Responding to Covid-19

Covid-19 (Coronavirus) has hit us all very hard, and we're no exception.  We're now putting all our efforts into staying Covid Secure to ensure the safety of our staff and volunteers comes first.  We strive for openness and honesty so you will find our operational plan below.

We are also making our Risk Assessments public and you can find a link to them at the bottom of the page.

Covid 19 (Coronavirus) Operational Plan


Please note that we have removed contact details from the web-version

In compliance with the UK Government’s restrictions on travel and working, TWAM reduced its UK operation to only essential administrative and financial staff on 1 April 2020.  Following the lifting of restrictions and following Government advice, TWAM began the return to full UK operations with the return of furloughed staff and key senior volunteers on 1 July 2020.  This was to prepare TWAM for a full restart of operations on 1 August 2020.  Preparation included achieving full Covid Secure implementation.


No containers were dispatched between April and July, and a reduced schedule was introduced from 1 August 2020 with one container dispatched each month thereafter until capacity allows for a return to the planned two/week rotation.


UK and Overseas operational capacity

TWAM plans to reopen Ipswich, Coventry and Penarth Refurbishment Centres on 1 August 2020 once Covid Secure has been achieved.  The reopening of Kenilworth and Halstead will be dependent on permission from the host church.  The four TWAM van teams will return to operations by 1 August 2020.


Overseas Operations have continued uninterrupted with containers being delivered, unloaded and tools distributed throughout the pandemic.  Churches, training centres and schools remain closed as of July 2020, reducing the impact of tools and equipment received by applicants.


In response to sending no containers during the shutdown and the limited capacity to send containers for the remainder of the year, TWAM will stop receiving applications for Zambia from 1 September 2020 for six months.  This decision will be reviewed in March 2021.  This option remains open for Uganda and a decision will be made in September 2020.


Depending on your role, you only need to read the following relevant sections:

Section One: EVERYBODY read this

Section Two: Read the paragraph relevant to your role 

Section Three: EVERYBODY read this


Section One: This is what you ALL need to know

What to do if you feel unwell with a cough or have difficulty in breathing and have a high temperature or fever.

  1. If you are at home stay at home

  2. If you are at a Refurbishment Centre inform the manager immediately

    1. Isolate yourself (a minimum of 2 metres /7 foot from everybody else - ideally outside)

    2. Then ring 111 on your own phone for advice or if feeling very unwell 999

    3. Follow the advice given

  3. If collecting tools or driving return home immediately, even if this means leaving tools uncollected or a van absent from the Refurbishment Centre or its base.

    1. Then ring 111 on your own phone for advice or if feeling very unwell 999

    2. Follow the advice given


If you are diagnosed with Covid 19 please arrange for Trevor Maynard in Ipswich to be informed and ensure NHS Track and Trace are given his contact details. Trevor will work with your local Refurbishment Centre or Van Manager and fully cooperate with NHS Track and Trace to ensure all volunteers who may have come into contact with you are informed.​


Trevor will ask you for details of where you have been and who you have met in relation to TWAM activity.  Collectors will be asked who they have visited, the drivers who they have collected from, and refurbishers who they have worked with. 


TWAM is operating Track and Trace recording for all volunteers and visitors who enter any of our premises.


If you visit someone and are concerned they may be displaying symptoms of Covid 19, do not stay but politely walk away.


Section Two: Specific advice related to your role within TWAM

Specific advice for Refurbishment Centre Volunteers and Staff

  1. TWAM has introduced a Track and Trace system of all volunteers and visitors who enter our centres.  Please ensure on arrival and departure you make sure your Centre Manager is informed.  They will keep the record of who is in the centre at any point during opening hours.  It is really important you comply with this, and should the NHS Track and Trace scheme inform us that one of our volunteers has been diagnosed with Covid 19, we will be able to see immediately who they may or may not have been in contact with.

  2. TWAM has achieved Covid Secure in all its centres and this will be maintained until Government advice changes.  This has included putting up hand sanitisers throughout the centres, installing cleaning stations and introducing cleaning rotas, providing face shields, masks and gloves, plus disposal cups and cutlery.

  3. TWAM is maintaining 2 metres social distancing in all its centres with floor markers and one way systems introduced.

  4. Hand washing posters have been put up in toilets/washrooms and kitchen facilities and social distancing and hand sanitiser reminder posters are displayed throughout the centres.

  5. TWAM has provided laptops for all staff who may be required at short notice to work from home.  

  6. In line with Covid Secure implementation, all relevant staff have been given the opportunity to work from home if possible and three staff have currently taken up this offer for one or two days per week.


Specific advice for Collectors

When arranging collections with the public 

Please ask them (by email or phone) if the size and weight of the tools they are donating can be carried by one person.  You will need to ask for an idea of the weight as only you know what you are able to comfortably lift.  If the answer is that you cannot comfortably lift on your own and do not have someone in your ’social bubble’ you can take with you, please politely decline the offer.  We accept we may lose out on some tools during these times because our priority is to keep you safe.


Can the tools be left outside the property in a safe place ready for collection?  Ideally in the front garden away from the house.  If left in a garage can they be clearly set aside and identified for donation to TWAM.  If accessing garages or garden buildings ask for doors to be left open to avoid contact with door handles and to increase air flow.


Can the tools be boxed or bagged up by the donor to limit the amount of tools you need to handle.  You can ask them to collect trays or banana boxes when they go shopping.  Major supermarkets generally have these readily available near the tills.


However you choose to collect please make it clear that you will need to stay at a distance of no less than 2 metres away from the tool donor and their family.  


If the tools are located in their home and they are unwilling or unable to place them in the front garden or garage then please politely decline their donation.  If possible keep their details and offer to return once the current Covid 19 pandemic has passed (which means a vaccine has been found and you have been vaccinated).  


When collecting tools from the public

Ring the tool donor from your mobile when you arrive, to let them know you have arrived to collect their tools (and not an opportunist thief!)  Ask them to confirm the tools have been left where agreed and labelled for TWAM if necessary.  Remind them that if they want to talk to you or check you have taken the right tools, they must keep  at least 2 metres away at all times. 


If the above conditions have not been met, please be prepared to walk away without the tools.

If any tools prove too heavy to lift, please be prepared to leave them behind.


Please wear gloves at all times and also have hand sanitiser available to use as soon as you return to your car (even if you wear gloves this is a good idea).


Please leave a ‘Thank You’ leaflet behind to assure them you are from TWAM and because it’s good to say thank you.


TWAM has provided you with a face-mask made by one of our kind supporters and this or another mask should be worn if appropriate.  Should there be any possibility that you will be within 2 metres of the donor please use your mask, or if you enter a garage or garden building without open doors or windows.


It is thought that the Coronavirus can survive on certain surfaces for up to 3 days, therefore once you have unloaded at home, please leave the tools for three days before attempting any sorting or checking.


Collectors have been issued with Guidance Cards, advice and face masks.


Specific advice for Drivers and Van Managers

When arranging collections from TWAM Volunteer Tool Collectors 

Please ask them (by email or phone)


Check if the size and weight of the tools to be collected can be carried by one person.  If not please arrange for a driver and mate to collect.  Please remember it must always be the same driver and mate and that Covid Secure insists you cannot swap around who drives with who.


Confirm that the driver can collect the tools ideally from the front garden or if not they are left in a garage or garden building with windows and doors open.  Please ask that the tools are clearly identified for TWAM collection.  


Make sure the collector is aware of the driver’s collection procedure.  It’s really important that both the drivers and collectors know that friendship still matters, and being safe does not mean we have to be unfriendly and unapproachable.  It’s still good to stop for a chat!


When collecting tools from Volunteer Tool Collectors

Ring the collector from your TWAM mobile when you arrive, to let them know you have arrived to collect their tools and confirm where they have left them. 


Please wear gloves at all times and also have hand sanitiser available to use as soon as you return to your van (even if you wear gloves this is a good idea).


TWAM has provided you with a face shield and this should be worn if appropriate.  Should there be any possibility that you will be within 2 metres of a collector or if you enter a garage or garden building without open doors or windows, please use your shield.


Collectors love to talk to the drivers and drivers love to talk to collectors.  This is an important part of volunteering in the TWAM family, so please do not discourage this important opportunity, but remain outdoors and 2m apart while you chat.


If you need to enter the house to use the facilities please wear your gloves and face shield and take the anti-viral wipes from the van to clean the toilet and basin before and after use.


Remember to top up hand sanitiser, anti-viral sprays and blue roll when you return to your Refurbishment Centre. When you return the van it is really important to wipe down the steering wheel and hard surfaces using the anti-viral spray.  Leave the spray on the surface for five minutes before wiping off, so it has time to do its job.  Spray or use wipes on all surfaces.  Remember to take your personal face-shield and gloves with you when you leave the van.


Van teams have been issued with Covid 19 van packs which include Guidance Cards and advice, personal face shields, gloves and all necessary cleaning supplies.


Specific advice for Head Office staff/office volunteers

Staff should be prepared to work remotely at short notice by ensuring they take home every night:

  1. Login details for Google, Salesforce etc

  2. Banking login details, bank cards and card readers

  3. TWAM supplied laptop


Staff and volunteers should only come into the office on agreed times and only sit at their allocated desk.  Everyone should ensure when they arrive and when they leave that you wipe down the equipment (keyboard, phone etc) that you will be using with anti-viral wipes.  Hand sanitisers and cleaning stations are available in the office.


Everyone should ensure the Office Manager or Supporter Development Officer is made aware of the time they arrive and leave, so they can update the track and trace system.

Please follow all advice on one way systems where advised 


Section Three: Internal communication plan

In the event Ipswich enters a local lockdown or our Ipswich Head Office is forced to temporarily close we have put the following measures in place to ensure we maintain contact with our staff, volunteers and supporters.


If TWAM is affected by a confirmed case of Covid 19 among its staff and volunteers, the following staff members will assume these responsibilities:

  • Ella-Sophia Peaple will regularly update our website and social media outlets​

  • Paul Daley will respond to the email and support the Ipswich van driving team and national volunteer collector team.​

  • Trevor Maynard will oversee TWAMs operational response and will liaise with Van Managers and Refurbishment Centre Managers to ensure an appropriate and measured response.​

  • Jonny Green will oversee the smooth operation of administration during any period when the Head Office is closed.  He will update the answer phone message with the latest information. ​

  • Mike Griffin will liaise with Public Health England and other relevant authorities to ensure minimal disruption to the safe operation of TWAM.  He will also send out regular volunteer updates via the volunteer enews, and keep the Board of Trustees fully updated on the current operational capability of the mission.​

The TWAM Covid 19 Operations Team are:

Mike Griffin (Chief Executive)

Trevor Maynard (Ipswich Refurbishment Centre Manager and Health and Safety Officer)

Jonny Green (Office Manager)


We are following official advice to ensure our UK operations are fully compliant with the Government's Covid Secure regulations and so our volunteers and staff are kept safe at all times.  We will always put the safety of our volunteers first.


Very importantly, we’re working really hard to keep TWAM the same welcoming and friendly place it has always been.

Risk Assessments

All our key risk assessments can be viewed or downloaded using the buttons below.