise your activity to those who need help. 

 

5. If you are already volunteering

If you are involved in a local volunteering group please send us the details so that we can help publicise your activity to those who need help. 

 

6. Staying safe

If you are volunteering to help someone, please take the below steps to make sure you do not contribute to the spread of COVID-19. These include: 

  • if you feel at all unwell, do not volunteer to help others who are self-isolating
  • wash your hands regularly with warm water and soap, especially before and after you deliver any items to a person in isolation
  • if you make a delivery, stay 2 metres away from the person who is in isolation at all times - place the items outside their door and then step away
  • be careful about how you share personal information about yourself and other people - avoid sharing your or a vulnerable person's address and other contact information in public groups or documents
  • try to support people who live close to you, so you don't travel larger distances 

Make sure you check the advice every day for updates on Covid-19.  The situation is changing quickly so visit NHS.UK for the latest advice.

7. Volunteer stories

Since the start of the pandemic. More than 3,000 Westminster residents have volunteered, carrying out over 50,000 acts of kindness, such as delivering food and making phone calls to check in on vulnerable people.

Karen McHugh helped package and deliver meals to people who were homeless and living in temporary accommodation. She said: “On one of my volunteering experiences, I delivered food to someone in north Westminster and I think he was just grateful to have someone knock at his door. He had been released from hospital, he was obviously someone who was quite vulnerable, and it was just nice for him to have someone to chat to.”

Margaret Tyrka was part of the shopper service, where volunteers went to supermarkets with a resident’s shopping list and then delivered shopping to their doorstep. She said: “Westminster Connects is a great way to help the community. I delivered food and shopping during lockdown, assisting vulnerable people. It’s been a nice experience to help and I would advise everyone to join us in helping each other. Residents have been really grateful for all the volunteering we have done.”

Joao Rocha is the Managing Director of Storm Flowers London. During lockdown, he used his company’s van to pick food parcels up from North Paddington Foodbank to deliver to those in need around Westminster. He said: “The reason why I volunteer is because I just want to give something back to my community and make good use of my time during lockdown and help other people, because I think that’s really important.

Last updated: 4 November 2020