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Discussion Starter #1
On the 23rd of March Matt Hancock called for 250,000 volunteers. As I'm currently furloughed I thought that I'd do my bit and sign up. Since the initial holding email I've heard nothing. Has anybody actually heard anything more about this scheme or was it just political froth to make it look as if they are doing something?

PS. From their form it was clear that their sole criteria was to safeguard the public by ensuring that they could positively identify the volunteers. By coincidence I recently changed jobs and have a full enhanced DBS dated March 2020 which I provided them with details of, hence they both know who I am and that I'm safe. A holding email costs virtually nothing. :rolleyes:
 

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The NHS trust i work for put out an update recently that was effectively asking 'What can we use these volunteers for?' We are a bit different as we are mental health, but i get the feeling this was a central gov idea that the various Trusts are now trying to figure out what to do with it.

Of course MH has restrictions on what we can use volunteers for. Acute and Community is probably where more take up will occur, supporting care in the community to keep GP and Hospital units as quiet as possible.
Don't be disheartened however, i am sure this will get take up in the long run once people work out the things that volunteers can and cannot be used for. Even if its just badged as 'NHS' work, local councils, Age Concern, Pharmacists and so on would all benefit greatly from volunteers.
 

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On the 23rd of March Matt Hancock called for 250,000 volunteers. As I'm currently furloughed I thought that I'd do my bit and sign up. Since the initial holding email I've heard nothing. Has anybody actually heard anything more about this scheme or was it just political froth to make it look as if they are doing something?

PS. From their form it was clear that their sole criteria was to safeguard the public by ensuring that they could positively identify the volunteers. By coincidence I recently changed jobs and have a full enhanced DBS dated March 2020 which I provided them with details of, hence they both know who I am and that I'm safe. A holding email costs virtually nothing. :rolleyes:
If it helps, im almost in the same situation as you except my latest enhanced DBS is a month older than yours. I've also not heard a thing back yet, but I do know they have started to take people on now in my area so I imagine as more places make the arrangements to utilise these volunteers they will add more people on to the platform. They already have way more than they asked for though, so I guess there's a chance some people may never be called upon.

The NHS trust i work for put out an update recently that was effectively asking 'What can we use these volunteers for?' We are a bit different as we are mental health, but i get the feeling this was a central gov idea that the various Trusts are now trying to figure out what to do with it.

Of course MH has restrictions on what we can use volunteers for. Acute and Community is probably where more take up will occur, supporting care in the community to keep GP and Hospital units as quiet as possible.
Don't be disheartened however, i am sure this will get take up in the long run once people work out the things that volunteers can and cannot be used for. Even if its just badged as 'NHS' work, local councils, Age Concern, Pharmacists and so on would all benefit greatly from volunteers.
Are you guys still working in other parts of the country? I got a letter yesterday saying they have put basically all mental health services on hold and even appear to have dumped the responsibilities of the crisis team on the local councils, giving me the number of the council and samaritans to be used until further notice.
 

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I can't speak for other parts of the country, but at the moment we are still working almost as normal. Our crisis teams are doing limited visits, more work is being done via video conference (NHS Digital launched a platform a few weeks ago). We are restricting access to wards for visitors and doing video calls more.
But all our telephone 'point-of-access' services are still running and were the first teams moved to WFH.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
MH will be an increasing issue during lockdown, and IMHO, may end up causing more deaths than Covid-19 unless addressed. However, as a "Cinderella service" to the sexy new virus from China it doesn't get the same attention in the media.
Back to the topic,
but I do know they have started to take people on now in my area
Likewise, but through local routes. I worry that I am missing helping out locally waiting for a coordinated response from the National body that should be able to see the bigger picture. I happen to live on the border of two counties and would like to help out in the area of greatest need or where my skills can best be utilised. However, if I don't hear by Tuesday (two weeks after I volunteered for the National scheme) I'll do it locally as even if it is an inefficient use of my skills it is better than none.
 

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They have been overwhelmed in a positive way, with volunteer applications, so it is taking longer to process all the applications. One of my friends has just heard yesterday that they have been vetted and can now access the app, so should start to see more movement now.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
They have been overwhelmed in a positive way, with volunteer applications, so it is taking longer to process all the applications.
I can under stand that, but it does not excuse them from either selecting the "low hanging fruit" of people with recent existing DBS nor from keeping in touch - I've heard nothing from them since the first acknowledgement of my application.
One of my friends has just heard yesterday that they have been vetted and can now access the app, so should start to see more movement now.
I hope so. Doing something useful to help would be good, and some form of communication as to when that might be would at least be something. Perhaps those of us with "enhanced DBS" status could be used to do the checking to speed up the process?
 

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I've just had an email saying:
Please note we are currently in soft launch and therefore releasing under 1000 referrals a day for the next few days - so please do not worry if you don’t receive any alerts.

The app shows others locally and there are already 15 responders within 1/2 mile of me.
My Age Concern work has also dried up because most of our usual clients are being looked after by family or neighbours, so I'm not sure they will need a fraction of the sign-ups for GoodSAM.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Interesting. I look forward to getting some communication from them.

Not trolling, but roughly how many properties would you guess are in a similar area to the "already 15 responders within 1/2 mile of me"?
 

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Not trolling, but roughly how many properties would you guess are in a similar area to the "already 15 responders within 1/2 mile of me"?
Looking at Google satellite view I'd guess a couple of thousand.
My AC Good Neighbours covers many times that area and aren't remotely overrun (in normal times) with probably 15-20 volunteers, and this is quite a 'retirement' area, so lots of oldies. That said they could do with more 'social' volunteers - the ones who will sit and have a chat.

Of course the GoodSAM map doesn't show (AFAIK) who is actually on duty, so only a few of those 15 might be waiting for the call. Not that doing shopping, etc, is exactly urgent as a rule.

And a few volunteers are going to get conned - some of these clients are not above taking advantage. My AC coordinator is a gem in identifying them and warning us before we go.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
No doubt the Government will be unwilling to admit that this was mishandled. Now they are being urged to use volunteers to trace people who have come into contact with people who subsequently develop coronavirus. Ignoring the fact that the Singaporean authorities are admitting that it hasn't worked for them in the way that they had previously claimed, perhaps they could use some of us for that.
 

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Ignoring the fact that the Singaporean authorities are admitting that it hasn't worked for them in the way that they had previously claimed,
Oh, that's new. I read a few days ago about how well they'd contained it. Do you have a link?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
According to the Times today (admittedly a piece fawning over Camilla) they will have completed all of the checks on the 750,000 volunteers today. Clearly they don't need me then, I'll do something locally instead.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I received two emails on the day that I applied, one acknowledging that my application had been received, the other saying
Due to high volume of enquiries we may take between 2 and 7 days to check your identification. Please also be aware that we are not planning to start any volunteering until after the 31st of March 2020.
That was 12 days ago, and nothing since.

Another "holding" email wouldn't have taken much effort.
I was always cynical about the lamentable David Cameron moving things like this to the third sector to abdicate responsibility, and given the efficiency of the organisation you can see why.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Finally I heard back from the RVS just now. (y) Now I'm logged in and am waiting for the work to roll in.
The app shows others locally and there are already 15 responders within 1/2 mile of me.
About the same for me, but only 100 properties in the same area.
 

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I was looking at the reviews for the Android version of the app yesterday. Very poor score (2.5) and really bad reviews. It's clearly not fit for this repurpose (assuming it was fit for its original one) which is a shame.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Well my experience is that the Chief Executive is well worth her salary of around £150k. :rolleyes:
 

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It seems the UK still has volunteer heroes. Captain Tom puts the rest of us to shame, including perhaps PM and HRH.

 
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