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The NHS GoodSAM Scheme had more than 750,000 applicants volunteer to help support vulnerable people in their local communities. We think that’s amazing, and we’re so very grateful on behalf of all of the people we support who will benefit from this scheme. It is a real relief to know that there are people available to help our staff care for the most vulnerable of the 2,500 people we support.

However, the NHS GoodSAM scheme is focusing its efforts on those who are most at risk of contracting Coronavirus. These people must be referred to the scheme by a doctor or nurse. And although some of the people we support are elderly, or have underlying health issues, many do not. It’s not an easy system to navigate and many of the people we support, though vulnerable in other ways, will not currently be eligible for their help. As an Hft Response Volunteer, you will be helping to reduce strain on the NHS by providing support that will reduce the risk of people falling ill or becoming vulnerable.
There are many challenges facing us now and ahead for our staff and the people we support. We can't predict exactly how the virus will affect us, but it will have a long-term impact on our ability to deliver a full range of services for people with learning disabilities. We need to ensure that those in our care are protected. It's our job to put people with learning disabilities and their families at the heart of what we do, and our staff teams are working around the clock to continue to provide the best possible care and support in extremely challenging circumstances.
Ordinarily, yes, if they need it. Although of course, many who would usually shop for themselves are now self-isolating. But during this time of isolation, a short visit from a support worker may be the only time a person we support sees or speaks to another person; and this could be as little as an hour once a week . We want to make our hours count. Your support would mean our support workers don’t have to spend valuable time picking up groceries. Instead, they’d be free to support people in other ways; spending time with them, helping them to understand what is happening and making sure they are looking after themselves.
Definitely! You can still make a huge difference by volunteering from home. And if you’re self-isolating and bored, volunteering for Hft could benefit you too. You could, for example, help by making up activity packs for other people to distribute.
Some types of offences will automatically exclude you from volunteering for Hft,; however in other cases you will still be able to volunteer with us if even if you have a conviction, caution, reprimand or warning. When reviewing each individual case, we will consider:

• whether the conviction or other matter revealed is relevant to the volunteer role you are applying for
• the seriousness of any offence or matter revealed, and the length of time since it occurred
• whether your circumstances have changed since the offending behaviour or other relevant matters
• the circumstances surrounding the offence and the explanation(s) offered by you.
Initially, we’ll ask you to complete a quick application form. We’ll be prioritising areas where our need is greatest so if your application falls into this category, we’ll be in touch to arrange a time for an online interview to discuss the various ways that you could help us as a response volunteer. At this point, we’ll also ask you to complete a DBS check, which doesn’t take long to complete, a health questionnaire, and follow up your references.
We value every single offer of support and will do our best to take full advantage of every one of them. However, our needs do vary from area to area and we’ll be prioritising recruitment in the areas that are currently worst hit; so if you don’t hear from us immediately, it might be that we’re focussing on other areas in the short term. If we are able to proceed with your application, we will aim to contact all you as soon as possible but definitely within two weeks.

Due to the current emergency situation, we do not currently have the resources to respond directly to all applications. We therefore regret that if you do not hear from us within two weeks, we will not be progressing with your application. Please do not be offended by this; we may have reached the point where we do not need any more volunteers in your area, and we would prefer not to waste your time. We remain, however, very grateful for your offer.
We aim to match volunteers with opportunities as soon as possible. This is however dependent on the need across our services so please bear with us whilst we try and find the best opportunity for you. Because the situation within Hft related to C-19 is rapidly changing, there may be a chance that at the time you apply we do not have a role in your area. In this case we would like to keep your application for a short time in case the picture were to change.
When you start volunteering, the service will be your main port of call for anything you need. They will support you throughout the process and we will check in on a regular basis to see how you are.

Before you start, please ensure you have read all the documentation here to ensure you are fully prepared.
Because our staff teams are a little stretched at the moment, the easiest way to find out more is to complete and submit our online application form. Once we’ve received it, we’ll be in touch to answer any questions, tell you a bit more about the various ways that you could help and hopefully agree the most appropriate role for you. There’s absolutely no obligation for you to proceed any further with your application at this point; but if you do wish to go ahead, the process will be much quicker if you’ve already completed the form.