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Fundraisers pivot to deliver Covid-19 home testing service

Charity fundraising teams have been drafted in to extend public health capacity in London and Birmingham, offering residents home-based testing for Covid-19 in high-risk areas.

The Personal Fundraising Services (PFS) Covid-19 campaign teams usually work to build brand awareness and raise funds for UK charities, but the organisation pivoted its workforce during the most recent lockdown to help local councils extend their reach.

Following a successful trial in partnership with Redbridge Council (London) in December 2020, PFS fundraisers are supporting residents by delivering home testing kits and helping them understand what they can do to protect themselves and limit the risk of transmission. The teams continue to provide home testing services and outreach to some of the most vulnerable members of the community, also supporting surge testing programmes in areas of London and Birmingham.

To date, PFS fundraisers have visited more than 40,000 households to offer free Covid testing and information, facilitating over 24,000 tests. All campaigns are being run in partnership with local authorities and other key stakeholders, including the military. The service has been praised by the Department of Health and Social Care as an example of best practice.

Dominic Will, Managing Director of PFS, says:

“It’s been fantastic to be able to keep many of our face-to-face fundraisers working during lockdown by helping to facilitate home testing. Residents have really welcomed the opportunity to carry out tests in the safety of their own homes. And, particularly in the case of older and vulnerable residents, it’s clear that many people are still feeling extremely anxious about leaving their homes, even for essential medical purposes.

“It’s been a great opportunity to continue to engage with the public at such a key time. We look forward to continuing this vital work and now we can also look ahead with renewed confidence to the resumption of F2F fundraising.”

Councillor Mark Santos, Redbridge Council’s Lead Member for Health, adds:

“Being able to offer home test kits at our residents’ doorsteps has given people who may not have taken a test the ability to do so, easily. It’s helped them to stay home, given peace of mind, and helped us to control the spread of the virus. This additional testing offer has been crucial as we have suffered some of the highest rates of Coronavirus in London, and has demonstrated that we are doing everything we can to keep Redbridge safe.”

Plans are now underway to support NHS Test and Trace in reaching out to vulnerable and isolated members of the community, and to support other health outreach programmes devised by the NHS and senior public health professionals.