Volunteering and staying safe in a time of Covid19

Thursday 02-04-2020 - 14:52
Svn covid19 article

For the past few months we’ve all had to adapt our routines and lifestyles due to Covid19. We are going through something unprecedented and learning how to navigate this new reality, including how to work and volunteer from home.


The UK Student Volunteering Network has been working hard to continue to share information between all our members regarding what HEI and FEI are doing across the country, but also how we can support our students in getting involved in volunteering opportunities in response to Covid19 or any volunteering they might be able to do from home.


Our main priority is everyone’s safety and we have been sure to continue to share information regarding how to stay safe when volunteering and in general.


In this article we want to share some options to volunteer from home, mainly online.



Language Buddy: run online languages groups to help breaking the isolation barrier > SPEAK Social



Research Volunteers > Zooniverse



LibriVox volunteers: read and record chapters of books in the public domain > LibriVox



Online mentor for school children > Brightside



Various roles > UN Volunteers 



Transcribing online > Boston Public Library



Transcribing online  > Imperial War Museum



Mapping paths and routes for humanitarian organisations  > Missing Maps



FreeRice game players: play FreeRice and support the World Food Programme (WFP) work saving and changing lives around the world.



Work together to improve future generations of language technology > Phrase Detectives



Tagging wild animal sightings for conservation efforts > ZSL



Translating online > Translators without Borders



Providing visual assistance over video call > Be My Eyes






Volunteering Opportunities in response to Coronavirus


NHS Volunteer Responders has been set up to support the NHS during the COVID-19 outbreak. To do this the NHS needs an 'army' of volunteers who can support the 1.5m people in England who are at most risk from the virus to stay well. 

The main roles available are transport volunteers, for those who have their own cars, check in and chat volunteers for people who many be self-isolating, and community support volunteers. 

The NHS have a range of opportunities available and you can help by signing up




Find your local volunteer group, wherever you are in the UK




Covid Mutual Aid UK is a group of volunteers supporting local community groups organising mutual aid throughout the Covid-19 outbreak in the UK: Generalised roles in your local communities




The Felix Project: Roles for volunteer drivers, food collectors, support with sorting food



FareShare: Sorting food in warehouse, delivering food boxes



Octavia Foundation: Telephone befriending service



Age UK: Emergency appeal for food essentials and time (volunteers for food parcels project)



City Harvest: Warehouse volunteers and donations 



British Red Cross: Reserve volunteers, helping to get communities back on track



Chefs in Schools: Chefs, schools, donations and local volunteers to deliver meals to kids who would be getting free school meals






Guidance from us  

If you are volunteering on or off campus, particularly with individuals who are self-isolating, we recommend you follow the guidance issued by the NCVO:

Support family, friends and neighbours by phone or video call

  • Let family and friends know what you are doing and where you are going
  • Stay at least two metres or about three steps away from people you’re helping
  • Offer to run errands for people but stay outside of people’s homes
  • Keep washing your hands, often, for 20 seconds
  • Don’t take on too much as it’s often better not to offer at all than to let someone down
  • If you’re trying to help someone with very serious issues then don’t be afraid to flag with appropriate statutory services
  • If you are yourself a vulnerable individual, please take care and only engage in volunteering opportunities where you and the people around you are safe. 


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