Ways to volunteer during Covid-19

18 March 2020

Volunteer Scotland is working closely with the third and public sector to support a joined-up response to COVID-19. Here's some advice on how you can volunteer.

ways to covid

Updated: 24/03/20

As of 23 March 2020 the government introduced 3 new measures:  

  1. Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes
  2. Closing non-essential shops and community spaces
  3. Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public

Every citizen must comply with these measures effective immediately. 

What does this mean for volunteering? 

Only services which are essential should be provided in communities. Volunteers should be encouraged to look out for their neighbours. Please ensure you heed all relevant advice around staying safe and keeping others around you safe.  

Before considering volunteering ask yourself – am I well enough to volunteer?

It’s critically important that you consider your safety and that of others at this time. NHS inform provides guidance on when to self-isolate and on how best to avoid COVID-19, at home and in other places.

If you are well enough and wish to volunteer, there are a number of ways in which you may be able to help:

  • Ready Scotland have provided guidance and advice on helping in your community. Including information on connecting with your neighbours and providing practical help and emotional support. 
  • Yootoo app is aimed at providing support for those caring for a loved one. The app was developed in partnership with Fife Council and will be free to use during the current coronavirus crisis.
  • You can contact and register with your local Volunteer Centre. They should be able to direct you to which opportunities are needed most in your local area and can be conducted safely at that time. 
  • You can also utilise our volunteer search. Please note, some opportunities may still be published but may not be compatible with Covid-19 restrictions. We've featured opportunities around Covid-19 and online volunteering.  
  • Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland are appealing for Kindness Volunteers. Various roles available including 'Kindness Callers' which requires you to provide regular calls to people who are worried, scared or lonely because of self-isolation. Role details and information available here.
  • Finally, you can still volunteer from your home. See our blog article on online volunteering for details. 

Remember

We expect volunteering to change during Covid-19 with volunteering opportunities unable to be conducted whilst other roles increase in demand. There is also a groundswell of informal volunteering support and neighbourliness at this time. 

It’s important to note that not all volunteers who contact services will be assigned to a role. Volunteer Centres and organisations are expecting a large volume of enquiries from people looking to help out and they may not be able to meet this demand. 

Do not assume that someone needs help or call directly to someone’s house unannounced, as some people may be very anxious, particularly if they have a medical condition or are living alone.

Someone may ask for something you can’t do? In this case you should let the person know that you cannot help and recommend that the local Volunteer Centre may be able to help in finding a solution.

And finally, don’t be discouraged if suitable roles don’t arise immediately as the response to this crisis will grow over time and the role volunteering plays in that response will likely grow too.