What kind of questions should I be asking people who call in for support?
The most important thing is to make the person calling in feel at ease. That our group is about solidarity, not charity and there is no stigma about asking for support from your neighbours. We will all need it at some point.
If they are asking for someone to help out with food, shopping or fuel, find out how urgent the request is and how many days they have before they run out of food. Let them know to look out an email (if they gave an email) with their case information. So if they ever need to contact us about it they can.
The person doesn’t have internet banking or Paypal but they can pay, What are the options?
Cash in a jar, pay by card over the phone, Nominated Person for Post Office withdrawal. This is usually dealt with in a case by case basis as every scenario is different.
A person can’t pay but needs shopping - what funds do we have to support them?
We can support our neighbours who cannot afford food and essentials shopping short term with weekly shopping. This budget is £35 a week for up to two adults, with an additional £15 for each additional person resident in the household.
This fund is for essential household supplies (toilet roll, kitchen roll, cleaning products etc), pet food and personal hygiene supplies (soap, toothpaste, sanitary supplies etc) only. For gas and electricity meter top ups, we can support with an additional £20 a week for both fuels.
It's important to let them know that this isn't long term support, and that they should ensure they are getting the support they need from their local council and via Universal Credit.
Is there anything we can't cover with essentials funds?
We can't use the funds to pay for alcohol, cigarettes, gambling (scratch cards), or drinks other than juice, squash, tea/coffee, milk/milk alternatives. This is because these funds are donated by our community members, who have varying beliefs and we also need to ensure that these funds go where they are most needed - ensuring our community has what it needs to stay fed and safe.
What do we do about PAYG top ups of gas or electricity?
On top of food and essential shopping for those who cannot afford it, we have funds for £10 each for gas and electric, or £20 for one. These are for metered services where a keycard is used to top up the balance in a shop. See here on how to do that.
Someone needs a lift to the hospital (or other vital trip). Can we support that?
We can help with trips to necessary medical appointments and have funds to support those who cannot afford taxis.
A request has come in that is out of Nunhead Knocks zones. What should we do?
Assess the urgency and location of the person needing support. If they are just out of our area and we have volunteers nearby, we can help them and then refer them to their Mutual Aid group for more long term support. To find the closest Mutual Aid organisation have a look here.
Someone is really far out of zone. Where can we find details of other MA groups to refer them to?
To find the closest Mutual Aid organisation have a look here. It's also worth asking in the #phone-volunteers Slack channel as many people have already been in touch with local groups and may have a good contact. Remember, never share personal contact information in a public channel and check in with the person who requested help before sharing their details with other groups.
I've taken a request from someone who needs urgent help. What do I do?
Once you've filled out the form on the website, post in the #phone-volunteers Slack channel and describe the case coming through. The matching team stay on top of this channel and will make sure that it gets handled urgently.
What to do if you think a case is beyond what NK can realistically help with? eg if it sounds like the person needs serious, longer-term professional support or significant financial aid?
Ask Support Coordinators for their opinions as some are specialists in particular fields. Follow guidelines that have been written regarding referring to Adult Social Care, the COVID-19 contact email at Southwark and safeguarding contact numbers. Use our Signposting Document for organisations that provide benefits advice and advocacy. Continue compiling a list of numbers from providers regarding debt management eg fuel providers.