Virtual Hospice, Work Health and Safety, Volunteering

This week our Social Impact Briefing focuses on the virtual hospice by Shooting Star Children’s Hospices, new guidance on work health and safety, and volunteering during COVID-19.

Authors: Borimir Totev
  • Reading time: 5 min.
  • Posted on: April 27, 2020

A virtual children’s hospice

Shooting Star Children’s Hospices is a leading children’s hospice charity caring for babies, children and young people with life-limiting conditions, and their families. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the charity has had to close its Hampton site. In reaction to this, they’ve launched a virtual children’s hospice to ensure that the families they support are still able to access some of the vital services they provide. The virtual hospice features:

– telephone check-ins
– a closed Facebook group for parents of children who currently use the hospice
– a hub with useful resources and activities for parents

Our family groups are always so well received and attended. They provide an outlet for supported children, parents, siblings and grandparents and enable them to spend time with others in similar circumstances, socialising in a safe environment. The current crisis means that families who are already very vulnerable could be feeling even more isolated, so we hope by hosting these groups online, and setting up a closed Facebook group, it will give the families we support the opportunity to socialise with one another, discuss any anxieties and also have some fun.

Anne Bridgman, Head of Care at Shooting Star Children’s Hospices Guildford hospice, Christopher’s

In addition to the virtual hospice, Shooting Star Children’s Hospices have moved some of their traditional in-person groups to online video conferencing. A step which will also hope to increase the accessibility of service on offer. You can donate to their Coronavirus Crisis appeal here in order to prevent a stop to services providing end-of-life and emergency respite care.

We’ve been proud to previously work with Shooting Star Children’s Hospices on a Christmas advert for families facing their first Christmas alone since losing a loved one.

Safety and health at work can save lives

Every year on April 28th, all around the world the trade union movement unites to mark International Workers’ Memorial Day, remembering those who have lost their lives at work, or from work-related injury and diseases. 

April 28th is also World Day for Safety and Health at Work. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s campaign by the International Labour Organization (ILO), another one of our amazing partners, will focus on addressing the outbreak of infectious diseases at work. 

The ILO have released a new report for Safety and Health at Work 2020 and an actions checklist – a management tool with over 30 points for a collaborative approach between employers, supervisors and workers to assess COVID-19 risks as a step to take measures to protect the safety and health of workers.

Source: Prevention and Mitigation of COVID-19 at Work Action Checklist by the International Labour Organization

Today, the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work in cooperation with the European Commission, has also issued in-depth guidance on coming back to work. The guidance, which can be accessed here, contains links to national information on specific sectors and occupations. These will be updated regularly with reliable information as the situation evolves.

Volunteering during COVID-19

Currently, guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme published by HM Revenue & Customs indicates that furloughed employees are able to take part in volunteer work, as long as they don’t make money for the organisation or any organisation linked or associated with the organisation that has furloughed them.

Last week, as reported by Third Sector, 60 charity leaders, including First UK, Blood Cancer UK, and the children’s charity Variety, called on the Chancellor to change rules on furloughed workers volunteering. Charity leaders raised their concerns that the current restrictions can bring their already limited services to a halt. 

A final thought: could charities, particularly those working with similar beneficiary groups, consider pooling together to create a volunteer swap system?

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