FAQs for people receiving volunteer support

Support in action

I would like to request a Check In and Chat Volunteer on a regular basis, will the same volunteer call me all the time?

No, If you are signed up to Check In and Chat you will receive calls from different volunteers. If you would benefit from regular contact from the same volunteer you may be able to access our Check In and Chat Plus support. Please contact the Support Team on 0808 196 3382 to discuss this.

Can I ask the same volunteer to continue supporting me?

Unfortunately, it’s not possible for the same volunteer to support you on a regular basis. Your requests for support are sent out to a group of volunteers who are in your local area.

Please do not ask volunteers to give you their phone number or contact details as they are not permitted to do so. The programme is set up to ensure we are safeguarding you and the person who is supporting you. If you need ongoing support please call our Support Team on 0808 196 3382.

What if a volunteer says that they can continue to support me?

Volunteer Responders has stringent safeguarding and other support systems in place to protect both you and our volunteers. It is not permitted to continue to receive support outside the programme. If you still require assistance, we can help you find options in your local area, please call our Support Team on 0808 196 3382 to discuss further.

Will I know what time the volunteer will be calling?

Our Support Team will not be able to give you a time. However, a volunteer will contact you by telephone and if it is not convenient to talk you can arrange a time when they can call back. 

How do I pay for my shopping with a Community Response Volunteer?

It is very important that you do not share your debit cards, credit cards or pin codes with your volunteer or give away any personal financial information. See full details on payment options.

Do you offer assistance with pet walking or have volunteers that I could go for a walk with?

Unfortunately we are not able to support these tasks as these activities are not available through the Volunteer Responders programme.

I do not have any food and do not have the funds to purchase any?

You can try to contact your Local Authority and local food banks who may be able to source a food parcel for you.

Are all volunteers over 18?

Yes, all volunteers must be over 18 years old.

What training will volunteers undergo?

All volunteers receive a Getting You Started Guide appropriate to the activities they sign up to so they will have specific, clear and detailed guidance which will enable them to provide support safely.

Our volunteers are there to provide a preventative service to isolation and not a treatment or care delivery service for people with significant mental health conditions, people receiving treatment for suicidal thoughts or actions, people receiving support for drug and/or alcohol abuse and or have life-limiting health conditions, disabilities or cognitive impairment where a carer is responsible for their daily care needs.

What checks have you put the volunteers through?

We have carried out identity checks for all volunteers, including checking their passports or driving license etc. Check In and Chat Plus Volunteers must have an Enhanced DBS certificate.

How do you safeguard people receiving support?

The safeguarding of people receiving support and/or volunteers is paramount. Royal Voluntary Service have a safeguarding framework to support Volunteer Responders. This includes;

  • A trained Safeguarding Team working 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week picking up concerns from volunteers and/or patients.
  • A patient safety letter detailing what patients can expect from a volunteer and what to do if their volunteer experience falls below this expectation.
  • No 1-2-1 volunteer to patient relationships. GoodSAM is a dynamic platform, matching available volunteers to tasks that are live.
  • All volunteers have an identification page within the app which they must show the person receiving support.
  • Safe guidelines around payment of shopping and prescriptions.
  • A volunteer agreement which details expected behaviours of volunteers.
  • A volunteer Problem Solving Team to help with low-level volunteer concerns or issues.
  • A process for removal and/or banning of volunteers or patients from the service for inappropriate conduct or behaviour.
How do I raise a safeguarding concern with Royal Voluntary Service?

Safeguarding concerns can be raised by calling the Support Team 0808 196 3382.

A volunteer has asked me for personal details in order to collect my free latral flow tests, is it safe to give it to them?

Yes, the volunteer will need to confirm the following information at the pharmacy so they can collect tests on your behalf:

  1. The medical condition you have been identified as being at risk for COVID-19 (this is to confirm eligibility with the pharmacy)
  2. Full name
  3. Date of birth
  4. Address

Our volunteers follow strict data protection guidance and will destroy this information in line with our policy once they have collected the tests for you. If you don’t want to share this information with a volunteer you will need to find another way to collect the tests.

Why can't I order lateral flow tests online or by telephone anymore?

The gov.uk ordering portal and 119 were established in response to the pandemic. As we learn to manage COVID-19 more in line with other respiratory illness, we need to move to routine NHS services that enable patients to access COVID-19 tests.

Community pharmacies are well placed in local communities to provide this service for patients.

How can I check volunteers are genuinely part of the scheme?

Any volunteer engaged in an active task under this scheme will be able to evidence this by showing you the Volunteer Responders app on their mobile phone, where you can see that they are actively carrying out an assigned task. 

Can I give the volunteer a gift to say thank you for supporting me?

We understand that you might want to give a small gift to say thank you, but we ask that you don’t do this. When our volunteers sign up we ask them to accept a Volunteer Agreement that states that they agree to: ‘Not accepting any gifts or money from people you are supporting’. 

Giving or receiving gifts can blur boundaries so you should also refuse if you are offered a gift and we ask that you let our Support Team know by calling 0808 196 3646 so they can follow up with the volunteer. This is to ensure everyone is kept safe.

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Page last reviewed: 29 January 2024