Over the last few months, BVSC - on behalf of the Red Cross and NAVCA (the National Association of Voluntary and Community Action) - has been working with the National VCS Emergencies Partnership to assist with establishing, developing and managing the 'Request Help as a Local Organisation' service.

The service - which has now launched - is an additional tier of emergency infrastructure support for community and voluntary organisations dealing with the impact of Covid19, and organisations can use an online form to request support in the unlikely event that local support organisations are unable to find the solutions required.

What is the 'Request Help as a Local Organisation' service?

When local voluntary organisations need extra support, they should firstly approach their local voluntary sector support organisation These organisations can work with local authorities and other partners to help find local solutions to local needs.

However, there may be times when there is not enough local capacity to provide the support required. At this point, organisations in need can make a request for support from the ‘Request help as a local organisation’ service. The request is reviewed by local liaison leads (BVSC in the West Midlands) who will first try to organise help locally, or escalate the request to a regional panel of voluntary and community groups to try to find appropriate support.

Needs that still cannot be met are then escalated further to the Partnership at a national level to see if additional support can be sourced. The trend of requests to this level will be monitored and will be shared with local voluntary sector support bodies to inform requirements for improved local resource and infrastructure supply.

And what it is not…

The ‘Request help as a local organisation’ service is not an alternative to asking for local support from local VCS support organisations or local authorities. Members or representatives of local community and voluntary organisations should first have used all the local channels available to them, and exhausted all local resource and support options, before using this new service.

Types of support available:

  • Access to transport or delivery including medicine;
  • Financial support and advice;
  • Specialist training;
  • Volunteers.

How does it work?

A member or representative of the local organisation that needs help makes their request online by answering brief question. They will receive a confirmation email to let them know their request was received, and a liaison lead will contact them to discuss arrangements for the support they requested. Urgent requests are handled by regional team managers who are on call at all times.

To access the service, go to the Voluntary and Community Sector Emergencies Partnership request support service at redcross.org.uk/vcsep-support, and complete the form with as much detail as you can.