Denbighshire Voluntary Services Council (DVSC) was faced with a flood of volunteers keen to help out when the coronavirus pandemic hit. Here’s how they managed to work with the council and voluntary organisations to make sure they were utilised as efficiently as possible.
DVSC, one of the smallest of a network of County Voluntary Councils in Wales, responded quickly to COVID-19 by creating a COVID-19 Volunteer Community Response opportunity for local people to get involved and promoting this via the all Wales volunteering database www.Volunteering-Wales.net.
Discussion ensued with the County Council about what support volunteers could offer.
DVSC set up and ran a referral system (using a call centre approach), to enable individuals to obtain help with shopping, prescription collection and other tasks.
Working jointly with the County Council, DVSC telephoned all registered volunteers to enlist their support.
As a result of the website and telephone campaign, more than 440 people signed up as COVID-19 Volunteer community responders and 247 actively volunteered in their communities – either through DVSC’s community support service or having been placed into roles within the council or local voluntary organisations.
Individual requests for support were received by the County Council and referred to DVSC.
They were either matched with volunteers or referred on to local groups, including identified ‘anchor organisations’ who were already providing specialist or place-based services for the wellbeing of the community.
Between April and June 2020, 738 referrals were received and responded to – 570 from Denbighshire County Council and 168 direct from the local community.
Warm Wales is one of DVSC’s anchor partners. It received 217 referrals from DVSC and supported 235 residents through prescription collection, food delivery, befriending, dog walking and gardening.
In this 3-month period, it enabled a total of 733 volunteer interventions, also including advice on energy efficiency, utility bills and tariff switching.
Supporting voluntary organisations
DVSC stepped up its ongoing support to local voluntary organisations by assisting with volunteer recruitment, providing information, emergency grants and free, digital sessions on a range of legal, employment, and HR topics, which are all available on YouTube.
Trainings session on the use of health and wellbeing apps, good governance, managing change and fundraising were also on offer, as well as a suite of more than 60 low cost e-learning courses, available to individuals and groups.
With an eye to the future, DVSC has developed partnerships with a range of organisations to enable the ongoing delivery of activities beyond the pandemic.
‘These are organisations who can work with us to strengthen the eco-system of voluntary action and social enterprise, supporting recovery and developing community resilience through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond’ said DVSC Chief Officer, Helen Wilkinson.
‘By working together, we can address community needs in a collaborative manner, ensuring that our collective impact is measurable, achievable and builds a legacy that goes beyond the immediate challenges.’
Case study by Helpforce Cymru. Helpforce is working with Third Sector Support Wales (WCVA and 19 CVCs), Welsh Government and other partners to develop the potential of volunteering to support health and social care services in Wales,
The Helpforce page on our website includes links to recent articles, blogs and case stories.