Call for Scotland Cares volunteers in readiness for Covid-19 peak

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Scottish Government is urging people to sign up with the British Red Cross to help those most in need in their communities during the coronavirus outbreak.

The volunteering campaign calls on ordinary people who want to share their kindness with others to register as a Community Reserve Volunteer (CRV) and be part of Scotland-wide preparations to protect the NHS, support people in need and help save lives.

People can sign up with the Red Cross at readyscotland.org from today (Monday) to join the team of volunteers who will take food, medicine and supplies to vulnerable people unable to leave their homes. CRVs will provide extra people power to boost the amazing work already happening in communities large and small, urban and rural, up and down Scotland.

Norman McKinley, Executive Director of UK Operations for the British Red Cross, said: ‘We have been humbled by the outpouring of kindness across the country and the numbers of people wanting to play their part.

‘We are proud to partner with the Scottish Government to encourage even more volunteers to sign up with the Red Cross and help others when they are needed.

‘We want to help support and strengthen communities who are already doing so much to support others, by harnessing the power of people’s kindness into a coordinated network of volunteers. They will be called upon in the weeks and months ahead, to assist the vital work that’s already happening to distribute food, medicines and supplies to those who can’t get out themselves.

‘People who are well can also receive alerts to join the work of existing initiatives such as food banks and community groups in their local area, through organisations such as FareShare and the Trussell Trust. By coming together, we can make sure everyone’s individual needs can be met, and no-one is forced to face this crisis alone.

‘Even if you are currently self-isolating, you can still show your kindness from home by registering as a Community Reserve Volunteer and receiving useful tips on facing the challenges of this pandemic, which you can help others with by sharing with them, too. It is this spirit of kindness that will keep us together.’

Organised through Volunteering Scotland, the website readyscotland.org will direct recruits to the Red Cross’s simple online recruitment platform to sign-up volunteers – a process that takes just five minutes.

After people have registered their interest, volunteers will then be coordinated and supported by the British Red Cross to support a range of needs. Local delivery across Scotland will be through local contact centres across Scotland that combine local authorities, the NHS and local charities and community organisations so they can give their help where the need is greatest in their local communities.

Anna Fowlie, Chief Executive of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) said: ‘The Community Reserve Volunteers programme provides a great mechanism to connect people looking to provide help with those who are in need.

‘With thousands of volunteers already recruited and years of work to support local emergency planning, the British Red Cross is well placed to help new volunteers connect with opportunities to contribute their time and skills to support our most vulnerable communities.

‘Not only will this help to alleviate the pressure on other public and third sector services during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, it will also provide a pool of volunteers who can help Scotland respond to other potential crises in future.’

The Red Cross currently has more than 2,600 Community Reserve Volunteers in Scotland but wants to boost that response to serve even more communities.