Safeguarding in the community during a time of crisis

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As a direct response to COVID-19 we are relying more and more on our communities to come together to support people living alone and families who are at risk due to existing health conditions.

Here in Salford we have a network of volunteers who have come together to meet the growing need emerging during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some of these are large networks such as the Spirit of Salford Network or the army of volunteers recruited via the NHS. Others are much smaller, built up by grassroots communities who come together due to locality or shared interest or simply from a mutual willingness to want to help people at a time of national crisis.

The community – a valuable asset

Having positive and trusting relationships with families they support puts the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector at the heart of safeguarding, especially at time when so many services and face to face contact has ceased due to the COVID-19 response

When it comes to safeguarding children and vulnerable adults the community has always been a valuable asset. Communities are often the eyes and ears of safeguarding, whether that be alerting authorities when they have concerns about the welfare of children or vulnerable adults, or stepping in to support their own family, friends or neighbours at times of need.

From speaking to our membership organisations, we know there are wonderful examples of groups who, knowing their communities are isolated, have mobilised themselves to seek out and support those who are more at risk, developing support networks to ensure regular contact when required.

Salford Talking News– Safeguarding their readers

Unable to provide their regular news updates due to office closures Salford Talking Newspaper for the Blind have been proactive in ensuring their readers are safe and being supported by family members, friends or volunteers. They do this by providing telephone contact, offering a listening ear, friendly chat and if required linking readers into existing support networks across Salford.

Many of their readers may not have direct support from family or close friends and could be facing this period of isolation unsupported. If they are not able to contact their readers by telephone, the team at Salford Talking Newspaper is taking action by alerting staff at Salford City Council and requesting that a home visit is arranged ensuring that their readers are safe and have all the support they require at this difficult time.

You can find out more about the work of Salford Talking news on their Facebook page or their website.

There are many more examples of this kind of response, local charities, community groups and voluntary organisations going above and beyond to ensure that our communities continue to feel supported during these difficult times.

Encouraging a culture of safeguarding across the city

As a city we are responding fast and efficiently to emerging needs and whilst this is welcome and generates a real spirit of community it is also important that NOW more than ever we encourage a culture of Safeguarding within our communities.

Salford’s Safeguarding Children Partnership and the Safeguarding Adults Board have jointly produced a really useful resource: Safeguarding Information for Volunteers 7-minute briefing The briefing reiterates that:

“All professionals have a duty to safeguard. As a volunteer it is important that you understand how to spot the signs of abuse and neglect and how to report any concerns that you may have.”

This briefing will really help you to consider safeguarding if you are new to volunteering and will serve as an essential reminder for those of you who understand the importance of considering safeguarding in your contact with communities.

Read the safeguarding briefing here.

As you may come in to contact with people you have never met before if you see or hear anything that concerns you, in relation to a child or a vulnerable adult, it’s really important that you share those concerns.

Safeguarding is everybody’s business if you have a concern about a child or an adult pass it on

Don’t Ignore it, Report it

If you are worried about an adult, call the Adult Contact Centre on 0161 631 4777

If you are worried about a child or young person call The Bridge on 0161 603 4500,

Telephones lines are open between 8.30am-4.30pm. Outside these hours call the Emergency Duty Team on 0161 794 8888.

If you believe a person to be at immediate risk of harm or in need of emergency medical attention call 999

Salford CVS
Author: 
Deb Drinkwater, Safeguarding Development Worker

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Email: office@salfordcvs.co.uk

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Salford CVS is the city-wide infrastructure organisation for the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector; providing specialist information, advice, development support and opportunities for influence and collaboration.

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