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North Mymms coronavirus helpline receives 125 calls in two weeks

Volunteers assisting with shopping and other daily tasks

Shopping list image by Santeri Viinamäki released via Creative Commons, woman on phone image via pxfuel released via Creative Commons, dog walking image by Maurice Pullin released via Wikimedia Commons, and picture of medication by Marco Verch released via Creative Commons.

Two weeks ago the North Mymms Youth Project (NMYP) set up a support service for those self-isolating because of the coronavirus outbreak.

In that time they have received in the region of 125 requests for help, with 90 people volunteering to pitch in.

When the scheme was launched, the NMYP said it had a core team ready to post letters, do shopping, walk dogs, or just have a chat on the phone.

Two weeks on volunteers have been busy assisting families with young children who are currently self-isolating, helping keyworkers who are struggling to find time to go to the shops, and supporting the elderly and more vulnerable residents who are not meant to be leaving the house at the moment.

95 volunteers on standby

There are five volunteers in the core team, with another 90 people having offered their help.

Of those volunteers dealing directly with the public, 20 people have already been DBS checked (Disclosure and Barring Service), and there are another 20 currently in the process of being checked.

There are also 50 volunteers who have offered to help in other ways as required.

Anyone requiring assistance is asked to call 01707-444420 (a 24-hour answerphone) and leave a message. Alternatively the group can be contacted via email at help@nmyouth.org.uk. There is no charge for this service.

How the help initiative works

When someone leaves an answerphone message, or sends an email to the NMYP, the information is shared between the core group of five people.

The details of the request are then posted on a password-protected webpage.

Volunteers will be able to see only a general description of the help needed, such as ‘shopping required, Dixons Hill Road’.

If a volunteer is able to help with the request they tell the core team.

At that point the name and contact details of the person needing help is shared with the volunteer.

A password is then issued to the volunteer and the person needing help.

The password will be used on the doorstep when the volunteer calls in order to give the recipient of the help confidence about who is calling at their door.

All volunteers will be given a guidance sheet containing advice on how they should deal with requests, as well as how they should deal with those needing help.

The NMYP says that, depending on how the situation develops, it might be necessary to split the parish of North Mymms into smaller areas with a core team for each.

The charity says it will review the situation regularly and it might also need to change the core team if any members become ill or have to self-isolate.

As well as dealing with requests from vulnerable individuals, the NMYP is open to dealing with more general requests for help from other community organisations as appropriate.

The North Mymms Youth Project is a registered charity, number 1166086.

Below is a flyer that has been posted door-to-door throughout the parish.

There are also many other offers of help being posted on local Facebook sites and other social media in the area.

As with all offers it’s important to ensure that those offering help are genuine. Earlier this month, Hertfordshire police warned about an increase in the number of coronavirus-related scams aimed mainly at the elderly.

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