HANDLING OF PAYMENTS

When shopping for a resident, it is preferable to use options where the client pays the vendor directly as in these examples:

  • Supermarket click and collect service: Where possible, and if able, we are encouraging people to use a click and collect service if this is available at their local supermarket. The isolating person can place the order online, or have a trusted family member, friend or carer do this on their behalf) and then share a reference number with you to go and collect the shopping on their behalf. (e.g. Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury's and Tesco)
  • Call and collect: Check to see if the isolating person is able to call a local trusted shop and place an order for shopping over the phone and also make payment over the phone. Then when ready, you can go and collect the shopping and deliver on their behalf. Major supermarkets are unable to support this process
  • Payment over the phone at check out: This option will allow you to go to a local store and payment details for the shopping can be taken over the phone by the shop assistant. Major supermarkets are unable to support this process. Please note:
    • The resident should be sure that their local shop can do this by calling them in advance. Most Spar stores have confirmed this payment option. Check the local store is participating before you travel
    • The resident will give you their shopping list and a code word for use at the till
    • When going to the shop, speak to a shop assistant and explain that you are a volunteer and you would like to use the “Customer not present” payment option. Then show your Key Volunteer letter on your phone
    • When at the till, share the code word suggested by the isolating person with the shop assistant. This will make the isolating person feel more comfortable when sharing their card details over the phone once they have heard their code word
  • Pre-paid supermarket e-voucher: Digital e-vouchers can also be bought online either on a general gift card site or directly from the stores’ website e.g. ASDA, Co-op, Marks and Spencer, Morrisons and Sainsbury's. For residents who do not have internet access the Co-op option allows for payment to be taken over the phone. Many other supermarkets are developing their e-giftcard offer to and this guidance is regularly updated to include new options.
    • Use telephone contact to agree what support is required and confirm to them that you will not be able to enter their home or make physical contact
    • After you have spoken to the individual and you have agreed what is required, give them your email address and direct them to buy (or ask one of their friends of family on their behalf) the online voucher at one of the following links or number:
    • The individual will need to order the card, and ensure it is loaded with enough money to cover the value of the shopping, and forward on the email to you
    • At the store, you can then scan the barcode at the checkout or read out the number to the staff member to pay
    • Unless you have agreed to undertake shopping for the same individual again, delete the e-card details from your phone
  • Pre-paid supermarket plastic voucher/gift card or debit card: If the isolating person has a plastic supermarket gift card/voucher (available online or a friend or relative could buy in store e.g. Aldi, Asda, Waitrose) they can share this with you.
    • You will need to collect the plastic card or print out of the e-voucher before your shop. You will need to show the isolating person your Key Volunteer letter before accepting the card . We advise that all prepaid cards and e-vouchers are put into a box or bag to reduce contact – you should stand more than 2 metres away whilst the isolating person puts this on their doorstep and wait until they have closed the door before you collect it
    • When you arrive to deliver the goods, knock on the door or ring the bell and step back to distance yourself at least two metres. You should not enter the individual’s home and should remain at 2 metres away. Ensure the receipt and plastic card is included and advise the person to wash their hands for 20 seconds with soap and water after unpacking their shopping
  • Cash:

    If the only option available is for the person you are supporting to pay in cash, then this method can be used, but it is not the preferred choice

    a. Arrange with the individual a ceiling price for the groceries and to collect the money first

    b. You will need to show the isolating person your Key Volunteer letter before accepting any money

    c. We advise that all money is put into a box or bag to reduce contact – you should stand more than 2 metres away whilst the isolating person puts this on their doorstep and wait until they have closed the door before you collect it. Ensure money is secured and kept out of sight until payment is made

    d. Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water as soon as possible after handling any cash, or use alcohol-based hand wipes or hand sanitiser, and avoid touching your face, eyes, mouth and nose

    e. If you are giving change for shopping then leave it in an envelope in their shopping bag with their receipt

    f. When leaving the shopping on the isolating person’s doorstep, ensuring they remain at a safe distance, and inform them that they should wash their hands after unpacking their shopping and handling their change


PLEASE NOTE THAT THE BELOW GUIDELINES (EXCEPT CASH) ARE NOT APPROVED BY DARLINGTON BOROUGH COUNCIL


If the above options are not available, we need to process payments to complete some of the requests that we receive from residents. Tasks that fall into this category include when our volunteers are doing the shopping on behalf of a client or paying for their medication.

Any expenses, payments or costs, including fuel, that the volunteers incur when providing a service to the community will be fully reimbursed as explained in the Volunteer Expenses guidelines.

It is always wise to have a conversation with the client about how they are going to pay for their items before the errand takes place, so that everyone is on the same page and there are no issues later on.

Each time a client’s task involves processing payments, there are three transactions involved:
1- The purchase of the items by the volunteer
2- The payment by the client for the items
3- The reimbursement of the payment to the volunteer

However, any transaction with a value over £30 has to be paid by the client to us in advance before we purchase the items. In this case and in the case when a client is paying for the items via bank transfer, the order of steps 1 and 2 is reversed.

1- The purchase of the items by the volunteer

The preferred option is for volunteers to inform us before going to the shop of the estimated value of the items that they would like to purchase.  This would be done by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. along with the task ID number.  At this point, we will send the volunteer by email a pre-paid voucher that will enable them to buy the items.  This option will work for major supermarkets.

Alternatively, if the volunteer would like to use their own funds at this stage, they will be reimbursed within 24 hours.

We appreciate that everyone's situation is different. Therefore, if the volunteer has any concerns about this, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The volunteer has to obtain a receipt for any purchases made and take a picture of it to be reimbursed.

When the volunteer delivers the items to the client, they should inform them that payment had already been made, confirm that the amount paid and give them a copy of the receipt after the volunteer had taken a picture of it.

2- The payment by the client for the items

There are several ways for residents to pay for the shopping or supplies that we are providing. It is essential that we show flexibility and provide the clients with the widest available range of options.  These could include cheques, PayPal, cards, bank transfers or cash.

Here we some notes about three payment methods:

A- Cards:

a. This is the simplest form of processing payments, but requires the volunteer to have access to a card payment machine

b. The volunteer could process this payment when they deliver the items to the client if the value of the items is less than £30. If the value of the items is over £30, we need to take the payment before purchasing the items

c. If the volunteer is using contactless card payment machines, they should explain to the client before the visit that the payment could be processed via the glass of the window. The volunteer can do this by positioning the card payment machine on the external side of the window, while the client is placing the card on the internal side of the window. This is a 30-second video to demonstrate how it works. This process might not work for everyone. 

d. If a payment through the window doesn’t work, the volunteer has to take the payment face-to-face. Please ensure that these extra steps are followed:

i. The card payment machine had been disinfected before use

ii. The volunteer enters the amount of the transaction on the card payment machine and places it on the door step while client is indoors, then steps back a minimum of two metres

iii. Client puts their card in the payment machine, enters pin and removes card when the transaction is completed, placing machine on step and going back indoors

iv. Once door is closed, the volunteer may collect the machine from the door step and confirm that the transaction is completed

v. The card payment machine to be disinfected after use

e. At no point should a volunteer receive any details of the card of the client.

B- Bank Transfer:

a. The volunteer contacts us to obtain the bank details that would be sent to the resident

b. Once the resident has made the payment, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to confirm that we have received the payment

c. Any transaction with a value over £30 has to be paid by the resident in advance before we purchase the items

d. In some instances, the final amount paid by the volunteer to purchase the items is different to the amount that had been paid by the resident. Therefore, another bank transfer might be needed to adjust the balance. This issue could be avoided if the volunteer purchases the items, contacts the resident to make a payment and, once the volunteer receives a confirmation that the payment has been made, delivers the items

C- Online Card Payments:

a. The volunteer contacts us to let us know that the resident would like to make a payment online using their card. We can then send the resident a link, which they can use to make the payment online

b. Once the resident has made the payment, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to confirm that we have received the payment

c. Any transaction with a value over £30 has to be paid by the resident in advance before we purchase the items

d. In some instances, the final amount paid by the volunteer to purchase the items is different to the amount that had been paid by the resident. Therefore, another online card payment might be needed to adjust the balance. This issue could be avoided if the volunteer purchases the items, contacts the resident to make a payment and, once the volunteer receives a confirmation that the payment has been made, delivers the items

D - Paypal

a. The volunteer provides the resident with details of the Paypal account to which payment should be made

b. Any transaction with a value over £30 has to be paid by the resident in advance before the volunteer purchase the items

c. In some instances, the final amount paid by the volunteer to purchase the items is different to the amount that had been paid by the resident. Therefore, another Paypal transfer might be needed to adjust the balance. This issue could be avoided if the volunteer purchases the items, contacts the resident to make a payment and, once the volunteer receives the payment, delivers the items

E- Cash:

If the only option available is for the person you are supporting to pay in cash, then this method can be used, but it is not the preferred choice 

a. Arrange with the individual a ceiling price for the groceries and to collect the money first

b. You will need to show the isolating person your Key Volunteer letter before accepting any money

c. We advise that all money is put into a box or bag to reduce contact – you should stand more than 2 metres away whilst the isolating person puts this on their doorstep and wait until they have closed the door before you collect it. Ensure money is secured and kept out of sight until payment is made

d. Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water as soon as possible after handling any cash, or use alcohol-based hand wipes or hand sanitiser, and avoid touching your face, eyes, mouth and nose

e. If you are giving change for shopping then leave it in an envelope in their shopping bag with their receipt

f. When leaving the shopping on the isolating person’s doorstep, ensuring they remain at a safe distance, and inform them that they should wash their hands after unpacking their shopping and handling their change

F - Cheque:

a. Arrange with the individual a ceiling price for the groceries. We advise that the maximum for payment by cheque is £30.00. If the volunteer has received a cheque from the client previously and there has been no issue they can, at their discretion, increase this limit.

b. Provide the client with details of who to make the cheque payable to.

c. When shopping has been completed contact the client to let them know how much it was. The client can then write out the cheque in preparation for the shopping being delivered.

3- The reimbursement of the payment to the volunteer

Any expenses, payments or costs, including fuel, that the volunteers incur when providing a service to the community will be fully reimbursed as explained in the Volunteer Expenses guidelines.

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