Community Response

Connect – accompany to an activity 

Connect – accompany to an activity aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people receiving support by assisting the person to engage in social and or life activities, hobbies, and pastimes within their community.  

Volunteers will support people to access the community and take part in social activities. This could include:    

  • Aiding people to go out into the community for example for social activities such as walks.    
  • Support to access the local shops or supermarkets to do their own shopping, accompanying them to a local café.   
  • Helping people to join new activities and social groups.   
  • Helping people access public transport and gain confidence in going out.    
  • Enabling the maintenance of connections/relationships by supporting to visit a loved one in hospital or residential care.   

Our volunteers will make a difference by supporting people to participate in activities within the community, but will not replace the work of paid carers or carry out any personal care i.e. supporting people to the toilet, feeding, getting dressed etc. All support must be concluded by 8pm, please don’t agree to any activities after this time.

The people you are supporting may need this support having recently have been discharged from hospital, have a medical condition or illness, recently bereaved, or recently moved to a new area. As a Connect Volunteer you can support people to feel more confident and engage in activities again. You will need to ask the person you are supporting what they would like to do and how they would like to achieve it. 

This activity is available either as a one-off or once a week for a maximum of 6 weeks and will take place in the person’s local community. 

Or volunteers can select individual shifts from the activities tab in the app for scheduled activities. This means that someone with a 6 week referral for example, could have a different volunteer each week.

You are not permitted to enter the home of the person you are supporting. Please see In Home Support if this is required.

Getting started 

Before your first task  

  1. Please read the lone working guide. It is really important that you familiarise yourself with the process as all volunteers participating in Connect must follow this process if you enter the person’s home. You must also read the information for entering someone's home.
  2. If you are calling a person you are supporting, ensure you withhold your number. This is to protect you from unsolicited calls and to ensure safeguarding procedures are followed. You can do this by dialling 141 for Android or #31# for Apple before the person's number or go into your phone's settings. Do not click on the phone number within the task information without editing. You can read more about data protection and confidentiality as well as safeguarding. 
  3. It is important to uphold the confidentiality of the person at all times. You may receive/hear personal information or details through conversations. All forms of personal information must be treated with respect and be handled in a highly confidential way. 
  4. Think about how you safely store contact details, do not leave these in a place that other people can access. If you are able to lock these away in a safe place, please do so. Once the task is completed destroy this information, please ensure it is shredded in a confidential manner. 
  5. If you call and don’t get an answer, try again later that day. If you find that you are not able to make contact after 3 attempts please press the ‘PERSON DID NOT ANSWER’ button on the GoodSAM app.

Full guidance for using the app can be found in using the GoodSAM app. 

Activity specific tips 

Acceptable activities – to be completed together 

  • Supporting to access activities in the community e.g., going for a walk, visiting a library, social group or lunch club.  
  • Support to access the local shops or supermarkets to do their own shopping, accompanying them to a local café. 
  • Support to use public transport e.g. finding and using the local bus routes.  
  • Support to maintain relationships by supporting people to visit a loved one in hospital or residential care. 

Activities that are not acceptable  

  • Being a collection and delivery service.
  • Collecting and dropping to personal appointments. 
  • Staying in the home to do an activity if the weather is bad/for another reason.

Volunteers may be required to accompany a person to do their shopping or going for a walk, or even with support finding or attending a social group in the community. You may be required to support the planning of this including any travel routes or public transport times etc, but the support will always start from the person’s home address.  

Volunteers are welcome to use their own vehicles to transport people to and from activities, however, we want to encourage people to be able to access activities independently in the future, so you may want to encourage use of public transport and support people to use it.  

We advise that volunteers allow a few hours to support and be mindful that it could include travel to and from an activity, as well as the duration of the activity. Support can be provided for a maximum of 4 hours. All support must be concluded by 8pm, please don’t agree to any activities after this time.

Call the person and introduce yourself as a Volunteer Responder and let them know that they have been referred into the programme by a professional.  

If there was any information on the task that you would like to clarify it is best to do this now.  

The person making the request for support should have included details such as if there are any accessibility needs etc.  

Discuss with them how you can support them, the types of social activities they are interested in, and what support they would like to access services in the local community.  The referral should give you an idea of the support that is required, but if you feel their needs don’t match your interests after the initial conversation, be honest with the person and tell them that you will pass the task onto another volunteer.  

Remember when supporting in the community there is a maximum time of 4 hours, and you must complete all activities before 8pm. 

If you have contacted the person to arrange a visit and feel unwell, please cancel your visit by letting the person know and ringing our Support Team, they may be able to arrange for another volunteer to attend. It is really important you do not attend if feeling unwell as the person may have a weakened immune system.  

We don’t want volunteers to be out of pocket for taking part in any social clubs/activities with the people you are supporting so remember to check out the expenses policy and guides to see what expenses you can claim for when doing this activity.  

If you experience any difficulties while you’re volunteering or face any circumstances which make you feel uncomfortable, we are here to support you. Please call the Support Team on 0808 196 3382. All concerns will be handled sensitively, and we will work with you to ensure a safe and positive volunteering experience. 

Potential questions you may be asked 

Would you like to come in the house to wait before we leave/come in for a drink when we get back?

This activity does not allow for you to enter a person’s home, politely decline and explain the reason why. 

See other potential questions you may be asked.

Skills Bank 

We have a selection of resources in the Skills Bank that may help you with your volunteering. We have linked to the resources that we think would support you with this activity, take some time to look through them to build your confidence. 

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Page last reviewed: 26 June 2024