There are many ways we can get involved in supporting others at the present time. These suggestions are relevant to Balsall Heath and Sparkbrook.
Keeping everyone safe
Safety is our main priority. Balsall Heath Covid-19 Mutual Support Group are currently developing some guidelines to support all volunteers in keeping themselves and recipients of support safe. This means reducing the potential to pass on the virus, but also safeguarding. At present, we are directing all volunteers to these guidelines from the Kings Heath Volunteers Network who have kindly allowed us to share these important guidelines.
Add your name to the Balsall Heath Covid-19 Mutual Aid volunteer database
By adding your name, the group have a clear idea of who is able to volunteer to support others at this point. By sharing your details, you are not committing to taking on a role, but members of the group may contact you to ask if you are able to get involved.
Volunteer for ‘CovidCall’
As a local volunteer for Balsall Heath ‘CovidCall‘, you can sign up for shifts to take calls – either to offer advice or just to chat to people. You’ll then receive a call(s) during your shift, direct to your mobile from people who need help nearby. If you can commit to answering calls at times of your choosing (you choose your times a few days in advance), please sign up here to Balsall Heath Covid Call and you will be contacted about training.
Calls will involve:
- Arranging delivery of food/prescriptions to people’s homes
- Chatting to people who may be feeling worried or lonely
- Connecting people with other local resources (which you’ll be given all the info for)
Training will be provided and the line will go live when enough volunteers sign up.
Sign up as a volunteer online
- The Active Wellbeing Society are compiling a database of volunteers who can get involved in a wide range of tasks. Go to their website and complete the online form: https://theaws.co.uk/support/.
- The NHS are asking people to sign up to volunteer for a wide variety of tasks, including delivering prescriptions, community transport and check in and chat volunteers: https://www.goodsamapp.org/nhs.
- Linguist Aid is a project to connect together volunteers who are literate in, or fluently speak one or more foreign languages, with mutual aid groups who need help to translate materials or interpret to or for vulnerable people.
Become a virtual buddy
- Join Ageing Better Tyburn’s Telebuddy Service. Link up with like-minded people who are self-isolating: Email: Leonie.Hammond@compass-support.org.uk
Hospital patients are still relying on lifesaving donations, and centres and hospitals are taking extra safety precautions to ensure that blood donations can continue. Find out more
Food preparation, delivery and Foodbanks
- The Active Wellbeing Society are co-ordinating efforts to provide hot meals to those in need across the city. There will be a number of kitchens operating across Balsall Heath and Sparkbrook. Birgit Kehrer of Change Kitchen is helping to co-ordinate efforts, including setting up a kitchen at The Bordesley Centre from Friday 27th March. She writes: ‘We are hoping to set up a kitchen in the Bordesley Centre from Friday and will need a big supply of regular volunteers to help with simple tasks (all training given). If you have food hygiene certificate already, great . If not message me and we can give you access to a code to do it online . Only takes a couple of hours or so.’ She can be contacted directly at Birgit.Kehrer@theaws.org.
- The Sultan Bahu Trust in partnership with Islamic Help are running a Foodbank for Balsall Heath and Sparkbrook from their base on Ombersley Road. They are requesting support with creating food parcels and delivery. If you can help then please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Sparkhill Foodbank supports people in need in the local area. Head to their website to find out how you can support their work distributing food: https://sparkhill.foodbank.org.uk/.
- Thrive Together Birmingham have asked anyone wanting to volunteer at Foodbanks in Central and East Birmingham to complete their online form here.