Skip to content

We use cookies to make the site simpler. By continuing to use this site and closing this message you agree to our use of cookies.Find out more about cookies

Close alert

Co-ordinated community response

We are working with public sector partners and charities across Dorset to respond to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

We know that many people in our communities want to help and we want to harness that goodwill - we are going to need it.

A message from Councillor Laura Miller, cabinet member for adult social care and health
A message from Councillor Laura Miller, cabinet member for adult social care and health

I want to help - who do I contact?

If you want to help but are not sure where to start, register with the Dorset Volunteering Centrein the first instance.

Register your interest with Volunteer Centre Dorset

If you are a voluntary sector organisation that wants to get involved in providing support or needs help with maintaining your volunteer base please register with the Volunteer Centre Dorset.

Register your community group

Register your community group with Volunteer Centre Dorset

I know someone who needs help - who do I contact?

Age UK (North, South and West Dorset)

Age UK (North, South and West Dorset) are coordinating requests for help with issues relating to loneliness and isolation, or support in accessing items such as food, cash or medication. Support is available to all residents within the Dorset Council area.

To request help email: call 01305 269444

Each request will be individually assessed and categorised according to the individual’s level of need.

Citizens Advice

Citizens Advice continues to provide free, independent and confidential advice and information whatever your question. They offer a full range of advice including help with:

  • Benefits entitlement and claims
  • Debt management and budgeting
  • Employment advice including Statutory Sick Pay and rights when laid off work
  • Advice for the self employed

Contact the Dorset Adviceline on 0344 411 1444 or email your local branch:

Dorset Community Action

We're committed to helping your charity, community group or social enterprise through these unsettled times.  With the current COVID-19 health situation our community is in unchartered territory. As a result, we're putting together alternatives to our usual networking and training events.

We have set up a dedicated Helpline, which is open between 11am and 4pm Monday to Friday to answer questions you may have regarding Coronavirus and your organisation - 01202 847609.

Join our mailing listto receive updates and support straight to your email.

Visit our website for regular updates.

Benefits and support – COVID-19

If you have questions about council tax support and benefits or are worried about reduced pay/Statutory Sick Pay or are self-employed, more information can be found here.

Local community groups

Find information about the local support available in your community on the #HelpAndKindness website

If you would like to add your community groups, organisations, businesses and support services to the listings on #HelpAndKindess then please fill in the form.

Add your community group, organisation, business or support service to #HelpAndKindness

You can download the what3words app to help you in locating your local community group or service provider. Locations can even be searched if you do not have the postcode!
Find out more and download what3words.

Available funds to assist community groups

If you are in need of funding to support your community group response to COVID-19, you can find information in the following LinkedIn article.

In addition to this, our local Dorset Community Foundation have launched their own Community Fund. Go to the Dorset Community Foundation website to apply or to make a donation.


You can contact your local foodbank for guidance on required items and how to drop off or collect items. Find details of your local foodbank.

Volunteering - things to think about

Before considering volunteering, ask yourself if you are well enough to volunteer and think about the following:

  • try and work as a pair, this will alleviate some concerns about safeguarding and offer protection for yourself and the person you're helping
  • always tell someone where you're going and when you anticipate returning
  • carry a mobile phone with you
  • try to volunteer in daylight hours only
  • carry a torch with you if you can’t avoid volunteering in the dark
  • stay at least 2 metres (about 3 steps) away at all times - this reduces the risk of potential infection to yourself and the person you're helping
  • avoid entering the home of the person you're helping
  • don't take credit cards from individuals, and keep any receipts for items purchased on behalf of others
  • photograph all receipts and purchases for your records
  • don't assume that someone needs help or call at a house unexpectedly - anxieties are high at the moment and people need to follow guidance with regards to opening their front doors, especially if they are self-isolating
  • consider dropping a note through the door as a first offer of help (but wash your hands before doing so)
  • don't get disheartened if a volunteering role is not found for you immediately - the response to this crisis is growing daily and the volunteering response will grow with it
  • only assist with activities which have been risk assessed - if you're asked to carry out a different activity, contact your volunteer coordinator / voluntary group for guidance
  • always put yourself in the shoes of the person you're helping, ask how you would like to be treated if the situation was reversed
  • for your peace of mind and that of people you support, a DBS check may be required for some activity – check with the Volunteer Centre

Remember volunteering is a choice, freely made. Should your circumstances change, and you are no longer able to volunteer (either short term or long term), the voluntary organisation/group will support your decision.

Do you have a safeguarding concern?

Concerned about a child

Contact us if you're concerned about a child in Dorset.

Concerned about an adult

Anyone can raise a safeguarding concern, for example they might be a carer, a volunteer, a professional working with adults with care and support needs or somebody who thinks they have been abused.

You can raise a concern by contacting Adult Social Care directly on 01305 221016 or if outside of office hours you can contact our ‘Out of Hours Service’ on 01305 858250.

Contact the police where a crime may have been committed or you believe the person to be in immediate danger

We are working closely with Volunteer Centre Dorset who are providing support to ensure the safety of our residents, both those volunteering and those in need of support.

Staying safe – if someone else is doing your shopping

  • Do ask for help – work with trusted organisations and volunteers
  • Make arrangements for help over the phone with a trusted organisation, not with a stranger on the doorstep
  • Don’t hand money over without having your shopping and a receipt
  • Have your food left on the doorstep, do not let the person in your home
  • Put money in an envelope and give to the volunteer at a distance
  • Ensure you keep a 2 metre distance from the person delivering your shopping
  • Wash your hands (for 20 seconds) and surfaces after unpacking the shopping
  • Thank your lovely volunteer

Staying safe if someone else is doing your shopping - poster

Printable posters

We have created the following self-isolation posters for you to print and display in your window/front door if you are self-isolating. For safety, we advise using these resources and not the red,amber,green posters being shared online or similar posters that suggests only one person/someone vulnerable lives in the property.

Coronavirus - Self-isolation poster

Coronavirus - Weak immune system poster

Staying safe if someone else is doing your shopping - poster

More ways to give and receive help

This is a fast moving situation and we will be updating this page as things change. For more information about Dorset’s Community Response to coronavirus email

Rate this page

Have some feedback?

Your feedback

This form is to report content that is wrong, or any issues or feedback you have about the web page.

Contact us if you want to get in touch about a council service instead.

All fields are required.

Leave your email address so that we can provide a response.

This helps us direct your feedback to the appropriate council.

General data protection regulation (GDPR)

We will only use the personal information supplied by you in accordance with GDPR. By giving us this information you are consenting to such use as set out in our privacy notice.