High Legh is so fortunate to have an impressive team of volunteers ready to help those who will find it hard to cope with the present emergency. We have had some questions about the best way to handle money, and this note makes some suggestions about good practice.

Every situation will be different, and the most important thing is to continue to contain the spread of the virus

Before agreeing to assist with shopping, it is worthwhile to agree how the recipient is going to re-pay you – this protects both of you and will avoid any embarrassment later.

Keeping a Record

We would strongly recommend that you keep a record of all your volunteer activities where money changes hands. (And perhaps record everything you do as a volunteer?)

We all hope that the period of lockdown will be short, but it is easy to forget exactly what happened after a few days or weeks.

We have thought about providing a simple on-line method of recording financial and other activity to simplify this. We would like to hear from you whether you would prefer to keep your own records or to use an on-line standardised system.

Whichever way you prefer, keeping an accurate record of what you do can only provide additional protection.

Ways to Pay

As a general rule, try to keep transactions below £20 to minimise risk.

CASH   For many people, cash is still the preferred way to pay. Notes and coins can be handled by thousands of people over time. Cash has always been a possible source of infection, and its worth remembering that retailers are moving to discourage cash transactions. Having said that, the World Health Organisation has made it clear that there is no specific additional risk associated with COVID-19. A disadvantage would be that there is not much of an ‘audit trail’ if disputes arise (heaven forbid!)

CREDIT/DEBIT CARDS     Don’t be tempted to accept another person’s card to pay for their goods – even if they say it’s OK and offer the PIN. Dangerous and violates the card agreement.

New Information BOOTHS in Knutsford have said they will help High Legh Street Champs getting shopping for neighbours who wish to use credit/debit cards.  Go to Till 14 – tell them you are a volunteer picking up shopping for people who are isolated and show your photo Id.  The shopping is scanned through and when the total is known, the Till Assistant will help with phoning the isolated person, telling them the cost and then taking down details of their credit/debit card over the phone to pay for the transaction .  The volunteer should hand the till receipt to their isolated person, along with the shopping 

CHEQUE     This method requires handling – maybe visits to Bank or Post Offices unless your Bank allows you to scan cheques using the camera on your phone. It’s worth remembering that the Post Office offers facilities for depositing cash and checks into current accounts for most UK banks. You usually need a paying-in slip for cheque deposits, and just your bank card for cash deposits (or withdrawals).

BANK TRANSFER     Obviously a minimum contact method of payment, but depends on the payer being able to use mobile banking solutions – or maybe they have someone who could process the transaction for them.

OTHER METHODS   PayPal provides a payment solution using just mobile phone numbers or eMails. And there are probably other solutions available – let us know if you have good ideas.

Worth remembering that the ‘contactless limit’ for credit and debit cards will be raised from £30 to £45 on the 1st April (why do they always choose April Fool’s day for this sort of thing?!)

STAY SAFE – and please share your experiences with us all on WhatsApp as things develop.

Don’t hesitate to contact the backup team on 07808 207342 or 07510 749847 for any help or advice.