by Martin Fagan, National Secretary, the Community Heartbeat Trust charity

We are facing unprecedented times. However, in villages and communities around the country people are showing true altruism and volunteering to help neighbours. Over 500k responded to the Government appeal. In my own village for example, each road has been assigned (by the PC) volunteer wardens to make sure everyone is safe, and to be on hand to collect prescriptions, shopping, or just keeping an eye on the most elderly.

To support this community resilience, the Community Heartbeat Trust charity, better known for its leading role in the provision of community defibrillators, can now provide a service to help communities stay connected and support one another during this period of self-isolation. Based upon its very successful V.E.T.S. service (Volunteer Emergency Telephone Service), which is primarily used for life threatening emergencies in a community, but also used for neighbourhood watch and other areas, the V.E.T.S. service has been formulated into a simple communication package for the community volunteer schemes across the country. Using telephone lines, rather than assuming everyone has a 3G/4G smartphone, as in other systems, this service allows a single emergency number for the village to be called, and this will ring simultaneously up to 10 volunteers in the community, who may be able to assist.

The network of chosen volunteers is connected via one local phone number. No physical installation of anything is required and there are no apps or additional software for people to download, which makes it quick to implement and provides familiarity for the elderly as to activate someone only need dial a local number from their landline or mobile phone. A voicemail message to e-mail facility can also be implememnted so messages can be picked up later if no one is available.

How Coronvirus V.E.T.S Volunteer System Works

Essential services such as medication collection, shopping or even just a social call can be arranged via the volunteer network V.E.T.S number whilst maintaining social distancing. Allowing those of us that are fortunate enough to be lower risk to continue to provide for those that are unable to leave their homes.

“We hope that this will enable communities to have a simplified method of communication that allows for anyone to access the community support in their village,” says Martin Fagan, National Secretary at CHT. “At times of crisis, we all like to do our ‘bit’ and we have been inundated with requests to adapt our successful VETS service that has been used for emergencies. We could not actually do that, as this would have diverted attention away from another lifesaving service. However, we hope that this specialised system will be of use, and can be used by anyone, whether or not they have a mobile or not, young and elderly.”

The VETS CV-19 service will run for 6 months, but may be extended, and has been subsidised by CHT to make it cost effective for the community. The total subsidised cost, including unlimited local telephone calls for 6 months and the set-up of the telephone lines, is £50. CHT staff are giving their time for free to run this service. Anyone wishing to partake please click on the link below, or type into your browser, or contact Joe at the Community Heartbeat Trust charity.

This is not a 999 or 111 service.

Set Up A Covid19 Volunteer Scheme Here


Please make sure you have read and understood this disclaimer - It will be assumed that you have read prior to CHT receiving any request. CHT are not responsible for your fund raising, nor your cPAD operations, but may assist in both. CHTs only aim is to support the installation of a cPAD scheme in the most cost effective way possible adhering to Best Practice, and help save lives in your community. This website, and any downloaded information, is for information only on how to go about obtaining and installing a cPAD, and other relevant information. All copyrights and trademarks are recognised. All support for the cPAD will be undertaken by the village committee responsible and via standard manufacturers warranties. Any training organisation will only be responsible for the initial awareness training and not for the functioning or maintenance of the AED. Please do not send any monies to CHT until you have registered your scheme with us, and have agreement from the local ambulance service for the establishment of a cPAD scheme. All schemes must be registered with the local ambulance service (CHT will also undertake this or you can do via this site, but this does not remove responsibility for you to notify the local ambulance service of your AED location). 999/112 (ambulance) must always be called prior to using a cPAD equipment. VAT may be applicable if your organisation is not an eligible body as defined by HMRC. All current or historical claims for VAT will be met by the local community. All schemes will be asked to sign an agreement taking responsibility for their own fund raising and donations to CHT, and then the operation and maintenance of the cPAD equipment. All CHT provided schemes will need to manage their maintenance through the WebNoS online system as a condition of CHT support. It is your responsibility to maintain the equipment in working order and to make sure the local ambulance service is aware of this. WebNoS makes this possible and also acts as an audit trail for management of the equipment. Sites provided by CHT and not using WebNoS may be disengaged from the ambulance service CAD systems. Any web site showing defibrillator locations is for information only, and should not be used in preference to dialling 999. CHT works in close cooperation with the UK ambulance services. Always dial 999 in an emergency

Registered Charity Number - 1132824