Coronavirus Response

Harlow Community Hub is a group of volunteers offering phone support, reassurance and advice to the most vulnerable in Harlow – primarily those without internet access or support networks.

If you are having problems paying for or accessing food or collecting prescriptions, contact our Community Hub for help.

You can contact them on 01279 927005 between 9am to 5pm or email

A useful tips guide for any hyper local groups emerging offering support to self-isolating people. Please note the following regarding your health, that of your staff/volunteers/beneficiaries, and your close family members:

General Guidance

All people displaying symptoms are to self-isolate for 7 days.

If any of your family (living with you) display symptoms (even if you are well) you are to self-isolate for 14 days.  Click here for more information.

You do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days, contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.

To view the latest Government guidance on a variety of topics relating to Covid-19 please use this link.

To view the latest Government guidance for the charity sector please use this link.

To view NHS Coronavirus guidance in a different language please visit the following website:

If you would like to sign up as an NHS Volunteer Responder please visit the following website:   This is not directly replacing our local volunteering efforts, which will be working closely alongside this to ensure that those people who are also vulnerable, self-isolating and potentially at risk but NOT amongst those contacted by the government will still be supported.

The Government has launched a new Coronavirus information service on WhatsApp.  More info available here.

Rainbow Services Response

Rainbow have closed all of our Community Builder activities but we are co-ordinating a system whereby volunteers and staff will maintain phone contact with them and will be offering any additional support needed to those who lack support systems during this challenging time. We are setting up a system to enable us to record these people as well as organisations and we are working closely with other groups, the council and the CCG to share resources and co-ordinate support efforts.  We have set up an expression of interest form for anyone who would like to help – see below please share this with your volunteers and networks. We are also looking at how we join up the various amazing support efforts across the town.  We remind everyone that the Live Well Link Well system is still in place and is accepting referrals of people requiring support, especially if they are seen to have multiple needs. This can be done easily using the Frontline portal:

Additionally, we are all being advised to reduce our unnecessary social contact, as such, we have now closed the Rainbow Centre.  Members of the Rainbow Services team are still contactable via the telephone and email and we will be checking the post box regularly.  You can view further information about the current social distancing measures and steps you can take to reduce interaction between people on the Government’s website.

We are working with local groups emerging across Harlow offering support and if you come across any please send them our way. We will keep you updated as things develop, but let us know if you have a need or come across anyone and we will do our best to co-ordinate the responses to support them appropriately.  If you can offer help or have volunteers who would like to help, please let us know too.

And remember – please be kind to each other in these hard times.  You are all doing an amazing job but it is tough right now, uncertain, and stressful – and supporting each other right now is so important!


There are many local groups, charities and volunteers involved in the response to Covid-19, which is fantastic.  If you have concerns about the risks involved and would like an example of a volunteer risk assessment which can be adapted to suit your needs or if you would like some basic Volunteer Guidelines that you can use to share with your volunteers who may be helping neighbours informally & organised by local neighbours and the community please contact Kate: 

To the right of this page you will also find 4 short film clips giving advice on safeguarding, telephone befriending, supporting volunteers and volunteer advice.

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) has coordinated lots of useful information for voluntary groups – all of which has been updated in light of the Government announcement on 24 March 2020: visit:

New Disclosure and Service Barring (DBS) Checks Information

On 19 March 2020, the DBS updated how they are currently accepting new DBS checks with volunteers to make it easier to process so volunteers do not have to physically meet Volunteer Managers with proof of ID & Documentation. They can do this via Video Online and scanning documents. This relates to all Basic, Standard and Enhanced checks (24 March 2020). See full details here:
Rainbow Services are able to assist you with this.  Please contact Wendy Letch for more information

For ideas on how to stay active at home visit the Active Essex website for online workouts.

Click here to read further resources.

Get Involved

If you are an individual wishing to volunteer please use this link:

If you are a business wishing to support the response please use this link:

If you are a voluntary or community group and wish to share what you are doing or log a request for volunteers or resources please use this link:

The simplest thing everyone can do right now is look out for their neighbours and offer help with shopping and other errands.
It’s not just about neighbours who are self-isolating or vulnerable. Other people on your street who might also appreciate help are:

  • stretched medical staff and volunteers
  • staff and volunteers in key worker roles
  • supermarket workers
  • delivery drivers.

Remember it’s a marathon not a sprint – your help will be even more crucial in a few weeks’ time. For now, the best thing to do is to check in on neighbours. Remember to stay safe when helping others:

1. Let family and friends know what you’re doing.
2. Support family, friends and neighbours by phone or video call.
3. Stay at least two metres – about three steps – away from people you’re helping.
4. Offer to run errands for people but stay outside of people’s homes.
5. Keep washing your hands often for 20 seconds.
6. Don’t take on too much – it’s often better not to offer at all than to let someone down.
7. If you’re trying to help someone with very serious issues – don’t be afraid to flag with appropriate statutory services.