Nunhead Knocks volunteers are working in many ways to get vital support to people affected by the Covid-19 crisis. There are many initiatives that are self-organised by groups of Nunhead Knocks volunteers, but at the core of our work is providing a system for people who need support. They can request assistance either through the phone, email, or online, and be connected to someone in the community who can help.

A quick overview of our system

When Nunhead Knocks receives a request for support, it is entered into a database via a web form (regardless of how it came in). Volunteers also register through a web form. There is a central database that stores the information from these web forms. This is a limited-access database, and anyone with access is expected to take great care with entering and managing data correctly, and to follow our privacy and safeguarding guidelines.

The database

The database holds information about people who have requested support (the ‘requester’) and people who have offered to be community volunteers (‘volunteers’). Each support request becomes a ‘case’. Requesters can have multiple cases, and multiple volunteers can be assigned to a case (for example, if someone needs both dog walking AND grocery delivery). There are also situations in which someone can be a volunteer AND a requester, such as someone who is volunteering to chat with lonely folks but is also self-isolating and needs support with grocery delivery. 

For a visual overview of the process and systems, please see these 2 documents:

There are two types of cases

Vulnerable cases 

These are cases that need assistance from someone with experience working with vulnerable people. Please see the Matching Masters safeguarding guidance for more information. These are labelled At Risk on the Requesters Tab.

  • Has needs for care and/or support whether they are known to the council or not
  • As a result of care and support needs is unable to protect themselves from abuse
  • Have a learning disability or learning difficulty (this is often a self definition)
  • Has (a) physical impairment(s) and/or mental health issues
  • Have addiction issues
  • Are frail/have underlying health problems
  • Are liable to become very unwell if their medication is stored incorrectly or stopped abruptly

Standard cases

Standard cases from someone who is not vulnerable will be referred to Zone Coordinators for matching.

Cases may also be marked emergency (personal status field marked emergency), which means that they need same-day attention before close of business that day. These may be either specialised or standard cases. If a case is identified as urgent by the communication monitors, the phone volunteers Slack channel will be alerted, enabling a member of the matching team to look into it immediately. 

Who's who in the matching process?

There are 3 types of people who make matches between requesters (people who need support) and volunteers. 

Matching Champions

Assess and assign all requests for support that come into the database. Cases are assessed for the urgency of the case and vulnerability of the requester. Most cases are passed on to either a specialist (for vulnerable cases) or the hyperlocal Zone Coordinators (for standard cases), but the Matching Champion will likely also take on some emergency/urgent but non-vulnerable cases, finding a volunteer and connecting them to the requester directly.

Matching Specialists

People with backgrounds in therapy, social care, or other related fields who are DBS checked and have training in relevant fields supporting vulnerable people. They make matches between people requesting support and volunteers who are a good fit, identifying volunteers with the necessary background to work with the vulnerable person, and providing additional support and advice to both parties along the way.

Zone Coordinators

We have 29 zones across Nunhead, Queens Road Peckham and Peckham Rye. We have assigned two Zone Coordinators per zone, as well as a Mutual Aid representative (who will be responsible for providing alignment between the Nunhead Knocks and the Mutual Aid organisations).

Zone coordinators will work together to take on standard cases, match volunteers to requesters, and monitor the relationship, be the point of contact for any questions (channeling these back to the central team if needed) and follow up to ensure that cases have been successfully completed/ongoing relationships are still working. The role description can be found here and safeguarding guidance is here

What we can help with - and what we can’t

Nunhead Knocks volunteers have signed up to provide support to each other in the crisis, but there are some things we can’t do, either because we aren’t qualified, or it’s not safe, or it’s not appropriate.

What volunteers can help with:

  • Doing shopping/deliveries for self-isolators who can pay them back online or in cash (see safety protocols)
  • Dog walking for self-isolators
  • Connecting lonely people to volunteers to talk with them
  • Providing hot meals to particularly vulnerable people who used to get them at the Green or other places 
  • Doing shopping/deliveries for people who can’t to pay right now because they don’t have online banking
  • Providing food free of charge to people who can’t afford food and can’t pay us back

What volunteers can't help with:

  • Providing childcare

Basic process for making direct matches between a volunteer and a person requesting support

Whether you are a Matching Champion, a Matching Specialist or a Zone Coordinator, you may be required to make a match between a person requesting help and a volunteer.

NOTE: all italicized words refer to field names in the database.

In all three situations, the process is as follows:

  • Review the requester details (type of request and requester message in Requests view)
  • Use the Volunteer tab on the database to identify potential volunteer(s). There may be several volunteers needed for one case (e.g., dog walking and delivery). It’s also good to identify a few potential volunteers in case the requester objects to one, or the volunteer is no longer available or interested in helping, to avoid going back and forth too much. Try to identify appropriate volunteers as close to the requester as possible.
  • Finding a volunteer is best done by taking the postcode or street name of the request, and then searching for volunteers on the volunteers tab by putting the postcode or street name into the search bar. In the event you are unable to find anybody, use google maps to identify nearby streets and repeat.
  • Contact the requester to assess need, preferably by phone
  • If you can’t get through and leave a voicemail or they don’t reply immediately to an email/text, , leave the case as OPEN but note that you have called in the status notes field.
  • If you get through, use this basic script as a guide: (Specialists will have additional questions) "Hi, my name is X. I’m a volunteer with Nunhead Knocks. I hope to be able to connect you to another volunteer who can provide support, but I need to know a little more about you and your needs. Is now a good time?"
  • Confirm name, phone, address, and other contact information is correct.
  • Ask them to describe their needs - what support they need and for how long.
  • Ask them if they have any specific vulnerabilities you need to know about. 
  • For Zone Coordinators, if you learn that this person meets the definition of vulnerable person above, let them know that they will receive another call to talk through their needs from a specialist, and pass the request back on Slack to your Zone Coordinator lead (Kate Sandhu currently). [Note: this may change.]
  • If the requester is asking for something we just don’t do (e.g., child care), let them know that the request is not in our mandate.  If we have resources on the site or in your safeguarding guidance about where to find that assistance, you can signpost that, and suggest that they also check the council website. At this point, you can close the case (if 100% resolved), mark as referred if referred, or leave it open if it needs additional monitoring and a call-back to ensure that the requester has received assistance.
  • Ask them how they prefer to communicate - WhatsApp, text, phone
  • Ask them for a codeword that you will share only with the volunteer, and the volunteer will use to identify themselves
  • Ask if they have Covid-19 (so we can give the volunteers additional safety information)
  • Review the potential volunteers, using their first name and last initial, and ask if they have any objections to any of them (to prevent someone being matched with someone who has abused them in the past, or if the request is very personal and they don’t want people they know providing assistance)
  • Enter this information into the Cases tab of the database: date and time of first contact, additional information, code word. In the Requesters tab, tick Covid status if they currently have Covid.
  • Update Cases tab: notes on status if required.
  • Call the volunteer(s) and set up a brief video call to discuss the assignment. Use this basic script:

'Hi, my name is X. I’m a volunteer with Nunhead Knocks. I hope to be able to connect you to another volunteer who can provide support, but I need to know a little more about you and your needs. Is now a good time?'

  • Confirm name, phone, address, and other contact information is correct
  • I see in our database that you volunteered to do X. We have someone who could use your support. Are you still interested and available?
  • Describe the case. Ask if they are willing to take it on. 
  • If they are, give them the first name only of the requester, the codeword, and the requester’s preferred means of contact. Ask them to contact the requester right away, and to update you when they’ve provided the assistance. 
  • If it’s a match, assign the volunteer to the case by entering their name in the Case tab: volunteers assigned and ticking pair matched. 
  • Decide whether the case needs to be followed up on later. Most cases will need some follow  to ensure that the requester is getting the assistance and the volunteer is feeling ok about everything. Determine whether it’s a recurring request (e.g., a weekly delivery) or a one-time help request that you just need to make sure is completed. 
  • For one-off requests, check in with the requester to confirm that they got the help they needed. If the case is finalised, then in the Case tab, status field, select Completed.
  • For recurring requests, in the Case tab, tick recurring, enter the how often the assistance needs to take place in frequency, enter any notes in notes on recurring items, and the date the assistance will next happen in next recurring due date.
  • You will then be responsible for light-touch monitoring of all your cases to make sure assistance is still needed/provided and all is good with the pair match. 

Matching Champions Workflow

Please log onto the database several times daily (If you're likely to be unable to do this for a few days, please let other matching champions know to ensure we continue to provide a responsive service.

Notes on using views in the database:

  • All new cases awaiting action - filter cases with a status of  'Waiting' in the cases grid
  • Cases not yet actioned within 24 hours - filter cases with a tick in '>24H Response' column
  • Emergency & Vulnerable cases - use Grid - Priority Requests view
  • Cases referred to external partners - filter Status for 'Referred' in the cases grid
  • Cases on hold - filter Status for 'On Hold'
  • Recurring requests - use Calendar - Recurring view OR
  • Recurring requests and cases requiring follow up - filter Status for 'Open'

Find cases waiting for action

  • Look at the type of request and requester message fields. From this, determine what type of case it is.

Emergency cases

  • Select personal status and then select ‘Emergency’
  • If it is an emergency standard case, you are potentially going to identify the volunteer and make the match, as per the process above.
  • If the person is also vulnerable, see next step.
  • This will automatically change the case status to “In Progress”

Vulnerable cases

  • Select Vulnerable on the Requesters tab: personal status
  • Identify which specialists are available now.  (SYSTEM TBD - likely rota.)
  • Assign the specialist who volunteers to the case by selecting their name in the Case tab: Matching Specialist field

Standard cases

  • Tick passed to Zone Coordinator field. 
  • To select Zone Coordinators, select the relevant Zone Coordinators from the Zone Coordinator field on the Case Tab. Select all Zone Coordinators whose zone matches the zone of the requester.
  • If the case is not in one of our zones, but nearby and we have volunteers who might be able to help, make the match yourself
  • If it’s further afield, help put them in touch with the mutual aid group or other relevant aid in their community.
  • This will automatically change the status to “In Progress”

Other cases

  • If it is something we don’t do but needs referral to a professional charity, council or state assistance, pass it on to a Matching Specialist.
  • If the requester is asking for something we just don’t do (e.g., child care), let them know that the request is not in our mandate.  If we have resources on the site or in your safeguarding guidance about where to find that assistance, you can signpost that, and suggest that they also check the council website. At this point, you can close the case (if 100% resolved), mark as referred if referred, or leave it open if it needs additional monitoring and a call-back to ensure that the requester has received assistance.
  • Generic requests for potential future help: put On Hold (see below)
  • Random other stuff, like comments or non-help requests, update on Case tab: notes on status if required and select tick box on cancel field - automatically changes status to Cancelled. If appropriate, pass comments, etc on to the slack channel, or get back to the requester. Use your best judgement here on whether follow up is really necessary.
  • Putting cases “On Hold”
  • At any point in the case journey, the case can be put 'On Hold' in the Status field, for example, if there is no action required to be performed immediately or the requester doesn't know exactly when the help will be needed
  • Select tick box in On Hold column to change the case status to 'On Hold'

Zone Coordinator responsibilities

Allocating work and case management 

  • It is the responsibility of you and your zone buddy (s) to agree how to split the work up / who will be responsible for making which matches.  
  • Each day needs to be covered by you (and / or your counterpart). You need to review your matches allocated and split up the work of making connections. To do this, you will need to:
  • Watch the new requests Slack channel here and when you are notified of a new request for your area, log into the database and look for cases assigned to your zone  
  • Work with your zone buddy to agree who is responsible for which case and ensure this is logged in case you need to hand over
  • Look at those cases that were assigned yesterday and chase any that you haven't been told are complete 
  • Look at those ongoing cases and touch base with those who have not been contacted for 7 days to ensure that the relationship is still ongoing and ok; update the last contact details

Emergency cases 

  • If it is a standard case but urgent then the matcher will keep the case and ensure a volunteer is assigned. There is a chance that they may call you for support or put a call out to the slack channel for help should they struggle to find a volunteer for the emergency

Queries and requests 

As well as acting as the glue to support your volunteers and requesters in your local area, you are also the conduit for any queries, communications and requests which need cascading to your pool of volunteers. If you know the answer then feel free to respond.

However, if the query relates to advice on how to do the following, please contact the following individuals or refer them to the relevant Slack channel:

  • Get engaged in cooking hot meals, refer to Anne Hargraeves on Slack
  • Do dog walking correctly, please refer Charlie Watkinson on Slack
  • Do deliveries correctly, please refer them to the delivery guidance here
  • For payments, please refer to the payment guidelines here
  • Where you are unsure please refer these questions if not sensitive (keep GDPR and confidentiality in mind) to the Zone Coordinators Slack channels, or, if that doesn’t help or it’s sensitive, to your overall zone champion (for the meantime, Kate Sandhu - kate@nunheadknocks.com )
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