Walk Policy & Guidelines

All volunteers who have signed up for walks must read the following policy and guidelines before their first walk and to send an email (info@feedthehomeless.org.uk) to confirm that you agree to adhere to them.

 

Breaches of the policy and guidance may lead to your membership being suspended.

 

Walking Policy Feed the Homeless

(V1.03)

Last updated January 2018

To avoid confusion, we would like to clarify that #feedthehomelessBristol is our official name our charity number is 1169924.  We are not affiliated with other groups or organisations which are also operating under the name ‘Feed the Homeless’.

For the purpose of this policy and wording used within #feedthehomelessBRISTOL we would also like to clarify that:

Walk / Walking: is the activity describing the distribution of food and items to the homeless

Walkers: refers to the volunteers who help in walks / walking 

Introduction

#feedthehomelessBRISTOL helps provide hot or cold food, drinks and sometimes, clothing / bedding for the homeless community in the Bristol area.  This important work couldn’t happen without our team of amazing volunteers that make our walks possible.    Our Walking Policy is designed to set out the standards that our charity organisation wishes to promote for our volunteers and for the service we provide.   Through this policy we wish to demonstrate our charity’s commitment to both our volunteers and service users.   Our aim is to ensure fairness and consistency and to describe the reasonable expectations that we have for volunteers who take part in walking.   This policy should be read together with the Walking Guidelines and Risk Assessment.

We kindly request walkers to:

  • Complete the volunteer registration form, emergency contact form and photo consent form and that this be either handed back or emailed to info@feedthehomeless.org.uk
  • Read and follow the Walk Guidelines for guidance and what to expect during walks.
  • Walkers can join walks through Neighbourly an online booking system.  Gary will email though details on how to log onto this.
  • Inform the Heads of Walk - Shada Nasrullah, Gary Webber or the delegated lead walker if you are unable to make a walk or are running late. We understand that circumstances change and things come up, sometimes at short notice.  If volunteers can no longer make their walk, please make contact as soon as possible so that cover can be sought if needed.

Health and Safety

We’re committed to ensuring the wellbeing of everyone on our walks.  We will always work to take practical steps to minimise the risk of harm, to both walkers and our service users.    If at any time during a walk there is a risk of danger to the group or an individual, this must be reported to the lead walker.   Walkers should follow any guidance or direction offered by the lead and if necessary remove yourself from the area completely.   Any hazards or concerns that arise during a walk should equally be reported to the lead walker. 

At present, there is no maximum number of walkers that can take part in any one walk.  However, if the number of volunteer walkers is considered too large and deemed to jeopardise the health and safety of how the walk is carried out, a cap may be put on by the Head of Walk Team or Project Co-ordinator.    In the event that, there are only a minimum number of volunteers available, a walk may only be conducted if there are at least 2 walkers.   If only 1 volunteer is available, then any food needs to be taken to a hostel.  For health and safety reasons, a volunteer should not walk on their own.

It is important that volunteers:

  • Carry out tasks without endangering their Health and Safety or that of other volunteers, service users or the general public.
  • Follow relevant instructions and procedures relating to safety and follow guidance provided by the lead walker.
  • Inform the Head of Walk team or Project Co-ordinator of any personal health and safety or wellbeing requirements or if there are doubts regarding health and safety responsibilities.

Safeguarding

We’re committed to equal opportunities and aim to treat everyone with dignity and respect.   However we cannot provide specialist care or support for people who have special needs or who are unable to care independently for themselves.   We cannot take responsibility for looking after children under the age of 18 years.

If you would like to bring a child or children to a walk please make a request to the Head of Walk Team or Project Co-ordinator so that it can be considered, and then booked and planned through Neighbourly.   Please ensure that as the parent or carer, you read the Child Protection Policy, Walk Guidelines and Walk Risk Assessment and help support children or those with special needs to follow them. 

Confidentiality

It’s important that whilst representing #feedthehomelessBRISTOL, all volunteers in any role, recognise and maintain confidentiality.  Being respectful of information disclosed by volunteers, or any #feedthehomelessBRISTOL business, and that regarding service users.  We require that any confidential information is kept private, unless sharing this information is required by law.

Social Media

#feedthehomelessBRISTOL aims to make the best use of all available technology to improve the way we carry out our service.  This includes using all reasonable and cost effective means to improve the way we communicate, reach out and interact with other organisations, individuals and directly with our team of volunteers.  We request volunteers representing #feedthehomelessBRISTOL consider the following points when discussing or referring to our work on social media. 

  • Please ensure that communication has a purpose and benefit for the charity
  • Ensure communications are made in a professional way
  • Please do not breach confidentiality by revealing confidential information about #feedthehomelessBRISTOL or about an individual such as another volunteer or other organisation with whom we may be working in partnership with
  • Do not bring the charity into disrepute for example by: making defamatory comments about individuals or other groups / organisations or post images that are inappropriate or links to inappropriate content
  • We request volunteers be responsible in making sure when referring to #feedthehomelessBRISTOL on social media, that conversations or blogs are done to develop the nature of our work and where possible build connections and a positive reputation within the community.
  • Equally, in promoting #feedthehomelessBRISTOL, we may reference the work of a volunteer/s or use pictures of volunteers on various social media platforms.  If a volunteer would not like to be featured or referenced on social media to promote the work of the charity please let the lead walker or project co-ordinator know in advance.

Expenses

Our designated meeting place is at the Central Quakers Meeting House ( BS2 9DB) at 7PM. There are limited number of car park spaces available but If walkers, choose to park at Cabot Circus the cost for the evening is £2.  At present, Feed the Homeless Bristol does not reimburse volunteers for the cost of parking or any out of pocket expenses.  Walkers can park near Staples on Wellington Road if they wish to park for free.

Cook Volunteers can park in the Central Quakers Meeting House front yard to drop of meals or in Champion Square.

Leaving a volunteer role

If a volunteer wishes to stop volunteering with Feed the Homeless they can do so at their own discretion at any time.  We’re committed to making sure volunteer experiences are good ones therefore we may wish to find out about your reasons, if it means we can improve how we manage things.   Equally, Feed the Homeless Bristol may sometimes need to cancel a volunteer role, which will be done at our discretion.            

(June 2017)                                                                    

To get in contact regarding Walks you can contact:

Shada Nasrullah - Head of Walks - 07584 299 207 

Gary Webber – Head of Walks – 07767 615 422

Naseem Talukdar – Project Co-ordinator and Trustee naseem@feedthehomeless.org.uk

 

Walk Guidelines 

(V1.03)

Last updated January 2018

 

Our walk guidelines aim to prepare walkers in understanding how walks are organised and considerations to ensure your safety and those of others whilst walking.   These guidelines should be read together with the Walking Policy. 

We kindly request during a walk that volunteers follow these guidelines and any advice or directions given by the Heads of Walk Shada Nasrullah and Gary Webber, by the Lead Walkers on duty or the Project Co-ordinator Naseem Talukdar.

Before setting off on a Walk

Please let the Head of Walk or Project Co-ordinator know beforehand if you have any health issues that may impact your ability to take part in walking, or which you feel are adequately managed but we should be aware of.  This can be done directly with them in person, by phone or private message.

Walkers are requested to have an account with Neighbourly, a simple online booking system to be able to volunteer for walks.   Details on how to join will be sent by the management team.

Our designated meeting place is at the Central Quakers Meeting House ( BS2 9DB).  As walkers gather together, we wait for any food being dropped off and organise the distribution into bags and trolleys.  Walkers will be asked to help carry items to be distributed on the walk and to wear our high visibility safety tops.  Our meeting time is 7.00pm and walks last approximately 3 to 4 hours.   We are happy for walkers to join the walk part way, either meeting on route or leaving earlier.   Please let Shada or Gary or the Lead Walker know if you plan to do this before a walk and by adding a note on Neighbourly, so we can ensure a sufficient and safe number of walkers.

For your personal safety we request you:

  • Always keep with the group or in pairs and avoid walking alone. 
  • Walking requires that we work as a team and look out for each other to maximise our safety.
  • Wear suitable clothing.  It’s surprising how cold it gets at night and if it’s raining you’ll need to make sure you keep dry.
  • Don’t wear expensive jewellery, clothes or carry excessive money or valuable items.   This is to keep yourself safe and to avoid offending or embarrassing service users who survive on donated clothes.
  • Keep a phone on you, but safely and securely out of view. 
  • To avoid straining or causing an injury to yourself we request you do not overload yourself.  If a load is too heavy, please let the team know so that distribution of items can be re organised.

 

Attending to Service users

 

  • Be aware of the size of the group and how many people approach a service user, our aim is to help without overwhelming or intimidating a person.  In some situations, the lead walker may advise if they would like some walkers to stand back before approaching a service user/s.
  • At all times, we intend to provide a polite, non-judgemental and friendly manner.   It’s good to chat to service users if they want to, to some we may be the first people they have really spoken to that day and this can be a positive help to them.
  • Similarly, a service user may not wish to talk, in which case we should respect their needs and give them space. 
  • Our service users are vulnerable people and we request walkers not to make promises, if you agree something with them and you’re not able to uphold your end, you could risk doing significant damage to the individual, as well as putting other volunteers or service users at risk.  For example, ‘I’ll bring you some hot food tomorrow’ whilst it’s likely to happen, there’s no way to guarantee it. 
  • Avoid offering advice or opinions to service users unless you’re absolutely certain the information is correct and that it may help.  For example, advice on where to sleep or how to get help with money.
  • If you feel unsafe in approaching as service user/s please hold off and look to the lead walker for guidance, this may apply to service users who may be ‘under the influence’.  Or, it could be to do with the environment a service user is in, such as, a poorly lit alley way.  
  • In the event that you are the focus of any form of aggression from a service user, be calm in response and move away from the situation quickly.  The lead walker will support your safety and that of the group, so please ensure the lead is aware of the details.
  • ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ arises from the growing number of ‘hidden homeless’ people who use our service.  These people can appear smartly dressed and may not initially appear to be homeless. 
  • In the event that a service user is seriously unwell (not just asleep or intoxicated) please inform the lead walker as it may be deemed necessary to contact emergency services. 
  • We request walkers not to give money to service users, we aim to be consistent in our work which focuses on the distribution of food, clothes and bedding.  We want service users to rely on this rather than anything else.

 

We value and recognise the essential work walkers do, on the front line and in representing #feedthehomelessBRISTOL.  We thank our walkers for the commitment and dedication in maintaining the standards and in helping our charity organisation to grow and develop.   Where possible, #feedthehomelessBRISTOL, aims to work with other like – minded organisations in an effort to promote the interests of the homeless. We welcome any feedback or questions regarding how walks are carried out, please direct these to:

 

Shada Nasrullah – Head of Walk - 07584 299 207     Gary Webber – Head of Walk – 07767 615 422

Naseem Talukdar – Project Co-ordinator and Trustee naseem@feedthehomeless.org.uk

 

Useful links that were referenced in the creation of our Walk Policy and Guidelines include:

www.volunteerbristol.org.uk

www.caringatchristmas.org.uk

www.bristolsouprun.org.uk

www.shelter.org.uk

www.crisis.org.uk

Volunteers Food #Walk Guideline
Please read and confirm ( volunteers@feedthehomeless.org.uk) that, you have understood and are in agreement with our Guideline to continue to support the charity.
FTH_WalkG_June2017.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [447.5 KB]
Volunteers Food #Walk Policy
Please read and confirm ( volunteers@feedthehomeless.org.uk) that you have understood and are in agreement with out Policy to continue to support the charity.
FTH_WalkP_June2017.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [321.5 KB]
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