Welfare Calls - so much more than just a friendly chat

Move the Masses have over 100 vulnerable people paired up with volunteers for a friendly phone call in these trying times. But along with the comfort and connection of a welfare call, what also comes up in conversation is the additional support that those people require.

After each phone call, our volunteers log on to a main database to record their welfare call. They also note down any additional support needed. 

Two of our volunteers, husband and wife team Nikki and Rich, are self isolating due to one of them having underlying health conditions. Already dedicated volunteers, they both felt a bit useless not being able to join in with the thrust in delivering prescriptions and groceries out and about in the city during COVID-19. 

So they asked to help; they were tasked with monitoring and reacting to all the support requirements coming in to the Move the Masses database and ensuring additional action takes place. All from the safety of their own home.

And this is no mean feat. 

For every volunteer that logs down that the person they called needs extra support, there is a whole further process to go through. 

A phone call needs to be made to the volunteer first, to clarify the situation, then to the beneficiary to ensure they still want that specific piece of support. And finally to one of several partnering organisations to ensure that support is booked and can be carried through. 

GoodGym are one of the organisations Move the Masses are referring to the most. They have runners all over the city shopping and delivery groceries to the isolated people our volunteers are talking to. 

Nikki and Rich are also keen GoodGym volunteers and were super excited to be able to  coordinate between the two charities. 

Partnerships are incredibly important year round for charities, and York is always good at connecting those groups. 

But at times like this, it is absolutely crucial. 

So far we have forwarded on 11 grocery shopping requests to GoodGym York.

Nikki said: 

It’s great to be so involved and to be able to contribute in a worthwhile way. Along with sorting out all the additional support, it is actually really nice to read all the positive feedback in the logs, hearing what a difference the phone calls are making to the people’s wellbeing and state of mind.

We also recognised that because of the large number of volunteers, many of whom had never done anything like this before, there were lots of ways people could learn from one another, so we collated the knowledge and produced a FAQ document which they have found really useful.

Move the Masses are also passing on details of people in urgent need of food to the the Food Hubs set up by the Council. They are providing food parcels with a few day’s worth of groceries in, to tide a person over before a shop can be bought for them. 

Egg Cameron, Move the Masses Founder who is leading the COVID-19 volunteer coordination, said: 

The Council have been very responsive and supportive. Occasionally our volunteers have not been able to get through to a person requesting a call, so the Council have informed the Police Community Support Officers who visit the resident in person to check all is ok.

Move the Masses are also referring to other organisations such as York Neighbours and Age UK and when some has multiple complex needs, they are in touch with the Local Area Coordinators, who offer excellent support to many of our most vulnerable residents throughout the city all year long.