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Volunteers groups offered free DBS checks to help protect the vulnerable

11 May 2020

Mutual Aid Groups which are helping neighbours with shopping, running errands and combatting loneliness are being offered free DBS checks to help safeguard vulnerable people.

To support those who are isolating and unable to leave their homes, a number of self-organising volunteer groups have been set up across Brent.

In partnership with local charities CVS Brent and Step Up Hub, the council is offering each group up to 10 DBS checks for their volunteers.

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks the background of an individual and will flag any unspent convictions and conditional cautions.

Vetting volunteers who may be handling cash or dropping off shopping at the homes of vulnerable adults will help flag any potential problems and give groups greater peace of mind.

Around 20 mutual aid volunteers have already requested the check, which takes roughly 5 working days.

Cllr Tom Miller, Lead Member for Community Safety and Engagement, said: "I've been blown away by the community spirit shown all over Brent and we're incredibly grateful to the volunteers who are giving up their time to support neighbours through this pandemic.

"It is important that, even in the midst of so much goodwill, we don't lose sight of our duty to safeguard those who might be more vulnerable. These Mutual Aid arrangements are often informal, so by offering free DBS checks we hope to give groups peace of mind when they are sending volunteers to people's homes."

Lynn Hodges, Interim CEO of CVS Brent, said: "CVS Brent are happy to be supporting Mutual Aid groups at this unprecedented time to enable them to continue to support their local communities. By helping Mutual Aid groups to obtain DBS checks for up to 10 members, we are giving the community and residents peace of mind. We look forward to continuing our work with these valuable groups now and in the future."

Groups can request DBS checks for up to 10 volunteers by emailing info@cvsbrent.org.uk, or call 020 3011 1690. You will be asked to provide a series of documents, including proof of identity. CVS Brent will process the request and pass the information to Step Up Hub who will make the application.

CVS Brent is an independent capacity-building organisation which supports not-for-profit groups.

Step Up Hub is a charity which works to address poverty, injustice and inequality in the community.