Community Missions Training summary
This training is designed to let you know what to expect on GoodGym community missions and to keep you and those around you safe.
It is essential that you read this information carefully.
Community missions training
What are community missions?
Community Missions are time limited, practical help for a local community organisation or charity. The tasks are similar to those you may have completed on a GoodGym group run, the difference being there may be no trainer present.
Any tools or equipment needed for the mission should be provided by the organisation although we recommend to always bring along gloves and a torch in the winter months.
Community Missions ARE:
- To help a community organisation, charity or public space
- Simple tasks which do not require specific knowledge or technical skills to complete
- Tasks which last no more than 2 hours
Community Missions are NOT:
- Attended by a GoodGym trainer or member of staff
- A group run - you will likely run alone, and meet the other runners at the community mission location.
- Tasks which require a qualified professional, such as electrical works
How are community missions setup?
Community missions can be referred by any community group, charity or individual. Any task completed should benefit the local community in some way and be not for profit.
Community missions are set up by trainers, run leaders and task force in your area but they may not be in attendance on the day.
Often GoodGym has not visited, or specifically risk-assessed the site that you are visiting. It is therefore essential that you read this training carefully and adhere by it's guidelines.
Types of tasks on community missions
Tasks completed on community missions should be for community organisations, charities and not-for-profits only.
Runners attending community missions are not required to be DBS checked and therefore tasks will not be within private residential homes.
Tasks within care homes and supported housing schemes
You may see sessions listed to complete a task within a shared residential setting such as a care home for older people or a supported housing project. Examples of tasks may include playing board games with residents, cleaning the shared living space or gardening. If attending such a community mission you must ensure:
- you stay within shared spaces and do not enter private bedrooms
- you are not left alone with residents
- you do not swap contact details with residents
- you do not organise return visits outside of GoodGym activities
This is to protect yourself and the beneficiaries of the task.
Types of risks
Referrers are asked to highlight potential risks of a task which will be posted on the community mission listing. However, due to the varied nature of requests, there may always be new and unexpected risks on any community mission that you undertake and GoodGym cannot guarantee that risks may not be present.
By signing up to a mission, you are accepting your responsibility to take steps to keep yourself safe. You are the best judge of your abilities and limitations and we ask you to use your own judgement to ensure your safety at all times.
Risks may present themselves in the following aspects of a community mission:
- Getting there
- The environment you are in
- The task you are doing
- The people you are with
This training will address each of these and provide advice that we ask you to follow to reduce risks and keep yourself safe.
You will be visiting community projects unsupervised so you need to be aware of how to continually assess changing circumstances of a situation, in order to know what to do to keep yourself and others safe.
You can leave a mission at any time. You will always have the support of GoodGym if you consider that something is too risky and do not want to do it. Always make sure that you take the safe option, even if that means not finishing the task requested.
Getting there safely
For community missions you will likely be making your own way to the task although we recommending meeting up with other runners for all or part of the journey. Travelling with others can be more fun and is safer. Here is some advice for arriving at a task safely:
Do not bring unregistered friends Anyone attending a community mission must be a GoodGym member, have signed up to attend the mission and completed this training. Unlike group runs please do not bring friends along who have not done this.
Plan your route: Plan and familiarise yourself with your route ahead of your run and make sure you take a smart phone (if you have one) or map with you. Try to avoid stretches of road that are very dark or narrow and where no-one lives. Avoid parks or isolated stretches of canal at night.
Trip hazards: To reach the task you may be running on uneven surfaces. Look out for hazards and avoid them. Reducing your speed will reduce your chance of a more serious injury. If you are running with others please make them aware of any hazards you spot.
Traffic: Running can make you want to cross roads really quickly. Always be careful when you cross roads. Never risk your life at a crossing in order to get a PB.
Busy streets: You are likely to be running along busy streets so be aware of people walking. Go slowly if needed. Make sure you have sufficient space around you while running, especially in confined areas. Other runners can obscure your ability to spot obstacles.We advise you not to check phones or your watch when running to ensure you keep looking ahead.
Take some money or a bank card: This is important in case you have an injury and need to take public transport home.
Injury or illness: Do not attend a community mission if you have an injury which will prevent you from running or completing the task safely. If you are ill do not attend as you may infect others.
Let someone know: It is a good idea to let someone like a flatmate, friend, partner or family member know that you are going on a GoodGym community mission, and let them know when you are going to come back.
Exchange phone numbers and stay in contact: You may know other runners attending the task. If so let them know when you set off and update them on your progress, particularly if you are running late.
Arriving at the task
You may arrive at the task alone. If so look out for other GoodGym members in their red tops. Tasks may be inside or outside, and maybe for a large organisation with lots of people present or an individual with no one else around.
Be aware of the environment around you as you arrive: No environment is ever free from risk and there may be environmental hazards on the site such as slippery ground, wires, trip hazards, water or falling objects. Look around you as you arrive and take notice of any potential hazards which may impact on your completing the task safely. Always alert other people when you see these things that might pose a risk.
Preparing for differences: You will be helping people or organisations who may do things differently to you. Similarly you may be completing the tasks with other runners who have differing opinions. You should expect that the people you meet will be from a diverse range of backgrounds and may have sets of beliefs that are quite different to your own. We expect our runners to treat the people we help in a friendly manner and to respect any differences that exist as outlined in our Equal Opportunities Policy. You will be sent the link to the full policy on completion of this training.
Don’t start alone: When you arrive at a mission you should wait for at least one other runner to arrive before starting the task.This is for your own safety and that of others. Other runners may arrive at different times.
If you feel uncomfortable in the environment, or unsafe, you do not need to participate in the task and can leave.
Environmental risks at the task
There may be hazards at the task which could cause a risk to yours or other people’s safety. Here is some advice on the more common ones:
Animal diseases, faeces and poison: It is possible that there is animal matter or other substances that may cause you illness or infection; be aware of this and avoid close contact with it. We advise you to bring gloves to wear on this task to avoid contact with skin. On leaving the site make sure you wash your hands. If concerned do not touch or enter an area you feel may pose a risk.
Uneven or slippery ground, trip hazards and falling objects: There may be environmental hazards on the site such as slippery ground, wires, trip hazards, water or falling objects. Move slowly, look out for these things and avoid them where possible. Always alert other participants when you see these things.
Sharp objects: There may be sharp objects, such as needles or glass, concealed by leaves or sand or some other substance. Similarly there may be objects that are sharp, or have splinters or nails in them. Be aware that these objects may be present, look for them and avoid if possible. If the task requires handling leaves, sand or other material that may contain sharp objects, you should bring gloves to protect your hands.
Throwing things away: Part of your task might be throwing things away. It is important that you don’t make any mistakes so obtain clear instructions and, if possible, consult the task owners opinion and obtain consent for each thing to be thrown away.
Tasks in the dark or poorly lit areas Wear light, reflective clothing so others can see you, and bring a head torch to the task. You may be working in the dark and therefore should use artificial lighting as required. It is suggested that you work in a group with others and take turns holding any torches/artificial lights. Do not carry out any work that you do not feel comfortable doing in the dark or with low light.
Fumes, particles or irritants on site: Be aware of any fumes, particles or irritants when working on the task. If you suspect that there are any potentially harmful fumes then please inform other participants, report to the task owner and avoid that area of the task.
Working close to each other: You are likely to be working in close proximity to others. Be aware of those around you. Stop working if you’re likely to make contact with another participant, particularly if you are using any tools. Alert others to your presence if you think they might not know you’re there.
Violent or abusive people or animals: As with any public or private place, it is possible that you will encounter violent or abusive people or animals. Be aware of these people or animals and avoid them where possible. Alert other runners to their presence. If people shout abuse at you ensure you do not retaliate and that you stay with the group. If other participants are unaware that any violent or abusive has happened report it to them at a suitable time and to GoodGym Central the next working day. If you need immediate assistance then you should phone the police.
Work quickly but safely: There may be pressure from the task owner, other participants or yourself to get the task completed quickly. At no point should you rush in a way that is not safe. Always prioritise your safety above that of completing the task.
Physical risks at the task
The nature of the tasks for which organisations need help can present with hazards. Here is some advice on how to deal with these:
Bring gloves: We recommend bringing gardening gloves to all GoodGym tasks. They can be useful for a large number of tasks for which GoodGym regularly get called to do.
Tools and equipment: It’s likely you’ll be using some simple tools and equipment to complete your tasks on GoodGym missions, such as shovels, screwdrivers or hammers. You do not have to use any tools or equipment if you do not want to, or if you feel that you are not adequately trained or protected to do so. Never use tools that you’re not comfortable with.
Do not use power tools: You should not be using power tools such as drills, chainsaws, band saws, angle grinders or similar tools with sharp or dangerous moving parts and which require protective equipment. You have not been trained to do so and you do not know that the tools are in working order. GoodGym does not accept tasks with these tools so it should not be expected of you. If we are asked to help with a specific task such as lawn mowing, we will inform you of the details of the task in advance and you should only accept the mission should you feel equipped and safe to do so. You can use Lawn Mowers and Strimmers, as these are considered low -risk, and require less skill.
Do not use axes: If you are asked to do so you should decline.
Be careful of blades: You are likely to come across saws, loppers and various types of blades. Always treat blades carefully and do not use the blade if you do not feel safe and protected to do so. If you would prefer not to use a blade do not. If you see anyone behaving inappropriately with a blade it is your responsibility to inform them, to move away and to report it to GoodGym if you feel the behaviour presented a continued risk.
Manual handling: Some missions may involve lifting heavy objects. It is important that you do not lift anything that you do not think you can comfortably lift. Ensure that you keep your back straight and that you have your feet planted firm shoulder width apart. If you experience any pain stop immediately, and be careful not to drop the object on yourself on anyone else.
Keeping each other safe
GoodGym is a community and it’s important we look out for each other’s safety as well as our own. Everyone attending the task would have completed this training so please refer to it with other runners.
Look out for each other: If you see a risk to the safety of another runner you should alert them to it. If you see someone doing something you consider to be dangerous you should advise them to stop.
Be careful of those around you: If you are using a tool be careful of those around you. It is easy to swing round, slip or misplace a tool and accidentally hurt another runner. Constantly communicate where you are and keep safe space between you.
Peer pressure: Sometimes there may be pressure from the task owner or other participants to get involved in a task you do not feel is safe. If you feel pressured you should tell the other person.If you feel you should then leave the task and report the incident to GoodGym the next working day. As a participant you should never pressure someone else into taking part in a task. If someone does not want to do something you should respect their wishes after the first time of asking and not put pressure on them or ask them again to do it.
Lone working: At the task work within eyesight of other runners wherever possible. If the task requires you to work alone tell other participants.
Knowing the limits of the relationships between you and organisations you are helping is important, particularly to help protect everyone involved.
Here is a basic set of rules that we ask all runners to adhere to:
- Stick to the task you have been asked to do. If you are asked to do additional tasks you do not feel comfortable doing, explain that you are not authorised to do so and direct the person back to GoodGym.
- Never accept money or gifts for a task you have completed. It is ok to accept a soft drink and a small snack if offered.
- Never give your contact details to the person/people you have helped. If they ask for a contact number, provide the GoodGym number.
- Do not complete a task you are not happy to complete.
- Never return to complete another task for someone outside of GoodGym sessions. If someone asks you to return on another day or to complete an additional task elsewhere you must direct them to GoodGym.
It is likely you will meet a variety of people on GoodGym community missions and there may be times when you are concerned about someone.
This module may seem serious, it addresses important information. But don’t worry too much - safeguarding isn’t a part of most runners experiences, we just want you to be prepared, so if something does come up and you are worried that someone might be being abused or neglected you know what to do.
What is safeguarding?
Adult safeguarding means protecting a person’s right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect.
Safeguarding processes are intended to make sure that people maintain their choice and control, safety, health, quality of life and dignity and respect.
What is abuse?
Incidents of abuse may be one-off or multiple, and affect one person or more. There are lots of different types of abuse. The Care Act 2014 defines abuse in the following ten categories: physical, emotional/psychological, financial or material, sexual, neglect, discriminatory, organisational, modern slavery, domestic and self-neglect.
How to recognise abuse
Someone might tell you they have been abused however there are occasions when a vulnerable adult might not tell anyone. If this is the case you may be able to recognise signs such as:
- Bruising, cuts, welts, burns and/or marks on the body
- No explanation for injuries or inconsistency with the account of what happened
- Loss of confidence
- Poor hygiene and cleanliness
- Appearing to be malnourished, unkempt or withdrawn
- Expressions of anger, frustration, fear or anxiety
- Abusive and disrespectful attitudes by staff in charge towards people using the service
What do I do if you are concerned?
Recognise - Looking out for other people and recognising any changes in their behaviour is really important for picking up on something being wrong. Always act on any concerns, suspicions or doubts. Do not ignore it.
Respond - Listen carefully and try not to show shock or disbelief. Use the words that the person has used to check your understanding of what they have told you. Do not make promises of confidentiality. It is always a good idea to try and get consent from the person to pass on the information. However if they decline, you must explain that as a volunteer, it is your duty of care to look out for them and tell GoodGym.
Record - Make a note of any times, dates or instances witnessed or disclosed to you. Don’t rely on your memory alone.
Report - Tell GoodGym on 0203 432 3920 (weekdays 9.30am-6pm) or email@example.com as soon as possible If your concern involves a GoodGym member of staff or volunteer, you can contact your local Adult Safeguarding Team at the council directly.
At any point, if you are concerned for someone’s immediate safety you should call 999 straight away.
What to do if something goes wrong
Although the vast majority of our tasks go ahead without any problems the nature of what we do means there is potential for issues to arise.
If the organisation or task owner no longer wants help Even if GoodGym has confirmed the task, they have the right to change their mind or may have found someone else to complete the task. This could at short notice on the day you were due to do the task, on arrival, or during the task. We advise that you leave the location, and email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know.
If the organisation or task owner is not there This is something that rarely happens. Most tasks will involve the task owner being there. Occasionally we may get tasks where the task owner will not be present and you will be informed of this in the task confirmation email. If no one is around we advise knocking, and waiting for 10 minutes. If you have still made no contact then leave. Always let GoodGym know if this happens
If you are concerned about anything at a task If there is an immediate risk then call 999. If there is something that can wait until GoodGym office hours then there is the opportunity to give feedback in mission follow up email, and someone from GoodGym Central can arrange a phone call with you.
Reporting an accident Any accident which happens on the way to or at a task should be reported using our accident book. This can be found at https://www.goodgym.org/accidents. GoodGym does not operate an out of hours service, so please email with any other concerns or phone the office from 09.30 - 18.00 the next working day.