23
Apr

Volunteering: How can you help?

In Features

Our VP Activities and Volunteering and Fundraising Officer have put together a list of ways you can volunteer during this crisis, while still maintaining social distancing. Volunteering can be a great way to feel productive and make yourself socialise if you’re feeling lonely. But, there is absolutely no requirement or moral pressure to volunteer if you do not have the emotional, mental or physical capacity to do so. You’re allowed to use this time just for you, and staying inside will help lots of people too!

Follow Government advice at all times

No matter what volunteering you are doing make sure to follow the government’s advice at all time and take sensible precautions to keep yourself safe.

This includes:

  • Staying at least two metres (around three steps) away from people.
  • Washing your hands with soap and water regularly for 20 seconds each time.
  • Stop volunteering if you start showing symptoms such as a new persistent cough or a fever (full NHS symptoms advice on link below).

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations also has some good advice on staying safe.

Volunteering Opportunities

Join a group

There’s lots of activity happening locally to help people who need support. Initiatives are being led by local councils, charities, volunteer centres, neighbourhood groups and local resident associations.

Local voluntary sector responses

Volunteer centres, Council for Voluntary services (CVS) and local charities will have a good understanding of what initiatives are happening locally and where you can best help.

Mutual Aid groups

Neighbourhood-level groups have been developed and are being led by volunteers. You can search for one local to you at covidmutualaid.org.

Neighbourhood networks 

There may be other local groups started by neighbours, councillors or MPs. You can find out about these on Facebook and Twitter. Nextdoor may also have information on what’s happening in your local area.

These groups may request things such as your phone number to coordinate volunteers, only share personal information if you feel comfortable doing so.

Support foodbanks and other food distribution organisations

Foodbanks are always important but even more so now. You can help a food bank in many ways whether it be donating goods or volunteering for them to help run it.

Trussell Trust run food banks across the country and have set up a scheme to match volunteers to their local food banks, you can search on the link to find your nearest one and if you can help.

This is just one example but there be many others in your area, so it is a good idea to search for more online.

Stay in touch

It may seem simple but in this time of a lot of people may begin to feel lonely, something as simple as a phone call or video chat can make a real difference.

Can you call your neighbours or let them know you are available to talk on the phone? 

Can you video-call your older friends and relatives? 

There may also be charities or other organisations with opportunities to volunteer to talk on the phone to other people that may not have family or friends to speak to. However some of these organisations have been inundated with applications and have had to close them for now.

NHS

Currently the NHS has suspended taking applications to the scheme the government announced to process the enormous amount of applications they have received; this may reopen in the future.

Take care of yourself

Whilst is it amazing that people are so willing to help each other it is important to take care of yourself. Please also make use of the support services available and keep in touch with your friends and family.

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