Coram on Coronavirus: FAQs for staff, volunteers and service users

Published: Wednesday 18th March 2020

Updated on 20 March 2020

We are continuing to monitor the impact of the coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak on all Coram activities. We have updated our advice to staff, volunteers, service users and contractors. As this is a fast evolving situation, please return to this page for updated information.

Information for staff

Information for volunteers

Information for service users, contractors and visitors

For staff

What is the current health advice?
Please continue to follow the Government’s updated health advice here.

What do I do if I suspect I have contracted coronavirus?
If you feel unwell and think that you may have the virus, please advise your line manager and self-isolate for seven days, following the government’s stay at home guidance. There is no need to go to hospital or your GP unless your condition gets worse or your symptoms do not get better after seven days.

Do keep checking the Department of Health’s advice.

Can I work from home?
Yes. Coram buildings will remain open only for functions absolutely essential for supporting our work with children. In line with the government’s updated social distancing advice recommending that people work from home and only travel when absolutely necessary, we have been working to enable staff to work from home wherever possible. The expectation now is that all Coram staff are working remotely.

Our IT team is providing all members of staff able to work from home with the necessary equipment and support to do so. As well as providing individual/team advice, our IT team is also issuing guidance to all staff on telephone and laptop usage. This is available on Coram’s SharePoint page.  

What do I do with regard to childcare now that schools have been closed?
The Government has announced that schools in England, Scotland and Wales will close on Friday 20 March until further notice to everyone except vulnerable children and those with a parent identified as a key worker. Coram has extended its provision for dependency leave to three days as we understand this will be a major challenge for parents. Your line manager will work with you as far as is practicable to establish ways of working with you around this particular issue. 

Is Coram now cancelling all events, workshops and visits to the main campus?
Our current position is that all events and visits to campus are postponed till further notice. Where staff are working directly with children and families who need immediate support, decisions are being taken on a case-by-case basis with due consideration of all relevant facts, on whether to go ahead, postpone, cancel or deliver remotely. Again, please discuss this with your line manager or Head of Service as appropriate.

Should I send out my own communications about coronavirus to service users, contractors or other key groups?
Coram has a wide range of key stakeholders who will need to be kept informed by the individual charities within the Group. If you are engaging directly as one of the entities, please involve the central communications team to ensure our information is clear and consistent across the Group. We are linking from the main Coram home page to local information on our individual charities’ websites.

How is Coram keeping its staff informed about the virus?
Our Human Resources and senior management team are providing regular email updates to all staff. The charities within the Group are all similarly engaging with their staff directly.

We are keeping this page up-to-date with the latest advice from the government and adding answers to frequently asked questions as and when they arise. All essential information for staff is being posted on SharePoint.

All Heads of Service are developing business continuity plans locally to ensure that we continue to run our services as effectively as possible during the outbreak. Please ask your line manager or Head of Service if you are unclear about any aspect of current working arrangements.

I am very worried about the situation. Who can I talk to about it?
We appreciate that this is a worrying time for many. Please do talk to your line manager in the first instance if you have anxieties. We have also established an email helpline (research@coram.org.uk) for any queries and to support any staff who need additional support.

For volunteers

Should I continue to volunteer for Coram during the outbreak?
We are working on the basis that all volunteering activities are currently postponed until further notice. Our individual Group charities are also engaging directly with volunteers to keep you updated.

For service users, contractors and visitors

Is Coram now cancelling or postponing my service?
We are taking every precaution to keep running essential services in a way that maximises safety, for instance through remote working, video-conferencing, etc, to ensure that our activities are being carried out in line with government health advice. You should have been contacted already by your Coram contact to update you on your specific situation. For further details about how each of our services is responding, see our dedicated key information page.

Is the Coram campus still open?
We are operating on the basis that for all normal activity, the Coram campus is effectively closed. We are staying open with a skeleton staff to ensure remote delivery of essential services to Coram users can continue to take place.

Finally

I have a question that hasn’t been answered above. What should I do?
If you have a specific question about your individual circumstances please speak to your line manager if you are a staff member or your normal Coram contact if you are a volunteer or service user. We have also established an email helpline (research@coram.org.uk) for staff.

Journalists should contact the communications team on communications@coram.org.uk. We will also be updating our social media channels regularly – for the latest information please visit https://twitter.com/Coram