Hyndford/Speed Support Group

Mike Press
3 min readMar 19, 2020

Guidance for helpers

These notes draw on best practice that we’ve seen from other similar groups, and have been checked by a consultant surgeon and senior nurse.

  • We will set up a WhatsApp group and all communication between helpers will go through this. If any meetings are needed we will arrange these via Zoom or Skype. The WhatsApp group focuses exclusively on helping those in need, and not for exchanging views and opinions.
  • All communication with folk needing support will be via text or phone (this is the most inclusive way of inviting folk to contact us).
  • If a helper needs support in meeting needs in their immediate area, then let the WhatsApp group know and others can rally around. Also, if you need to self-isolate yourself, let us all know.
  • Leave any shopping at a person’s door and call them to let them know it’s arrived. Minimise any face to face conversation and stay at least two metres from them.
  • Advise people you have delivered shopping to do the following: (1) disinfect all nonporous food packaging or containers with a suitable disinfectant spray or wipes before they store them away, (2) wash open fruit and vegetables by washing under the tap and scrubbing with a soft brush, (3) disinfect all surfaces where food bags have been and your reusable shopping bags, (4) after handling food and food packaging thoroughly wash hands for a minimum of 20 seconds.
  • Where suitable surface disinfectants are unavailable either make a solution using bleach (see below) or clean any surfaces using detergent and hot water.
  • Think carefully in advance about how they will pay you for the shopping. You should avoid any protracted exchange of notes and coins and finding change to give them. While some may offer digital transfer (the best option), a cheque left in an envelope on the doorstep is probably safest. It’s up to you, but if it’s likely to be a regular thing, then keeping a running tally and paying you at a mutually agreed point may be a better alternative.
  • Thorough hand washing should be done frequently, and always done following touching the face, or using public transport.
  • Keep data of people we’re helping (names, contact details, shopping lists, etc) paper based and destroy when we no longer need it.
  • Do not pass on personal data from those requesting help to anyone, especially other organisations or institutions. This is both for legal reasons (GDPR) and to protect vulnerable people who might not be safe if you share their details. This includes the council or other public bodies.
  • People doing support work should have as low a chance of being infected as is possible. If you show symptoms of infection, forward details of contact you have had with at-risk people to other helpers. Cease doing support work immediately.
  • Wearing gloves should be done while handling all items which may be given to people who are immuno-compromised and while in proximity to anyone who may be infected.
  • Public transport must be avoided.
  • It is tempting to offer to lend folk books, magazines or DVDs. Don’t.
  • Ideally masks should be worn where possible, by both people doing support, and people needing support, but if in short supply should be prioritised for situations where people must come into close physical proximity.
  • There is no evidence that food is a source of coronavirus, and based on what we know about similar viruses, it would be inactivated through thorough cooking and the disinfection of food preparation surfaces. Despite this, do not offer to cook food for folk.

Disinfecting spray is in very short supply — but you can easily make a disinfectant spray using bleach. Full details from Michigan State University: https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/covid-19-disinfecting-with-bleach

The latest on coronavirus and food from Food Standards Scotland:


We also need to be creative in thinking of ways of helping folk overcome a sense of isolation. As we get more towards spring, Murray has suggested socially distanced garden visits. Over in Glasgow the Good Morning Service provides telephone to older people — “calling at a pre-arranged time to check that all is well and for a good blether”. We could think of doing similar.