Helping in your community during the Covid-19 outbreak: Information for groups and individuals

Helping in your community during the Covid-19 outbreak: Information for groups and individuals

This article was last updated on Thursday 26 March

We know that all sorts of people will be feeling isolated from their communities, whether they are vulnerable or not. Some people will be self-isolating, some will be staying at home because they are most at risk of being hospitalised by COVID-19, some will be struggling to carry out every day tasks, and some may have already been isolated and lonely and will be at increased risk.

In light of the government’s recent directive advising everyone to leave their homes only in certain circumstances, we will all be affected by increased social distancing.

The good news is that there is still something we can do to help our communities, whether we are self-isolating, staying home because we are vulnerable to infection or able to go to the shops. And lots of informal voluntary groups are springing up to work together to offer support too.

This page gives some hints and tips to individuals and groups that want to support our communities during the Covid-19 outbreak including keeping safe, helping to slow the spread of Coronavirus, and ideas for helping, whether you are self-isolating or able to get out a little.

For individuals

Think about what you are able and comfortable to offer

Can you go to the shops? Would you be able to pick up a few things for someone else during your shopping trip?

If you’re unable to leave home, do you have a good internet connection which means you could connect with others online for mutual support? Do you have a phone? Could you offer telephone befriending to someone who would like some contact?

Think about how you’re going to keep yourself safe with whatever you will be doing.

This video from our friends at VODA might help

Register what you can offer with us if you want to make it formal

Dudley CVS has set up 6 COVID-19 social support networks which will identify and support those most at risk in our communities, by linking them with people and organisations who can offer basic and essential support. You could register your interest with us, as well and telling us what you are able to offer.

Please register here.

But you don’t need to register with us to be a good neighbour and support your community. Here are a few things you could do:

If you’re self-isolating or cannot leave the home

1. You could donate to a local charity

We know that Black Country Foodbank is currently facing huge demand. You can donate to them here so that they can continue supporting people in poverty: You can also donate non-perishable food supplies (such as tinned food, packets of pasta, UHT milk) if you would prefer.

Many local causes will be registering with JustGiving or Crowdfunder. Why not search for a local good cause?

Please bear in mind the Charity Commission’s guidance on giving safelyin response to the coronavirus pandemic.

2. You could offer to be a telephone befriender or online befriender

You could start with your current contacts. Call or message your friends or neighbours whose contact details you already have. These might be people you pop to see, meet up with. They might be feeling lonely and might be grateful for you checking in on them.

Our friends at VODA have created a video giving guidance on telephone befriending. Watch it here:

You could also register with us here.

You could also search for a mutual aid group that might have set up in your community. This website also provides some useful information for informal volunteers / volunteering groups:

You could join Facebook groups operating in your local area.

If you have skills, could you share them in an online class or trade school? Perhaps in return you’ll learn something from someone else!

IMPORTANT: Personal data: Only give people your contact details that you are comfortable giving and never expect anyone to give more than they are comfortable with.

If you’re able to leave your home

IMPORTANT: Please make sure you follow current government instructions regarding the circumstances in which we can leave our homes.

1. Offer to help your neighbours

You could complete a “Hello! If you are self-isolating, I can help” card. On this, you can specify what help you are able to offer and you can provide your preferred contact details. If they need some help, they can then contact you directly.

IMPORTANT: Some people may not want leaflets pushed through their doors and may be feeling vulnerable. If you don’t hear back from your neighbours, respect their privacy and don’t contact them again.

2. Pick up some shopping or collect prescriptions

People who need to self-isolate or are unable to leave their homes may need some essential items such as fresh food, toiletries, cleaning products, etc. Offering to do the shopping will be a huge help for these individuals.

IMPORTANT: Supermarkets are limiting how much individuals can buy, so you will need to make sure you are able to buy what is being requested, especially if you are shopping for yourself or for a few other people.

You will need to follow social distancing measures, so think about how the shopping will be dropped off while staying a minimum of 2 metres apart. Also think carefully about how money will be exchanged safely, if it needs to be. NEVER ask someone for their card, their card details or their bank details.

3. Walk a neighbour’s dog

REMEMBER: You are allowed to leave your home for one form of exercise per day. This could include walking a neighbour’s dog.

IMPORTANT: Please follow social distancing and hand hygiene guidelines.

4. Gardening

You could offer to do some gardening for a neighbour who cannot leave their home to keep it tidy. Gardening has mental health benefits and could help you to feel less anxious yourself. You could also grow some basic herbs to be used for cooking at home!

5. Bringing up the bins

Perhaps you could bring a neighbours bin up their path while you’re moving yours.

6. Create and share offline and online resources for children

Perhaps you could help to share ideas for keeping children entertained while they are at home. You could share ideas between parents of how to keep their children entertained, such as drawing pictures to be put in windows, making thank you cards for doctors, nurses and key workers.


Keeping people safe is everyone’s responsibility. Some people are more vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, such as children or adults who need extra support or care. Follow these simple hints and tips:

  • Do not enter people’s homes
  • Do not ask people for their bank details or bank card
  • Do look out for vulnerable neighbours and report anything suspicious to the police
If someone reveals they are being harmed:

  • Listen to them and remain calm
  • Do not promise to keep secrets
  • Do not try to investigate the situation
  • Write down what they say and report your concern to the Council
  • If there is an immediate threat of harm, call the Police
Safeguarding tips from Robin on Vimeo.

Community Action Response : Covid-19

Launched by Eden Project Communities with partners The National Lottery Community Fund, Nextdoor, Neighbourhood Watch, Campaign to End Loneliness and Eco Attractions Group, the Community Action Response has been created because of the unprecedented challenge that Coronavirus presents for people in every neighbourhood in the UK. Eden Project Communities is a UK wide network that has grown out of community building campaign The Big Lunch, which reaches over six million people in communities every year. The organisations are calling for everyone to take steps that will help communities cope when the worst impacts of the virus hit.

Community Action Response – five things you can do:

  • Think of others, consider your actions & be kind: People in every community will face the challenges of Covid-19 in some way – from needing basic provisions to help while they are unwell
  • Connect and reach out to your neighbours: as self-isolation increases, we need to find new ways to stay connected and check in on one another for our physical and mental wellbeing. Share phone numbers and stay in touch
  • Make the most of local online groups: Keep up to date, share information and be a positive part of your local community conversations using platforms like Nextdoor
  • Support vulnerable or isolated people: different groups in our communities are at increased risk and social isolation and loneliness are key concerns for all ages. There are things you can do like volunteering for local support services or donating to food banks to help
  • Share accurate information and advice: Support anyone who may be anxious about Covid-19. Signpost them to the correct advice from Public Health England and encourage people to follow the correct hygiene practices.

For groups

Get in touch!

Please do register your group with us so that we can work together to support each other and our communities. To register, please complete and return this form to or call 01384 573381.

We can also offer some guidance and support, so please get in touch and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.

We’re building a library of downloadable resources to help not-for-profits :

Beacon Centre has shared some of its guidance for telephone befrienders, which might be useful for your group

Our friends at VODA have made a video with some hints and tips for supporting volunteers

The Covid Mutual Aid website provides some useful information for informal volunteers / volunteering groups:

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