A new and innovative emergency response and recovery volunteer team has launched in the London Boroughs of Camden and Hammersmith & Fulham, which will enable local people, businesses and organisations with relevant skills, experience and donations of items and space to be able to help in a time of an emergency.
The experience of the Grenfell tragedy and the Chalcots Estate evacuation showed that there was a surplus of people with useful skills and experience, e.g. Counselling, who offered to volunteer but were not allowed to help as they were not known by the local authority dealing with the situation. Therefore, people who live and work close to an emergency who want to offer useful assistance are not usually given an opportunity to help as they are not known to the local authority and there is no time during an emergency to vet their skills and check credentials.
To rectify this, the new CAMERA (Coordinating And Mobilising Emergency Response Activists) Emergency Response & Recovery Volunteer initiative, delivered by two charities Volunteer Centre Camden (VCC) and Hammersmith & Fulham Volunteer Centre (HFVC), will enable local people who have useful skills and experience to be known and trusted to the local authority and so can be called upon in the time of an emergency.
We are now asking for expressions of interest from local people who live or work in Camden and/or Hammersmith & Fulham who would be interested in volunteering in an emergency. We also want to know what skills and experience you have that could help people being affected by an emergency, as well as items or space that would be useful in the event of an emergency.
As you can see, we’ve already had a think about roles which would be useful in an emergency. These include:
- Emergency Centre Assistants (ECAs) – This is the core role of the CAMERA project! Major events such as the Grenfell tragedy and the Chalcots Estate evacuation involved an Emergency Centre which was set up to house those who had been displaced. Each centre has a Rest Centre Manager (RCM) who is employed by the local Council. The ECAs will do the following:
- Helping people register when they are arriving at Rest Centres
- Providing Refreshments
- Signposting people to other services
- Sitting with people who need company / support
- Setting up and taking down beds and sleeping areas arrangements
- Cleaning and tidying the common areas of the centre
The skills needed for this role include to be willing and confident talking to people and willingness to do some admin as well as good listening skills.
- Donation Assistants – This role will involve sorting through donations, assessing what is needed and what is not (people donate all kinds of inappropriate stuff apparently), boxing things up and helping them to get to the Emergency Centre
- Entertainers – to entertain people at the Rest Centres
Useful skills for the volunteers include:
- Languages spoken
- First Aid or other skill in healthcare
- Counselling skills
- Youth worker skills
- Other skills that enables volunteers to help work with local people, e.g. mental health
Organisations and Businesses
In addition to giving time and skills we are also looking for offers of space and things that you would be able to offer in the event of an emergency. This could include things such as:
- Food / drink
- Board games
- And more
UPDATE (AUGUST 2019): We are now booking training sessions for people who want to volunteer for CAMERA. Check out the dates and book now via Eventbrite. Or if you would prefer, you can fill in our Expression of Interest form and get added to our mailing list for CAMERA news and events.
If you have any questions about this new project or want to know more before expressing an interest, please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.