The Lions of District 105CE Respond to the Covid-19 Pandemic

Since the Covid-19 pandemic spread to the UK, Lions club members have been responding in many ways, assisting with community volunteering schemes and in some cases organising and co-ordinating a local response through the club. These measures have complemented the work of NHS Volunteers, county Emergency Planning Units and established voluntary sector organisations that have been co-ordinating the local volunteer response, identifying need and matching the two together.

On a local level, clubs and their members have been involved with food banks, provision of wash kits and essential equipment for nursing staff, delivery of meals, delivery of medicines, shopping, checking on vulnerable and isolated people, telephone support and a range of initiatives including financial support for these initiatives, which are supporting local communities during this difficult time.

On a national basis, the RVS are delivering the organisation of NHS Volunteer Responders. The relevant registration website is https://www.goodsamapp.org/NHS

NHS responders provide the following support:

  • Community Response Volunteer – involves collecting shopping, medication and essential supplies for persons who are self-isolating.
  • Patient transport Volunteer – providing transport to patients who are medically fit for discharge.
  • NHS Transport Volunteer – assisting pharmacies with medication delivery and transporting supplies between NHS sites.
  • Check-in and Chat Volunteer – telephone support to individuals who are at risk of loneliness as a result of self-isolation.

Discussions have taken place with all county emergency planning units across District 105CE and Lions club members are assisting in a range of tasks and locations subject to limitations as a result of the members themselves being at risk and self-isolating. The age profile in many clubs means that a significant number are at risk and unable to assist with deliveries but many have indicated a willingness to be involved in a similar way to the Check-in and Chat Volunteers.

Involvement Across Counties

A number of Lions clubs are acting as local co-ordinators to assist in a response organised by the Lincolnshire Co-op designed to deliver shopping and medicines from their stores and pharmacies to persons in need. These are predominantly in Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire with Lions clubs also involved in North-East Lincolnshire and North Lincolnshire.

In NE Lincolnshire, persons wishing to volunteer can contact the Blue Lights Brigade or the Council’s Sector Support team at sectorsupportnel.org.uk

In N Lincolnshire, Lions clubs are registered with the Council and calls for assistance are being channelled through the appropriate Lions clubs.

In Lincolnshire, the Emergency Planning team have set up the Communities and Volunteer Cell of the Local Resilience Forum to utilise existing formal arrangements with voluntary sector groups. A significant number of requests for assistance have all been dealt with over the past few weeks using established contact arrangements with Lions members.

In Nottinghamshire and Nottingham City, the authorities have contact details in Lions when specific, often localised assistance is required. A Facebook page is in place with some 20,000 members that can be utilised both to request help and to offer support and assistance.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/2561302757529545/

In Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, a C&P Co-ordination hub has been set up to work alongside volunteers and identify gaps in service provision. Lions clubs are able to offer help through the Cambridgeshire Online Directory through which local people can be directed to clubs, either to volunteer alongside Lions or to request assistance. The Hub are also aware that they can contact Lions alongside other agencies if they identify gaps, and that we would help if at all possible. The Online Directory has recently been updated and relevant clubs have been notified of the requested changes.

In Norfolk, the response is being run in conjunction with Voluntary Norfolk, Norfolk Foundation, Community Action Norfolk and Momentum. On behalf of these organisations, the Covid Business Response Team in Norwich are co-ordinating the support from the voluntary organisations and groups and there have been discussions on how clubs and members can support local communities in this response to Covid-19 and also support the response in other emergencies that may occur in the future.

In Suffolk, voluntary help has initially been organised through Community Action Suffolk using their Good Neighbour Schemes. Clubs can register to help through a service called Home But Not Alone that connects people and groups who want to volunteer in their communities with neighbours who are in need of assistance. Offers of support are logged on an App whilst people needing assistance can also phone for support. Again, the support is delivering food, medication and essential goods. The App is called Tribe Volunteer and it can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play Store.

In Essex, including the unitary councils of Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock the councils, working with the Essex Public Health Team have launched the Essex Coronavirus Action Facebook page to provide a channel for individuals and businesses to register their wish to volunteer. https://www.facebook.com/essexcoronavirusaction

Keith Ford
Emergency Response Officer
Lions District 105CE
8 May 2020

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