Volunteer with CARDS

Covid and Volunteering

In the fight against coronavirus we have only one weapon.
That is the trust we place in one another to follow the rules. 

Even though Covid is affecting every aspect of our lives, the people who depend on our services, particularly CARDS, our befriending service need us as much as ever. So we are finding ways to keep our human contact alive. The resources on this page are intended to inform and support you on your Volunteering journey. For the latest information about Covid you should always refer to The Scottish Government or the Local Authority in your area.

Keeping safe during restrictions

As we move through each of the phases of restrictions we will be keeping a close eye on the most relevant guidance provided to us by the Scottish Goverment and local health protection teams. Rowan Alba CARDS staff risk assess all engagements between volunteers and individuals receiving support.  The most important aspect for you is reading and understanding the guidance, then supporting your client to collaborate with you in keeping each other safe.  You may be the first person to discuss the guidelines with them in an informed way, so it is key to set clear boundaries and stick to them.  Your specific visit will have already received a ‘baseline’ Risk Assessment which will follow a traffic light system, This keeps you and your client involved in the decision making process at every step.  

Related resources

Scottish Government guidance for Home visits and direct contact with service users (External link opens in new tab)
Health Protection guidance for Non-Healthcare settings (PDF Download)

Useful advice for Restrictions easing

These links are useful for managing visits and sharing with clients as Covid restriction Levels are reduced in Scotland.


Drop in vaccination clinics across Edinburgh and the Lothians (Link opens in new tab)

Registering for a coronavirus vaccine (Link opens in new tab)

Getting the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine for work (Link opens in new tab)


Long COVID – advice for employers and employees (Link opens in new tab)

COVID-19 return to work in the roadmap out of lockdown: guidelines for workers, employers and health practitioners (PDF opens in new tab)

E-Learning resources related to Covid

The links below take you to external web sites where the e-modules can be found.

H&S/HR Dept: Coronavirus Awareness

You will need to provide the following to access the course:

  • A valid email address
  • Business name: Rowan Alba LTD
  • Business Postcode to log in: EH3 9PU

The course takes only 10 minutes to complete and covers the following elements:

  • Understanding what the Coronavirus is and what is known about it so far.
  • Advice on how to reduce the risk of contracting/spreading the infection.
  • Information on the symptoms and protocol to follow (WHO and Government advice) should someone contract the virus.

Access the course here (External link opens in new tab)

Coronavirus: advice for employers and employees | Acas

Please do not include any personal details, for example email address or phone number. If you have a question about your individual circumstances, call our helpline on 0300 123 1190.
Access the course here (External link opens in new tab)

National Infection Prevention and Control Manual: How to carry out hand hygiene

Using hand hygiene. To find out when, where and how you should carry out hand hygiene go to section 1.2 of the NIPCM. Step by step images on correct technique are available that can be downloaded for local use.
Access the course here (External link opens in new tab)

Advice from Scottish Government on Covid 19

Access the advice here (External link opens in new tab)

Coronavirus (COVID-19) | NHS inform

Coronavirus (COVID-19) can cause a fever, cough and shortness of breath. Find out what to do if you have developed any of these symptoms since arriving from from an affected area.
Access the advice here (External link opens in new tab)

Video on using PPE from Health Protection Scotland

We use a traffic light system for visit planning

The CARDS team assess the appropriate level of risk for every visiting scenario. The traffic lights give you a quick guide to the status of your visits. See below for specific advice for each level.


Visits can go ahead


Risk assessment in progress


Visits can not go ahead

Green > Some visits with exceptional circumstances will continue, with approval from CARDS Team.   

Comprehensive risk assessments and visits plans are  in place through collaboration between the CARDS Team, volunteers and service users.  The last risk assessment and visit plan that allowed you to continue visiting was done based on the last CoVid 19 strain.  We are now dealing with a far more virulent strain and are already seeing a huge increase in staff, volunteer and service user cases.  If you and your client wish to review your visit plan with a view to continuing visits you must open a discussion with CARDS staff and talk through all the precautions which will be compared against new guidance for this specific strain. 

Related resources

CARDS Covid visiting Risk Assessment (XLS file download)
Scottish Government Covid Protection Levels (External link opens in new tab)
Scottish Government Physical Distancing Guidelines (External link opens in new tab)

Amber > Most visits will be put on hold and moved to temporary telephone only

The majority of our visits will be placed temporarily on hold and continue via telephone service ready to resume when restrictions are eased again.  CARDS staff will continue to gather information and feedback from other professionals in social care as we move back in to the community outreach services and add to our understanding of best developing best practice in this area with the added consideration of the new strain.  Your visit plan will need to be reviewed before you meet again and if you wish to start this process get in touch and we can review now so we have less work to do when we get the all clear to resume visits.  

Related resources

Rowan Alba Visit Plan (Word download)
Service Risk Assessment April 2021 (Word download)

Red > Many visits will remain restricted to telephone calls only

There will be many reasons that some visits continue to be restricted to telephone sessions only. CARDS will continue to proceed with appropriate caution, and with the health and wellbeing of everyone involved in visits at the heart of all decisions made. We now have additional resources in the form of a team of highly experienced locum workers. We have developed this new resource in coordination as part of our response to lockdown, and the continual development of the service that CARDS provides. These former volunteers embody the very spirit of collaboration, and bring their enthusiasm, energy, and commitment to help us support the most isolated and at risk individuals through this current crisis, in line with government advice. Our team of Locums and CARDS staff will be able to take on signposting, risk assessing and in general doing the admin behind the scenes to make sure that this person does not fall of our radar at any time. If your client falls in to the category of requiring extra support then please speak to us in person by calling the cards phone 07715082428.  Information contained in notes will not always be flagged up.  Risk issues must be passed over verbally. 

Related resources

Scottish Government January 2021 Update


Useful information about volunteering

Ongoing support for learning & development

Volunteer resources & Forms

Covid and volunteering

Getting help from CARDS

Evaluations & reports

Frameworks & Guidance