For Volunteers and Agencies

A post for volunteers about changes to how we work

The Support Redditch Emergency Network was set up on 21 March 2020 to deliver aid and relief to the people of Redditch at a time of crisis, and though we are just over a month old we have learned an awful lot on our journey.

In this update:

  1. Volunteer Dashboard Changes
  2. Service Managers
  3. Important Personal Shopping Changes
  4. Volunteer Guidance

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

Mahatma Gandhi

We are honoured to be a network that joins together community groups across Redditch with volunteers, all delivering services to people in need. Through our network we have access to over 300 volunteers, with more available on reserve. We have delivered hundreds of food parcels, done numerous personal shopping trips and our volunteers have queued for hours on end to get prescriptions for people.

Volunteer Dashboard Changes

It all started with a Volunteer Dashboard, but it soon became apparent that the needs we are servicing and the people we are helping are far more complex than can be listed as a ‘job’ on a marketplace.

That’s why we’ve decided to change the way we work to introduce more centralised control over jobs.

Going forwards we will now start to alert volunteers about jobs using Microsoft Teams. You won’t need to check the Volunteer Dashboard for jobs.

Instead, we will put out a post on Teams to tell all volunteers about a job and we will pick the first volunteer to respond who lives closest to the person in need.

That means you might well reply first to a job, but it might end up going to someone else who lives nearer to the person.

Here’s what it looks like in Teams.

Teams 1

In this example we were able to identify a volunteer within a minute of Emma putting out an appeal.

Teams is better than our Facebook Group and Emails because it allows us to get hold of volunteers quickly and easily. It can take up to 48 hours for all members of a Facebook Group to see a post, and emails can often end up in spam or lost in the mass of emails we all get every day. It also takes longer for us to get responses to emails and collate those, as well as having to reply to each email we get back.

By having the conversation with our volunteers over Teams everyone can see what’s happening, everyone can get a feel for the work that’s coming in and more volunteers will have an opportunity to do a job.

Do I need to check the Dashboard?

No. The only time you need to use the Dashboard is when a prescription collection is assigned to you (which you will first know about from Teams).

I can’t get into Teams

If you are struggling to get into Teams please email and we’ll do what we can to help.

We have sent an email invite to all volunteers – but please let us know if there’s another address we can use. For example, if you have Teams with your workplace it might be easier for us to add your work address to our Teams system so you can see both your workplace teams and our teams in one place.

We recommend downloading a copy of Teams to run on your device.

Service Managers

We are pleased to announce our wonderful Service Managers who are handling calls and managing jobs/referrals that come through to us.

If you would like to reach a Service Manager you can now call 01527 919 869 along with the general public. Please make sure you tell the Service Manager you speak with that you’re a volunteer. You can also email and this will be picked up by a Service Manager.

Our Service Managers are:

  • Chris Thomas
  • Emma Marshall
  • Shannon Gawn
  • Rachel Ind
  • Shaz Harvey
  • Maria Brannelly
  • Liz Williams

This is in addition to our Trustees and other back-office volunteers and providers who are part of our network.

Personal Shopping Changes

No PIN Numbers

We have now introduced a payment system for card payments. That means it is no longer appropriate for volunteers to physically handle cards. Not only is this an infection risk, there is a large financial risk involved with handling someone’s card and their PIN number. If there are any volunteers doing this we are asking for it to stop immediately.

Instead, the customer should be referred to register their shopping request at or by calling 01527 919 869 or emailing

This keeps volunteers safe, it keeps our residents safe and it keeps the Support Redditch network safe.

Where you have a relationship with the resident as a volunteer and don’t want to let them down we would point out that you can log the shopping request for them on the system, on their behalf. If you do this please write your details in the notes and tell us about your relationship with the resident. We will do everything we can to ensure you deliver their shopping, however it might not be possible at this stage and might have to be delivered by one of our shopping team members.

More Guidance to Follow

We are writing-up fresh volunteer agreements and guidance on do’s and don’ts when it comes to volunteering at this crucial time.

Most of this is likely to appear in our new Volunteer Knowledge Base.

However, whilst we’re building the knowledge base, we would point you to some COVID-19 Mutual Support resources.

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