• Recap: Coronavirus Advice Drop-in Session 05 June

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    • Recap: Coronavirus Advice Drop-in Session 05 June
    • by Mariana Pacheco
      Support and Engagement Executive for England

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    As the situation around coronavirus, develops we want to make sure that our members can access the guidance they need to understand any actions or precautions they might need to take.  We’re regularly publishing and updating important guidance for the community transport sector which you can find on our main guidance page at ctauk.org/covid19-guidance/

    As well as this, you can also contact the CTA advice service if you need any further information, or have any more questions. The CTA team are currently working remotely, so to ensure you speak to the right person first time, please email advice@ctauk.org to receive a call back for advice and support. Our advice service operates 10:00-4:00 Monday-Friday.  

    Our weekly advice service drop-ins 

    To help support our members throughout this difficult time, we’re also holding an ‘Advice Service Drop-in’ on a weekly basis. This is an opportunity for you to share how you are being affected by the situation, to ask any questions you may have and to talk to other members about how they’re coping. Whilst we may not have all the answers, we will continue to seek clarity and guidance from the relevant bodies on your behalf and these conversations will inform what we’re doing at CTA to support you 

    For those unable to make it, we will be sharing a summary of the points that are discussed during the sessions, including any best-practice or advice from other CTA members that they share during the call.  

    Last week’s call  

    Volunteers’ Week

    Last week was Volunteers’ Week, and we spent it celebrating community transport’s incredible volunteers. More than ever, they are making an enormous difference to the lives of so many people and we couldn’t miss the opportunity to say thank you. Throughout the week, we were inundated with messages and pictures from operators all over the country expressing their gratitude to their volunteers. It was heartening to see so much engagement and we were really proud to be a part of spreading so much positivity! You can take a look at some of the tweets at twitter.com/CTAUK1 .

    On that same note, we started last week’s Advice Drop-in session by looking at how volunteers can best be supported and safeguarded during the coronavirus pandemic with a webinar for participants which was presented during the first half of the call. Topics such as volunteer wellbeing, training for volunteers, access to coronavirus testing, scam reporting, DBS checks, data protection and insurance for volunteers, amongst others, were brought to the conversation, and really useful resources were shared.

    If you missed last week’s call and you’d like to know more about supporting and safeguarding volunteers during COVID-19, you can do so by downloading the presentation here.

    Volunteers over 70 

    As with the previous week, this was also a topic that members wanted to talk about, as operators are getting more and more requests from volunteers over the age of 70 to get back to work. This is a real concern for many organisations because as much as they are grateful for their volunteers’ dedication and would love to see them back behind the wheel, or in the office, they don’t want to compromise anyone’s safety.

    Our advice remains that, first, you should understand if any of your volunteers over the age of 70 are classed as ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’. If so, it is not advisable for anyone in this group to return to a driving role. Anyone else over the age of 70 is still automatically classed as ‘clinically vulnerable’, but whilst guidance advises these individuals to stay at home at much as possible, they can leave their homes. Where possible, you should first consider offering volunteering roles that can be done from home, such as telephone befriending, or roles where maintaining social distance is easier, such as making deliveries. You can read our most up-to-date guidance on this topic on our main guidance page here.

    Risk assessments

    For the last three months, our members have been operating in a very different environment, adapting their services to support the needs of their communities during lock-down. However, as certain restrictions start to lift across the UK, it’s important to plan for ‘life after lock-down’ and how community transport is going to adapt to the ‘new normal’ in the coming months. Members are rethinking their strategies and adjusting their operations in order to comply with guidance on safety and social distancing, with their priority being, as ever, the safety and security of their passengers, staff and volunteers. A key part of this planning is putting together  a comprehensive risk assessment for your services and this was a topic that came up on this week’s call.

    At CTA, we’re putting together coronavirus risk assessment guidance for community transport providers in conjunction with members and will be sharing this shortly. In the meantime, you can access the Health and Safety Executive’s guidance as well as CTA’s Advice Leaflet on Health & Safety Risk Assessments.

    PPE – online resources

    Another topic that was raised during the call was personal protective equipment (PPE), in particular face masks. Gemma Lelliott, CTA’s Support and Engagement Executive for South Wales,  shared two websites that give instructions on how to make face masks, which can be accessed here and here.

    The conversation also led to discussion about some of the practicalities of using PPE, with several members reporting concerns that face masks had fogged drivers’ glasses. Others who  have installed screen protection between the diver and the passengers have noticed that the windshield is now steaming up quite regularly. In order to prevent both scenarios, this website provides some tips on how to keep your glasses from steaming up, and this product helps eliminating fogging and condensation inside vehicles and on mirrors.

    You can find further information on PPE as part of our main guidance page here.

    Our next call

    Our next advice drop-in calls is taking place on Friday 12 June from 11:00-12:00.  If you would like to join, please email advice@ctauk.org with the subject line ‘Covid-19 weekly drop-in’.

    As ever, you can find our latest coronavirus guidance at  ctauk.org/covid19-guidance/and, if you need advice or support on this or anything else, or if you have any ideas for topics you want to be discussed at future drop-ins, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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