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Croydon COVID-19 community mobilisation - Update 3

Dear friend,

Thank you to all of you who have already helped out in some way across our community; be that making a quick trip to the shop for a vulnerable neighbour or dropping some food off at your local food bank, every effort makes a difference during these testing times.
For this week’s volunteer update I have three main messages:
  1. Food is still urgently required for local food banks who have a desperate shortage at the moment. A full list of Croydon food banks is here. 
  2. NHS hospitals continue to need blood and it is important to know that donations are still ongoing. If you are healthy and feel able, please do give blood by clicking here and booking an appointment. With everything going on, it is vital that blood donations do not fall.
  3. Nightwatch, who distribute food to homeless people in the centre of Croydon every night, have lost many volunteers because of age and the new restrictions, and they still need volunteers. If you can help please email
Please see more information and updates below.

All best wishes,

Sarah Jones
Member of Parliament for Croydon Central

Today’s update will include:

  1. Update from food banks 
  2. NHS call for blood donations
  3. Volunteer groups update
  4. Volunteering & new government restrictions

1. Update on food banks appeal for food donations


Thank you to everyone who has donated to foodbanks recently. Croydon's foodbanks are still low on food and reliance upon them is still rising.

There is now a link on my website of all local foodbanks and their donation hours. You can find the link here. 
As before, I advise calling ahead before visiting to ensure the opening times are accurate. 

2. NHS call for blood donations


I recently received an urgent request from the NHS calling for healthy people to keep donating blood as normal. Even though we are all in lockdown right now, it is vital that blood supplies do not drop, or we risk putting more strain on the NHS. 

If you are an existing blood donor, you should know that all sessions are going ahead as planned, and that travel to a donation centre is deemed essential for the NHS. Adjustments have been made to ensure that all centres are safe in line with official guidelines, including extra cleaning and triaging to ensure that at risk individuals cannot enter. 

The NHS has seen a recent drop in blood supplies, and although stock levels are good at the moment, it is incredibly important that donations continue to ensure there is no interruption to blood supply in the future.

If you are able to donate please do visit the website here to find out more. 

3. Volunteer groups update: Croydon NHS, Croydon Voluntary Action and Mutual Aid


NHS Volunteers

The second #clapforourcarers last night was as emotional as last weeks, and it was amazing to see what felt like even more people out on the streets showing their support for our heroic frontline workers. The Government's initial target of 250,000 NHS volunteers was reached so quickly that they soon increased the target to 750,000. Amazingly this target was passed too, and now applications are temporarily closed to allow time for this vast number of volunteers to be processed. Thank you to any of you who signed up last week.

Croydon Voluntary Action

Croydon Council are working with Croydon Voluntary Action (CVA) to coordinate volunteers across the borough. These volunteers will be supporting Croydon Council’s work to deliver food and essential goods to those in Croydon who cannot leave their homes and are vulnerable.

Croydon Council and the CVA are coordinating with a number of food hubs across the borough, ensuring those most at risk are supported. If you know someone who needs support, you can contact the CVA on 020 8253 7076 or 07540 720102; Monday to Friday 10 - 4pm; or email


The CVA is coordinating the community sector effort to maintain social connections across the borough by:

  • Compiling a directory of services and activities still running - so please email with brief details of whatever support your group is managing to provide.
  • Running a telephone helpline for vulnerable people who need support to contact them on - 0208 253 7076
  • Signing up volunteers here - please complete and submit the form to their Volunteer Centre team who will contact you between 10am and 4pm from Monday to Friday
  • Sending out weekly newsletters updating organisations on 'live' services in the borough and funding opportunities linked to the outbreak – sign up to receive it at

Please do sign up to support this work. There is particularly high demand for people who are already DBS-checked, although this is not a requirement.


Mutual Aid

I continue to work closely with the brilliant hyper-local groups which are springing up across the borough.

The borough-wide Croydon Covid-19 Mutual Aid group now has a full website which you can visit by clicking here, or join the facebook page by clicking here.

As a reminder, you can find your local grassroots group here. Not everywhere in the borough is covered yet – if you can help set up a local group in your area please see here for advice on setting up a local group. 

As an example of some of the amazing work that these groups are doing, Addiscombe Mutual Aid has set up a drop off point for donations that Croydon Voluntary Action will then be able to distribute to vulnerable people and food banks, see the image below for full details. 

I urge you to sign up to both Mutual Aid and Croydon Voluntary Action

4.    Volunteering & new government restrictions

As mentioned last week, I know some people are concerned about what the new ‘stay at home’ requirements mean for volunteering. The government has accepted that volunteering will be crucial in the coming weeks and – as long as you follow the guidance – going out of the house to volunteer is still permitted. To reiterate, the government classes 'essential' volunteering activities as:

  • Delivering food
  • Helping people with their medical needs, such as picking up prescriptions
  • Providing essential care or to help a vulnerable person or person(s), including through essential public and voluntary services, such as food banks, homeless services, and blood donation sessions

For more detailed government guidance on volunteering click here.

Please visit my coronavirus hub by clicking the link below for further information. 


Contacting me

Despite the COVID-19 outbreak I will be continuing to work on constituent cases via email, and my office will be increasing the opening hours of its telephone line. I will, however, be closing my office to members of the public and holding my regular advice surgeries by telephone until further notice.

This is to ensure that we maximise the number of people we can help remotely and minimise the risk of spreading infection.

If you or someone you know needs to get in touch with me - please contact me at this email:
Safeguarding, keeping healthy and contacting me

As I mentioned above, I will never share your data, or the data of vulnerable people, with this list or with third parties for legal and safeguarding reasons. Our first priority during this time is to keep our most vulnerable healthy and safe.

Therefore, if you or someone you live with are not feeling well please follow the guidelines on self-isolation and do not take part in any volunteering activities. There may be an opportunity later for those self-isolating to help in some way (e.g. calling elderly people to ensure they aren’t lonely) but this will need to be worked out over the coming weeks.
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