This is our advice having run advocacy and First Aid dispatch chats for two years across the UK. You don’t have to follow it, but it works well for small groups.
This does not mean that people should be divided into two distinct groups of ‘supporters’ versus ‘recipients’. People who require support for certain tasks – because they cannot leave the house, for example – may also wish to be involved in coordinating the dispatch of support to others, or in responding to requests for non-physical support, advocacy etc.
This is NOT a protocol for setting up a full COVID-19 mutual aid/support group – it is only protocol for the dispatch aspect of this work.
You should keep track of how you are organising dispatch and the systems you are using so that it is easy to hand this role over to other people when those organising and responding to dispatch need a break.
You should store personally identifiable information carefully and delete it when it is no longer needed in line with data protection and GDPR guidelines (introductory guide to GDPR). For example, if you use a Google form to collect requests for support you should delete form responses when the dispatch has been carried out and if you use email you should delete emails in the same way.
To the dispatch chat:
“Hi, this is [name] from [group name]. We’ve had a request for help from someone in [first part of postcode]. They need [tasks doing]. Please DM me to be added to the chat for organising this!”
An example of how this might look in practice is:
“Hi, this is Steve from St Brohias COVID-19 Mutual Aid. We’ve had a request for help from someone in [first part of postcode]. They need grocery shopping at 4pm on Tuesday. Please DM me to be added to the chat for organising this!”