Inevitably at this time churches are being encouraged to think about those who may be in greater need, isolated or unable to get out and about. Whilst working within government and health guidance about levels of contact and self-isolation we also want to remember standard safeguarding practice including:
- being clear about the role any visitor is performing
- making sure that anyone who is visiting has oversight from the church
- making sure that someone else is told about the visit, its purpose and reporting back any points of particular concern
- anyone who wishes to start visiting at this time undergoes standard safe recruitment processes
For those receiving visits
- Do not allow strangers into your home, even if they claim to be part of a Community Support Scheme. Check with the scheme first (not using the phone number supplied by your ‘visitor’)
- Do not pay for shopping in advance
- Pay for your shopping deliveries by:
- Bank transfer if you are online or a family member can arrange this
- Telephone banking – this can be arranged by phoning the number on the back of your bank card
- Cheque (if you don’t have Covid19)
- Cash - The ‘Payout Now’ scheme has recently been extended and offered to all banks, building societies and credit unions. It allows people who are shielded or self-isolating, to access cash without having to hand over a debit card and PIN to somebody else. If the bank allows it, someone can ask for a one-time barcode sent via text, email or post for a stipulated amount. A trusted friend or volunteer can exchange the voucher for the cash requested.
The person who is self-isolating needs to tell their bank exactly how much they want to withdraw from their account, up to a limit set by the bank, and allow a family member, trusted friend or volunteer to collect it on their behalf in exchange for the voucher.’
For those undertaking visits and/ or keeping in contact with members and associates
- You will need to think about care for your community who are ill or self-isolating, and how you can support them. Current advice for those who are self-isolating is to try to avoid visitors to your home - although friends, family or delivery drivers can drop off food. You might be able to collect essential supplies and medication for them. Also consider other methods of communicating with those who are ill or self-isolating, such as phone or email
- The new Foundation Module materials remind church volunteers and paid staff of the need to protect themselves, so as well as washing your hands as instructed, keep records of shopping payments, receipts etc.
- Pay particular attention to the care and needs of single people and the elderly who are isolated from their families.
- You may want to think about how you will pastorally and spiritually support your community during this time which may be frightening and difficult for some people. You can download worship resources here or perhaps direct people to live-streamed services online that they can take part in.
- Please also see guidance for adults who may not be used to using the internet safely (Word doc)
This period will inevitably present a number of challenges including managing safeguarding considerations and whilst the churches’ safeguarding policy will continue to provide the main source of guidance and direction (add link to SG page), you may have to make temporary decisions in respect of individuals. This may mean that contact that individuals who may pose a risk to others or have restrictions placed on them by virtue of a Safeguarding Contract will need to be suspended or altered (as many subjects of Safeguarding contracts and/or MSG members will be over 70). Please contact your District Safeguarding Officer or the Connexional Safeguarding Team if you wish to discuss specific concerns.
Being transparent and safe online
See our guide to Pastoral Contacts for ministers in a virtual world (Word doc)
Coronavirus lockdown is a dangerous time for victims of domestic abuse – here’s what you need to know: https://apple.news/AzttzfJHsSuSsLnDXvr546Q
Children and young people
Visit the specially created section on the Children, Youth and Family Ministries pages for advice on setting up virtual youth groups.