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Welcome to our COVID-19 Knowledge Hub and Best Practice area. Here we have brought together all the official advice on what you need to do, how you can manage your health and wellbeing and how NARPO can help during the global health crisis.
The COVID-19 global pandemic has turned life as we know it upside down, but we are still here to safeguard our members’ wellbeing via both Head Office and your local branch. Our HQ phone lines remain open with staff able to take calls from home, and it most certainly goes without saying that local Branches and your Branch’s Welfare Officer can provide much needed practical and emotional support in this strange and unprecedented time.
For all the most up to date advice and news on COVID-19 please only use the official Government websites. They are regularly updated and provide official advice on all aspects of the pandemic. These include gov.uk, nhs.uk and who.int.
The Government has also launched a Coronavirus information service on the messaging app WhatsApp. It’s a free service and users simply add 07860 064422 to their phone contacts and then message the word ‘hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started. A set of menu options is then presented which the user can choose from to be sent relevant guidance from the gov.uk pages as well as links to gov.uk for further information.
Below we have summarised the salient advice on the Virus from the, NHS, UK Government and the World Health Organisation, with the steps you need to take to protect yourself and others.
• Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home)
• If you go out, stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times
• Wash your hands for 20 seconds regularly throughout the day and as soon as you get home if you have been out
• Cover your mouth & mouth with a tissue or your sleeve (NOT your hands) when you cough or sneeze. Immediately throw a used tissue in a bin and wash your hands or use an alcohol based hand sanitiser if handwashing facilities are not available
• Use an alcohol based hand sanitiser if soap and water are not available
Do not meet others, even friends or family. You can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms.
The main symptoms of Coronavirus or COVID-19 include a dry cough and high temperature. Other symptoms could include tiredness, muscle ache/pain, loss of sense of smell and or taste and breathlessness. These symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness, as these symptoms are quite similar to others but you should you should still stay home regardless.
Stay at home if you develop any Coronavirus symptoms. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you’re staying at home.
Do not go out at all even for essential items, ask family members or your local Branch for help with help securing food shopping or essential items such as medicines and running general errands.
There are many online community groups for individual localities which exist already on Facebook and Twitter, both at a town/city level and on a smaller village level, as well as those that are springing up which are dedicated to support during this public health crisis. These groups can serve as an excellent resource for what help is available locally to you both from both individual volunteers and businesses. We also advise you to take a look at this spreadsheet which has been put together at a national level and has links to many of the dedicated COVID-19 Facebook support groups across the country.
Another good local online resource is the ‘in your area’ website, www.inyourarea.co.uk, this online community group platform now has a dedicated Coronavirus area, the website is free to access and all you need to do is enter your postcode to get started.
Keep an eye on these to see what might be happening in terms of the local council services that members may need to access during this time.
Our partners Police Mutual have also put together a helpful factsheet to help you manage your financial and emotional wellbeing throughout the public health crisis. Police Mutual COVID-19 factsheet.
We have invited our Branches to tell us how they are supporting members so that we can share that knowledge here, you can use this resource either to find out how your branch can help you or to get ideas for your own area if you are a Branch Official.
They have two groups of support-
• Some of our weekly coffee group consisting of 90+ members, we have circulated contact details and members can contact anyone if they need a chat or help.
• On the back of that we have asked for the younger members to volunteer to go out if needed and shop get medicines for lockdown members.
• We are promoting the two apps
Zoom, this is an app by which you can do video conference type talks.
Houseparty, again a conference type app but games can be played
• The Secretary is making one to one calls to any member who has been infected and making sure that they have support.
The Branch Committee is actively contacting Members in the Over 70’s age range. They operate a ‘Traffic Light’ system whereby the over 90’s are in the RED Zone, over 80’s are in the AMBER Zone, and the over 70’s are in the GREEN Zone.
The Branch Committee Members are in contact with those members making one to one calls, to ascertain their wellbeing, and to ensure they are able to get shopping and medications if needed. If any are in need of transport for hospital appointments etc. they do their best to assist.
During the one to one calls, members are being advised of the Government Emergency Food Packages and also the local People Helping People support helpline. It is also an ideal opportunity to update contact telephone numbers of next of kin which is then uploaded to Supersleuth.
In regard to Widow Members, the Branch has always operated a Widow Liaison System. Widow members are contacted or even visited by an appointed liaison officer, who then reports back to the Branch Secretary.
The Branch also has a very good Facebook Group that posts local and government advice relative to the current situation. Members with any concerns can message the Secretary via email, Messenger or WhatsApp.
The Branch has a fully qualified Welfare Officer who specialises in Safeguarding, Counselling, and Welfare Rights and any Members who she identifies as vulnerable, are being advised regarding self-isolation, and registration as a vulnerable person on the Local Authority register
They have set up a separate Facebook group page Cleveland NARPO COVID-19 support group which is open to all of those that can offer support to other members who may be self-isolating,
This support page can be accessed using the following link-
The Branch has also had contact from force well-being dept offering support if necessary. It is currently in discussion with local Federation for use of their welfare van perhaps couple of times a week for one of our volunteers to use to help with emergency food supplies or prescriptions to members. The Federation will use it for housebound officers. It will be a joint enterprise which is still in the planning phase and await the Federation and Force decision.
Cumbria NARPO has formed a support group in order to assist, when necessary, those who are particularly vulnerable in the County. Its list of CV19 volunteers continues to grow and now stands in excess of 60 and covers the whole of the County.
This is a message from the Branch Secretary-
It is lovely to see the ‘younger retired’ volunteering helping out the ‘older retired’ who are watching out for the ‘even older retired’ during these challenging times. Whilst we hope and trust many people will be relying specifically on their families, close friends, and neighbours for support with shopping and medication, elements of the team have so far conducted a small number of successful missions to widows living alone in the 80-95 age bracket. So far, this is the age group which seems most likely to need help.
Please remember, you might be self-isolating, vulnerable, and unable to travel and do an urgent medication run or food supply for a retired colleague, but you might have widespread contacts that can be harnessed to do the job and are useful to the group. If you know of an elderly or vulnerable person near you that may require assistance in the near future, please consider searching Facebook and your local council websites for a Coronavirus support group operating near you. There are dozens operating throughout the county all looking after their own communities.
Our list of volunteers is jointly held by Kathleen Rowley, David Drinkald and Tony Scougal who are positioned to ‘trigger’ assistance to our membership should a requirement emerge in the days ahead.
Please contact any of the above if you are in a position to help in any way.
The Branch has sent messages to its Members-
Keep safe, wash your hands and don’t forget to keep in touch by phone, email, website and Facebook. Please contact the Branch if you are in need, or if you know a colleague who is likely to be in need but may be too proud to ask. Additionally, if you think you might be able to assist by supporting other elderly and vulnerable NARPO members, I would appreciate if you could make yourself known and contact the Secretary at Derbyshire@narpo.org and we will endeavour to help and assist.
The Branch has circulated members with details of retailers and sole traders who will deliver goods to the door.
All members contact records are being scrutinised to ensure they can contact everyone.
Branch Officers are in the process of contacting all widows in the first instance to establish their degree of vulnerability and put them in touch with the Help Hubs as they develop. They have also asked for Branch Members to volunteer to make occasional contact with other members to offer them telephone support. Essentially it is a ‘Buddy’ scheme.
Branch membership has been sorted into age order and they will start with the eldest (who are possibly the more vulnerable) and work downwards. As Branch Members are at or approaching the vulnerable 70 plus mark, they will be confining activities to supporting others with a chat on the telephone and pointing them in the direction of local authority approved volunteer hubs as they develop.
Colchester & N.E.Essex Branch
The Branch has issued a newsletter to all members. In this newsletter members were encouraged to contact the Secretary if they wished to log their current poor health situation. Following on from this and with the rapid spread of the virus, all members with email accounts were then mailed with the invitation to contact the Secretary in the event of falling ill.
To maintain some semblance of normality in the day to day running of the branch, telephone conferencing has been introduced as it removes the need of members having a camera facility for Skype/Zoom
Branch officials have committed to arranging help for members should the need arise and this has been further enhanced by enrolment to Facebook page Ex-Job Community Volunteers. To join, search Ex-Job Community Volunteers and then use the link to apply to join as this is a Private Group.
Ex-Job Volunteers is an extension of Ex-Job.co.uk founded by retired Essex officer Paul Maleary and now covers the entire area of England in ‘regions’.
The Branch has put together a group of some 50 volunteers, some serving, some retired, who will respond to calls for help where there is no family/friend support.
This is for ANY member of the Police family, not just NARPO members…. be they former or serving Officer/Special/PCSO/Police Staff.
The Branch Secretary and two others act as coordinators, plus they have one member who is admin coordinator.They have circulated these people’s phone numbers to Members via email & website.
They have found a way to ID those without an email address and will start ringing them.
The Branch doesn’t have a Branch Facebook account but can access one that has been set up by some retired officers and it is really useful. There are some 1,000 members of that group with whom the Branch can send messages of how NARPO can help.
The Branch Secretary is also a member of the Anglesey Older People’s Council and has access to advice from Age Concern Wales. This information is circulated to to Members of the Gwynedd Facebook group.
Branch has emailed its whole membership with appropriate info, (via SuperSleuth) and has its own website. On the Branch page there is an “official advice links” https://hampshirenarpo.org/southampton-branch
The Branch has circulated messages via e mail and the Branch website to its members offering support, if required. The Welfare Officer will be monitoring requests for assistance/support and responding appropriately
The Branch has identified its over 70’s through SuperSleuth and requested volunteers for a ring round system in their particular area to make sure older and vulnerable members are contacted.
The Branch Secretary will write to those who they do not have a phone number.
The Branch has received a number of volunteers and they will be sent a list of members and their phone numbers to contact and ascertain a number of things like availability of family, support, contacts, access to supplies and ability to get those and simply leaving a phone number for a chat.
The Branch appreciates some will say “we are fine thanks” and they will be just left a contact number and asked for any new contact details. Those ring round results will be reported back to the Branch Secretary in case people weren’t contacted.
Northamptonshire has collated two lists of volunteers, those helping with food deliveries / medicines etc. and those who are willing to support the Force and Voluntary Organisations within Northamptonshire. This has been well received by members and indeed Northamptonshire Police. 90 colleagues are listed to date, some of whom are already assisting in the Local Resilience Forum and helping to distribute aid where it is needed.
The Branch sends a letter either by email or post to all its members outlining what they can do to seek assistance and advice should they require any.
The Branch has also requested for volunteers to be available if required to collect food, prescriptions etc. and to contact by phone over 50 of its members who are either widow members, suffering ill health or elderly so that they have some personal contact with the branch.
The Branch has had several offers of help and are now in the process of contacting the members on their list.
The branch has sent a “paper” newsletter to each and every member with the assistance of NARPO HQ. The newsletter gave details of ways to contact the Branch Secretary, who is acting as the central co-ordination point for volunteers and those needing help.
Online help is being coordinated through the Branch Facebook page, which is also being used to keep spirits up by posting lots of old photos getting members to reminisce and tell funny stories from years gone by. The Branch Secretary has been helping those less technically savvy to set up tablets and laptops and to get Facebook accounts and join the Branch page.
The Branch fortnightly email newsletter is continuing to be published. This goes to nearly 70% of the branch membership. It reiterates advice and notices from the Branch and NARPO HQ as well as being used as a platform to circulate the latest advice from HM Government.
The committee is able to communicate via e mail and telephone. They have circulated members who are computer literate via their website and Facebook page the fact that they are available either by phone or e mail for help if it is needed, and also asked them to report if they are aware of any non-computer literate members needing assistance.
Hastings and Rother
Hastings and Rother District Branch is keeping in touch with all members, especially widows and vulnerable members, with regular telephone calls, on – line Branch Magazine and via email, including those members who live abroad.
Members know that the Branch cannot visit, due to the current restrictions but they know who to contact if needed.
The Branch has adopted an incremental response.
• In response to a member suggesting that the police service might wish at some stage for volunteers, responses were invited. 17 volunteered, details sent to Silver Commander• Branch website forum page opened to record comments, actions, etc.
• Government/Health advice reiterated on forum
• Branch Newsletter circulated electronically to 1063 members, hard copy posted to remaining 150 members notifying postponement of social events, welfare arrangements, meetings (Branch and AGM to conducted electronically), communication arrangements.
• Reinforcement of Government/Health advice. Commencement of ring-round to 360 people over 74 years of age managed by Area Welfare Coordinators through teams of volunteers. Members residing out of the Branch area also contacted. Responses highlighted gratitude for the call, some instances of loneliness. Intention to repeat the process at 10 – 14 day intervals. Volunteers advised of risks and need to contact Social Care Services or other appropriate organisation should the need arise (details of the contact points of all external bodies are carried on the Branch website).
• As a result of contact with Suffolk Community Advisory Service details circulated of ‘Tribe Volunteer’, the scheme to support people in need across the County. NARPO efforts registered as a volunteer organisation within the scheme.
• Minutes of (electronic) Branch meeting of that date posted on Branch website to assist information and communication to members
• Exchanges of comments of gratitude on website forum.
• Alerts and advice issued to members to guard against scamming. Safeguarding advice issued.
• Specific attention given to health/welfare of Branch Committee members.
• Branch Committee agreed that during the period when physical NARPO representation at funerals cannot occur, the Branch would increase the amount to £60 to a charity nominated by the next of kin (thus benefiting the family and charities currently experiencing financial loss).
• Send out regular emails ‘NARPO Updates’ – with news, stories and ‘up-beat’ photos;
• Email specifically setting up ‘a mutual aid’ group willing to safely assist others, followed by a message advising Members there was assistance available and to contact Secretary/Committee Member should they be isolating/confined to barracks. Offering services ‘from a friendly phone call to shopping done (less uptake on this, but trickling in)
• Committee Members networking across their Geographic areas and peer groups. (Manager of ‘ready meal’ supplier – helping Members direct)
• Extra Newsletter will be sent out to inform those not on ‘IT’ and phone calls carried out by Welfare Officers
• Reduced the death notifications to Monthly circulation. Local website kept updated
Keeping in contact with folks and trying to keep positive messages – Members have been asked to send in stories and photos to share. Also encouraged folks to make contact to ‘re-connect’ with former colleagues/old friends were contact has been ‘lost’.
The Branch, as a group, is offering mutual-aid to those who need it most e.g. to simply assist with shopping.
They are planning to offer help to those who are self-isolating, be it through the advice given by the Govt/NHS advice. To these ends the Branch is identifying 2 groups:
1. Those over 70yrs of age.
2. Those already in self-isolation or preparing to go into self-isolation.
3. Those who are vulnerable with pre-existing conditions AND those who live with people in this category.
4. Have no other means of this support from family/friends.
1. Those under 70yrs of age and ***HEALTHY*** at this stage.
2. Willing to assist with our members in their home locality.
3. Have their own transport and willing to use it at your own expense.
*** Both groups need to live in the Keighley & district area***
The Branch’s initial thoughts are to assist GROUP A by doing their shopping – that’s all that is required at this stage – nothing difficult other than time-consuming.
They have identified a co-coordinator who will co-ordinate this and identify where the support is needed and which member of GROUP B will provide that support and link both groups together.
Leeds has a group of 15 volunteers directed by a coordinator to assist vulnerable members with shopping and pharmacy needs.
This group was initially set up to provide support to isolated and lonely members but is now focusing its efforts on Coronavirus isolation of vulnerable members both old and young.
The network of volunteers covers a large area with members available across West, North & East Yorkshire.
The Branch has set up a facilitated message sharing service between branch members who have lost contact with folk, which has been received very well and received If someone sends the Branch Secretary an email to contact specific individual, if they are a member, it will be forwarded.
If the Secretary receive san email asking them to be mentioned to members of the branch, it is circulated by bulk email to members.
Leeds has also sent out the following messaging-
We Need to Look Out for Each Other. If you know someone in need or difficulty, please contact us so we can arrange help.
Dudley and District
Dudley branch has called all members over the age of 80 initially, where dates of birth and phone numbers have been recorded. Support and reassurance have been provided with a reminder of who to call. This will be repeated with the intention of calling a wider age range.
A Coronavirus Newsletter has been sent to members to provide advice and to remind members to update their details such as phone numbers and email addresses so contact can be made. A list of contact email addresses for the Committee were included along with a phone number for those who don’t use the internet.
Dudley and District NARPO Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram continue to provide support and information to members. Warnings and advice are being provided on these platforms by both the Committee and members. The Ladies Group WhatsApp is also very active within our membership.
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