Volunteering to help those affected by COVID-19

If you are feeling well and have not knowingly had contact with anyone with Covid-19 you are able to leave your home to volunteer to provide essential services - the details of this exemption are being worked on by NCVO working with the Government and we will update when we know more.  In the first instance keep an eye on your neighbours and see if they need help, you can also sign up for to a number of groups helping coordinate volunteering locally.  CCVS have produced a  guide to keeping eveyone safe which looks at safeguarding and practical ideas on issues such as handling money and collecting prescriptions safely.

 COVID-19 coordination hub

Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council are now calling on people across the county to get in touch if they can volunteer their time to help others in a co-ordinated effort which will offer safe support and reassurance county and city wide. People can email CommunityCV@cambridgeshire.gov.uk.

The coordination hub - staffed by a range of council workers - will manage offers of help, thereby maximising support for communities, working alongside existing voluntary and community organisation partners.The hub will link those who volunteer, with over 70s and others who fall within the vulnerable groups listed by the Government, who have been advised to self-isolate.People will be matched with those who need help based on their skills, time and willingness.

The Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK group now has groups set up all over the UK with neighbour groups setting up under its umbrella using whatsapp and face book.  To find a local group or set one up see their webpage https://covidmutualaid.org/ They also have some useful guidance on safeguarding, risk assessment and data protection to keep everyone safe.  You can also contact us here at CCVS if you want to talk anything through enquiries@cambridgecvs.org.uk.  There are some useful short information films on safeguarding, tips on managing volunteers and things to consider when telephone befriending on the Support Cambridgeshire website https://www.supportcambridgeshire.org.uk/coronavirus/

Sign up as a Community Reserve Volunteer with the Red Cross https://reserves.redcross.org.uk/

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 nearby.

The national volunteer platform Do-it tas now launched a plafform for individuals looking to help and for groups looking for volunteers to offer support during this emergency. 

Reach Volunteering, which specialises in brokering skilled volunteer roles such as trustees, finance and HR is offering help to charities to find skilled volunteers to meet the unprecedented challenges they face.

National Care Force – was originally a brokerage platform matching healthcare workers to care homes but they are now matching anyone who wants to donate their time supporting care professionals

You might also be interested in Next door, a social media platform which allows you to interact with your neighbours

Volunteer for existing groups helping the vulnerable

Most local groups are in the process of looking at how they can adjust their services to meet need but also protect the people they work with as well as their own staff and volunteers.  There is work being done to try and build up a picture of what support these groups need and we will update this information when this happens.  In the meantime if you want to offer support to a particular group you could check out their website and drop them an email.

Foodbanks are continuing to operate you can find out more https://www.trusselltrust.org/get-involved/volunteer/

Age UK Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are looking for for volunteers to help with shopping, collecting prescriptions and may be a welfare phone callSign up here

Volunteer from home  Even if you need to stay at home you may still be able to volunteer.  For example, you could offer people a friendly listening ear on the phone, edit documents, manage social media or knit clothing for premature babies.

Stay safe when supporting others (NCVO guidance)

  1. Let family and friends know what you’re doing.
  2. Support family, friends and neighbours by phone or video call.
  3. Stay at least two metres - about three steps - away from people you’re helping.
  4. Offer to run errands for people but stay outside of people’s homes.
  5. Keep washing your hands often for 20 seconds.
  6. Don’t take on too much - it's often better not to offer at all than to let someone down.
  7. If you’re trying to help someone with very serious issues – don’t be afraid to flag with appropriate statutory services

You can watch a helpful video on How to keep safe volunteering 

CCVS is able to offer support around volunteering:

We run a Supported Volunteering project.


We can help you to become a volunteer


We can help you to recruit volunteers

We provide advice on managing volunteers