Richmond Council has issued advice on ways in which residents, businesses or organisations can help support vulnerable residents who have been impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

So far, several community-led social media groups have been set up to help aid volunteering across the borough.

Cllr Gareth Roberts, Leader of the Council, said:"We must make sure that our volunteering effort is free from safeguarding risks to protect our vulnerable residents’ safety and wellbeing.

“Aside from volunteering, please remember the other simple ways that you can help, including donating to food banks, donating to registered charities that are supporting the vulnerable, responsible social-distancing and self-isolation, and not panic buying groceries.

“Please stay safe by following Public Health England’s guidance for protecting yourself against the virus.”

The Council has decided that it will be centralising efforts by working in partnership with Richmond Council for Voluntary Service (Richmond CVS), Age UK Richmond and other voluntary organisations.

Richmond CVS is an established voluntary and community sector coordination service; it is best placed to mobilise those willing to help in accordance with volunteering safety protocols, which will help protect the most vulnerable.

Councillors will also be encouraging those that want to help to sign up with Richmond upon Thames’ official volunteering database.

All details will then be passed to other relevant voluntary groups helping with the coronavirus response.

If people are registering with Richmond CVS, they will automatically be partnered with key groups who will allocate you to volunteering tasks.

These may include:

• Shopping for food/supplies

• Delivering food/supplies to vulnerable residents

• Picking-up and delivering prescriptions

• Having a friendly phone conversation with those at risk of loneliness when in isolation

• Walking dogs for those self-isolating

• Supporting with critical transport needs

• Helping with digital skills coaching

Groups formed in response to the coronavirus pandemic and voluntary organisations that are looking for volunteers should contact Richmond CVS to check that they have the right processes in place and to help get volunteers.