Coronavirus (COVID-19) volunteering; some guidance from the Government on what you can (and can’t do)

26 November 2020

National restrictions began in England from 5 November (until 2nd December). 

Find out about the new restrictions and what you can and cannot do.

If you want to volunteer during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, you can do this:

  • from home, for example by working on a telephone support helpline
  • outside your home, for example by delivering food and medicine
  • in a workplace, for example an office

This guidance is for volunteers in England.

Volunteering from home

Anyone can volunteer from home. This is the safest way to protect yourself and others during the winter.

Volunteering outside your home

You can volunteer outside your home if:

If you are volunteering in a workplace, it should meet coronavirus safety standards.

If you’re over 60 or clinically vulnerable you should follow the same guidelines as above. You should be especially careful to follow social distancing guidelines guidance and minimise your contacts with others.

If you’re clinically extremely vulnerable

If you’re clinically extremely vulnerable, you can volunteer from home. You’re advised to not volunteer outside your home.

If you have coronavirus symptoms

Do not volunteer outside your home if you have coronavirus symptoms or if you have tested positive for coronavirus.

You must self-isolate for at least 10 days from the date you started having symptoms or from the day you tested positive – whichever is the latest.

If you are self-isolating:

  • you cannot leave home (or the place where you are self-isolating) to volunteer
  • your volunteer organisation should not ask you to leave home (or the place where you are self-isolating)

Volunteering with others

While volunteering, you can meet in groups of any size from different households, indoors or outdoors.

When meeting people from outside your household or support bubble, you should follow social distancing guidelines.

Travelling to volunteer or while volunteering

You are allowed to travel in order to volunteer or while volunteering.

You should walk or cycle where possible. If you need to use public transport, avoid busy times and routes and follow the safer travel guidance. This includes the travel rules on social distancing, wearing face coverings and advice on car sharing.

Wearing face coverings while volunteering

You must wear a face covering by law in some public places unless you have a reasonable excuse for not wearing one. For example, if you have an illness, impairment or a disability.

Staff and volunteers in retail, hospitality and leisure settings must also wear a face covering.

You should also wear a face covering indoors if you will be in:

  • an enclosed public space
  • a place where you cannot stay 1 metre apart from other people
  • a place where you will come into contact with people you do not usually meet

Ways to volunteer

You can:

  • shop for food and medicine (online, or in person)
  • deliver food and medicine
  • help with food banks and homeless services
  • work on a telephone support helpline

To apply, volunteer through your local council. Find your council’s website and search for information about volunteering during coronavirus.

You can also apply to volunteer through a charity or organisation.

Volunteer to help the NHS

If you want to help the NHS as a general volunteer, apply for the NHS volunteer responder scheme. You’ll need to check the scheme is recruiting in your area.

To volunteer in a hospital, including if you’re a doctor or nurse, contact your local hospital trust.

If you want to give blood, read the guidance about donating blood during the coronavirus pandemic.

If you want to take part in a research study for a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine, sign up for the NHS COVID-19 vaccine research registry. An NHS-approved researcher will contact you once you have signed up. They will tell you about studies you can volunteer for, and you can decide if you want to take part.

For the full and up to date guidance click here

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