Community Response

Shopping – small shop/large shop

Shopping - small shop / large shop, aims to support people who are unable to collect their essential shopping.  

  • Small shop - This will be a small shop, typically a few items in a basket that can be done at a local shop.  
  • Large shop - This will be a large shop, typically multiple items in a trolley from a supermarket.  

Volunteers will support by delivering the shopping to the doorstep, or if required, support the person by taking it into their home and helping with unpacking and putting away the shopping. 

Volunteers are not permitted to purchase alcohol or tobacco products for the person being supported.   

Healthcare professionals can refer people waiting to be admitted to hospital or those who have just been discharged.  

This activity is available either as a one-off or once a week for a maximum of 6 weeks.   

Volunteers will receive 6 alerts (one per week) to support the same person for a 6 week period, this will be a new alert each week. If a volunteer doesn’t accept the alert within a 10-minute time-frame it will be passed onto another volunteer.  

If a volunteer is not available for the 6 weeks continuously, they can reject any alert after the initial support and this support will pass onto the next available volunteer. When calling a person to discuss the support required, be mindful that they may have received support from a different volunteer in previous weeks.  

Getting started  

Before your first task 

  1. Please read the information on entering somone's home, before you complete a task if you have agreed to doing this with the person before completing the task.  
  2. Please read the lone working guidance which must be followed when completing this activity. 
  3. 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. 
  4. 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. 
  5. 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. 
  6. 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, this will alert our Support Team to follow up.

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

Activity specific tips 

Contacting the person that you are supporting  

Call the person to let them know that you will be supporting them either as a one-off or as part of the 6-week period as requested. Agree how you can support them and what date and time will work best each week, only taking instruction from the person named on the referral. You will need to call every week and check their requirement. Ask the person if they would like you to place the goods into their home or if they would prefer a doorstep delivery.  

Step 1 - Volunteers should call the person to confirm what they need
  • Ask if they need you to do their shopping or collect a pre-paid order.  
  • If you will be doing their shopping, ask them if they have a preferred shop, make a list of what they need or collect it from them beforehand (maximum £60 per visit).  
  • Ask if there are any brands the person requires, or should you still buy the item if their preferred brand is out of stock? Please also check if the person has any dietary requirements.  
  • Volunteers are not permitted to purchase alcohol or tobacco products for the person being supported.  
  • Ask how they would like to pay for the goods. See payment options. This should be arranged before you complete the request. 
  • If you need to collect a voucher, a shopping list, pre-paid card or cash in advance of shopping, arrange a suitable time to go and collect.  
Step 2 - Complete the request 
  • Go shopping.
  • If you don’t have access to transport and are using public transport or a bike, please ensure expectations are managed with the person being supported as to the weight of goods you can manage at any one time and don’t overload yourself. 
 Step 3 - Delivering the items 

When you have agreed to drop off shopping, confirm with the person:  

  • Estimated time of arrival. On arrival, you will knock or ring the doorbell.  
  • If you have agreed to take the shopping into the home, ask them where they would it placed, or leave the shopping at the front door.  
  • Any receipts, gift card or change that needs to be returned should be returned.  
  • Allow the person to check the receipt matches the amount spent.  

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 

See potential questions you may be asked.

Follow the links below to other sources of information that will support you in your volunteering activities. 

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: 20 May 2024