Here are my minutes from the volunteer jitsi yesterday
i’m gonna summarise a few themes.
- While we have worked really hard on having good hygiene protocols (crucially important given the wider context we are operating in), our deliverer safety protocols are definitely lacking. There was discussion from deliverers that some of the places they were delivering to made them feel very unsafe, and weren’t sure what to do about it.
A couple of suggestions came up:
- Deliverers need to be able to say that they don’t want to deliver a package if they sense something might be up. First step should be to return to the vehicle, then call the person working backroom on their shift to explain the situation and have the backroom person call the recipient to see what the story is. If the deliverer feels unsafe they need to be allowed to walk away as a priority.
- A second suggestion as well is to encourage deliveries in pairs as much as possible. A number of drivers have been doing this already, bringing a friend who they live with (to minimise social distancing issues) to do the deliveries while the other person stays in the car. This also makes things more efficient for those drops where it isn’t easy to park and leave your car to get to a flat etc.
Expanding the project:
The other main area of discussion was around the limits to the project, i’m gonna mainly just list some of the things that were suggested with a couple of comments because i think there are a lot of good ideas but all of them will need more work in their own right.
There were a lot of questions about how we could localise the project to reach more people and make deliveries a much smaller burden with comments like
- “i’m an ex chef with a level 3 certification so couldn’t i just get doing a big dahl and deliver locally?” seems like a great idea, after all its basically what we did to start this project, we were just able to take advantage of the warehouse cafe’s kitchen.
- there was talk of coopbrum becoming a network of food hubs that were distributing food to their localities like a tree with branches across the city (i loved the metaphor)
As well as increasing capacity we also looked at the problem from the opposite end, in terms of demand, and making sure we are reaching those with the greatest need. Suggestions were made to contact groups with roots in the most marginalised communities to help get the word out. There were a few responses to this including
- We do already do this, we’ve had referrals from shelter, anawim, social workers and local councillors. Unfortunately this has also led to the most mistakes in deliveries, where referals have given us incorrect phone numbers or addresses. [To add to this i’d say there’s also been examples of recipients not being aware they were due a delivery or thinking they were due one when we hadn’t be communicated with properly.]
- Also there are many good reasons why people might not be linked up with those groups, or staying away from them on purpose so self referals are still crucial to the model.
- There was also suggestions of referring people to food banks, but this was responded to that not only are they already overwhelmed but also because you need vouchers to access them form social workers/universal credit there is too high a barrier to entry for a lot of the people who need it most.
Another point made repeatedly was just that we need more people co-ordinating volunteers, so hopefully those reading this if you have spare time on your hands please get involved at this end.
And finally one clear takeaway was that a lot of people want flyers to distribute so we need to keep going on that.
There were lots of other great points made but i wanted to highlight these discussions because i think there is a lot to get out of them. Please respond to any of the points that were made/add anything you think i missed from the meeting.
It was a really lovely meeting overall, really nice to hear lots of the voices and see how much enthusiasm there is for the project.