Safeguarding vulnerable adults and children

We know that you and your fellow volunteers will be supporting vulnerable individuals within your community – and your help is much appreciated. However, this can be very challenging and you may, on occasion, face situations that you are uncertain about.

As volunteers, you can support vulnerable people in your community in lots of ways – for example, by doing someone’s shopping, walking their dog, picking up medicines or simply checking in on a neighbour to see how they are doing. However, you are not expected to take on tasks and responsibilities that should be carried out by paid staff.

Please remember:

  • If an individual or organisation asks you to do a task that makes you feel uncomfortable, you must say NO. You are a volunteer and have no obligation to take on tasks that you don’t wish to do.
  • If you are concerned for the welfare of any individual – adult or child - and believe that their needs cannot be met by volunteers, then please speak to the person who referred them to you in the first instance, whether this was a GP, Village Agent, Health Connector, the Council or member of staff from another organisation.
  • If the situation cannot be addressed (or if the person came to you themselves), then please ask them to get in touch with Somerset Direct on 0300 123 2224. In some circumstances, you may wish to contact Somerset Direct on their behalf to ensure that they get the help that they need.

The vast majority of volunteers coming forward for these schemes will not have a DBS certificate, so organisers must be aware of the potential for criminals to volunteer. If the volunteer is unknown to any of the organisers, you could ask for a referee to speak with over the phone, and monitor any help they give (by phoning the person they’ve helped). One group in Yeovil is asking for photo ID and proof of residence. Any complaints about volunteers need to be investigated as a priority and no further tasks be given to the volunteer until the facts are established.