Volunteering during the Covid-19 crisis really will make a difference. There's so many ways to get involved, and it is really worth doing, especially if you're finding yourself at a loose end. You'll learn invaluable life skills whilst helping those who really do need support at this time. You could find roles varying from telephone support to driving food to get it where it's needed, picking up prescriptions to helping in warehouses. Whatever you do, it will be helping the vulnerable and strained when they most need it.
Lots of organisations have put applications on hold, due to the vast amount they have already received, but if you can't find an opportunity from the list below, please keep on checking frequently, and why not do something to help those you know need support in your community in the meantime!
If you are wanting to contribute to the volunteering effort against Covid-19, there are many opportunities both within larger national networks in the UK and smaller, community-based organisations. Have a look at some of these sites to see if any of the roles and locations suit you! Although a few of these opportunities are now put on hold due to a large number of applications, please keep checking as there will quite possibly be more need for volunteers in the next few months, even after we are out of lockdown.
REMEMBER – even if you can’t find a volunteering opportunity that suits you, there’s always something you can do independently. If you know any people at risk, or who are isolated, or under strain from the Covid-19 crisis (such as key workers), see if you can help get them supplies, prescriptions, or help with any jobs they need doing, all while adhering to NHS and Government advice for staying safe. Don’t underestimate the benefits of even just checking in with people you know who may be feeling lonely or under strain over the phone or by email.
NHS Volunteer Responders
A call went out at the end of March for NHS Response Volunteers to carry out tasks such as
delivering medicines from pharmacies
driving patients to appointments
bringing them home from hospital
or making regular phone calls to check on people isolating at home
Although applications have now been temporarily halted due to a large number of volunteers, it’s definitely worth keeping an eye out for possible further opportunities after they’ve been processed - https://www.goodsamapp.org/NHS
Red Cross Community Reserve Volunteers (18+)
An opportunity to help in your local community after a major emergency; you could be called on to help during and/or in the aftermath of the Covid-19 crisis, providing support to those who need it. No specialist skills needed, and training will be provided at the scene.
Sign up at: https://reserves.redcross.org.uk/
FareShare distributes good quality surplus food from the food industry to charities and groups that need it throughout the UK – this is especially important at the moment with so many people isolated or at risk that need supplies.
Roles include among others:
drivers (and assistants)
If there is not a base near you, you can also explore roles such as being a social media ambassador.
Check it out! https://fareshare.org.uk/volunteer/
Looking for a local volunteer-led community support group
Many communities throughout the UK have their own community support groups run by volunteers to get supplies to the vulnerable and isolated, as well as providing a source of emotional support. It’s always worth searching social media sites such as Facebook for groups, and Covid-19 Mutual Aid (https://covidmutualaid.org/) is a volunteer-led organisation designed to help coordinate and share resources with community support groups all over the UK. You can also search for nearby support groups on its website.
Also try the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Volunteering & Mutual Aid Directory https://www.coronavolunteer.org/
You can search for regional volunteer organisations at Volunteering Matters (https://volunteeringmatters.org.uk/want-to-volunteer-and-help-communities-respond-to-coronavirus/) and the National Association for Voluntary and Community Action (https://navca.org.uk/find-a-member-1)
(e.g. for those who live in Cornwall, head to https://www.volunteercornwall.org.uk/covid19-volunteers/coronavirus-volunteers)
Sign up with Do-It (https://doit.life/home) and browse volunteering opportunities in your local area.
A skill-based volunteering platform where those with three or more years of professional experience can help support charities, often in flexible arrangements that suit them best.
“We support a nationwide network of food banks and together we provide emergency food and support to people locked in poverty, and campaign for change to end the need for food banks in the UK.”
Coronavirus means that there are lots more vulnerable people to feed who can’t leave their homes, as well as more people struggling financially to afford basic food supplies. Roles include food delivery and collection drivers, and warehouse assistants among others. Use the search bar on the website to find your local food bank and ways you can help support it!