Coronavirus: Advice for your organisation 


Volunteering and coronavirus: How you can help

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Volunteering and coronavirus – how can you help?

Here’s how you can volunteer to help and support others during the coronavirus (covid-19) pandemic.

Look out for your neighbours

The simplest thing everyone can do right now is look out for their neighbours and offer help with shopping and other errands. If you must stay at home but feel well enough to help, you can volunteer remotely, for example to befriend people who are isolated people or share official information, such as from the government, NHS or Public Health England, by telephone or online. 

It's not just about neighbours who are shielding, self-isolating or physically distancing from others. Other people in the community who might also appreciate help are:

  • stretched medical staff and volunteers
  • staff and volunteers in key worker roles
  • supermarket workers
  • delivery drivers.

Remember it’s a marathon not a sprint – your help will be even more crucial in a few weeks' time. For now, the best thing to do is to check in on neighbours.

Stay safe when supporting others

  1. Only volunteer if you feel well enough and are not shielding, self-isolating or in a high-risk group. 
  2. Keep washing your hands often for 20 seconds.
  3. Stay at least 2m – about three steps – away from people you’re helping. Where 2m is not possible, stay at least 1m apart with precautions.
  4. If you’re trying to help someone with very serious issues – don’t be afraid to flag with appropriate statutory services.
  5. Support family, friends and neighbours by phone or video call.
  6. Offer to run errands for people but stay outside of people’s homes.
  7. Let family and friends know what you’re doing.
  8. Don’t take on too much - it's often better not to offer at all than to let someone down.

Preparing to volunteer

Volunteer with organisations providing support

There’ll be more information on the best opportunities to volunteer in the coming days. Charities are working with the government and local authorities to create ways for people to get involved.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • If you don’t have a particular charity you want to support in your local area, contact your local Volunteer Centre, CVS or visit the Do-it website. They can help you find out where your help is most urgently needed.
  • You can sign up to NHS Volunteer Responders who are supporting the NHS during the covid-19 outbreak. This is to support the 1.5m people in England at most risk from the virus to stay well. Once you've registered and checks are complete – you'll be provided a log-in to the GoodSAM Responder app. Switch the app to 'on duty' and you'll see live and local volunteer tasks to pick from near you.

Other ways to help charities

All charities are going to be stretched. Lots of fundraising events that would’ve taken place have been cancelled. At the same time, many people who volunteer may not be able to - especially if they’re being advised to stay at home.

The best thing to do is keep supporting the causes you care about. The British public are incredibly generous and we really need their help to keep our work going. Any support you can give them, including as a volunteer or trustee would be incredibly valuable.

How organisations can support charities

There are many ways your organisation can support charities. Whether your furloughed staff want to volunteer or you want to donate to the covid-19 response, take a look at Volunteering Matters, Helpforce Assist, British Red Cross and Business in the Community.

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