ACoRP has today issued the following advice to all CRPs and Station Partnerships:
Guidance for community rail partnerships and station friends on the Coronavirus
ACoRP is proactively encouraging its members to follow government guidance, and do as much as they can to help contain the coronavirus. That includes minimising face-to-face contact, and not facilitating or encouraging face-to-face contact among volunteers, staff, partners or others in your communities.
At the same time, we all need to take a considerate and caring approach, especially by checking in by phone with people who may be feeling isolated or vulnerable.
Meetings and events:
We recommend postponing meetings and events that are planned for the coming month, or, if possible, switching them to conference call or skype. (We use https://hello.freeconference.com/conf/conferences/create.) If you’re due to attend meetings and events held by partners, ask if you can join remotely or if they will consider postponing.
Travel and working from home:
We advise avoiding travel. For community rail partnerships with staff, support them to work from home, to avoid travel into the office and close proximity with colleagues. If you’re closing your office, change your answerphone message and put a note on your website/social media on how people can get in touch. Share guidance with your staff on wellbeing while working from home and maintain regular contact.
Volunteering and station adopters:
We recommend cancelling and suspending volunteering events, days and activities for the time being. Although outdoor activities on your own or with someone in your household (e.g. going for a walk) are still being encouraged, you must take care to avoid social contact and still follow guidelines from your train operator (e.g. no lone working on the station). Some train operators may be advising that all station adoption activities are suspended, and, if in doubt, holding off is the safest thing to do right now. Volunteers who are over 70, have underlying health conditions, or are pregnant, are advised to stay at home. Do consider if you have volunteers who may be feeling isolated or vulnerable, and get in touch by phone, and aim to ensure they have the support they need.
Keep communicating with your staff, volunteers, communities and partners, using phone, email and online. Reinforce the sense of community and collaboration, and use the chance to plan ahead for positive work you’ll do together in the future.
Keep following government advice, which is being updated daily, and ensure your staff and volunteers are up-to-date on this too: especially regular and thorough hand-washing, keeping workspaces and surfaces hygienic, avoiding travel, and self-isolating if you or a family member experiences any symptoms. Keep up-to-date with government guidance here, and also see NCVO guidance for the third sector, plus look out for advice from your train operator. NCVO’s advice includes carefully managing your finances during this time; ACoRP may provide further advice on this as the situation unfolds.
The ACoRP team is now entirely working from home, with our office shut until further notice. However, you can contact your usual contact by email or mobile with any queries: see our meet the team page for details. Note that our email addresses are changing to firstname.lastname@example.org on 6 April, when we change our name to Community Rail Network.
We are reviewing whether to postpone our Community Rail in the City event (currently 13 May), and will directly advise participants and partners of our decision by 15 March. We hope to proceed with our members’ seminars in June and July, but will keep this under review.