Coronavirus: Advice for your organisation 


Volunteering and coronavirus: How you can help

Volunteering and coronavirus – how can you help?

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

If possible, volunteer from home

If you can, you should volunteer from home. You may have neighbours who are shielding, self-isolating or socially distancing from others. Look out for your neighbours and offer help with shopping and other errands where you can socially distance and keep yourself well while helping others.

You could also volunteer via the phone or online. For example, you could befriend those who are isolated, offering reassurance and sharing official information, such as from the governmentNHS or Public Health England.

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.

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 need to leave home to volunteer, you should be tested twice a week, even if you don’t have symptoms.
  5. If you’re trying to help someone with very serious issues – don’t be afraid to flag with appropriate statutory services.
  6. Support family, friends and neighbours by phone or video call.
  7. Offer to run errands for people but stay outside of people’s homes.
  8. Let family and friends know what you’re doing.
  9. 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

Volunteers are needed urgently to help with mass testing and vaccination centres. 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.
  • Sign up to volunteer with Royal Voluntary Service as a NHS volunteer responder to support the NHS during the covid-19 outbreak. There are different roles available including befriending, stewarding at vaccination centres, and helping with patient support.  

Other ways to help charities

All charities continue to be stretched by the pandemic. Lots of fundraising events that would’ve taken place have been cancelled. At the same time, many people who usually volunteer outside of their home may now choose to wait until the lockdown is over. Some may be able to volunteer from home, others won’t and this will affect how charities and community groups abilities to help communities in need.

The best thing to do is to keep supporting the causes you care about. The British public are incredibly generous and we really need your help to keep our work going. Any support you can give, 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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