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Challenge of COVID-19 - thoughts of our CEO

Challenge of COVID-19 - thoughts of our CEO

Some thoughts from our HARCVS CEO, Karen Weaver

19 March 2020

This week has been a flurry of planning behind the scenes to ensure that over the weeks and months ahead our communities across the district are in the best position possible to support the most vulnerable people. We've had immense support from our national VCS organisations NAVCANCVO & are working closely with NYCC & HBC colleagues and our local charity networks.

However the trickiest thing we are facing is how to respond to the mass outbreak of spontaneous volunteering, especially online. This is wonderful and heartening but also REALLY DIFFICULT to respond to quickly, especially the online groups which whilst well intentioned are often new and without a good understanding of what's involved in making the best use of volunteer time and skills. All voluntary organisations have a duty of care to their volunteers and their clients and must invest in making sure that everyone stays safe. This means considering health and safety, safeguarding and data security, amongst many other things. As part of our role in supporting volunteer managers we know that good systems and procedures are essential for everyone involved. These are still key considerations even as we face the challenge of COVID-19.

So, please bear with us whilst we get things set up to safely mobilise new volunteers to help with the long haul which undoubtedly faces us all.

Our friends at Two Ridings Community Foundation talk about giving time, talents and treasure. What every voluntary organisation needs most at this time is cash - to keep the staff working, the phones manned and the volunteers supported.

So whilst you are waiting to get involved as a volunteer and if you are in position to do so, please consider supporting your local charities with treasure as well as time. That could be our own HELP practical support services, a charity that you know and love or by contributing to THE LOCAL FUND for the Harrogate District which will ensure a wide range of voluntary and community groups in the district are supported.

And if you are fit and well and still want to offer your help you can now register your interest to be a Here to Help volunteer.

Finally please focus your support right now on your family, friends and immediate neighbours; this is something we can all do without any formal policies or procedures!

Stay safe and well everyone, with best wishes


19 March 2020