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There’s been lots of interest in volunteering at the moment – but also concern about how to stay safe. To help you make an informed choice about your volunteering, we’ve gathered up the latest advice here.

Virtual volunteering

Firstly, there’s lots of volunteering you can do without leaving your home – such as online or telephone befriending, online support for young people, or digital citizen science activities like Zooniverse.

Helping your neighbours

We’ve also seen lots of informal mutual aid groups pop up across the UK – you can find a list via our ‘helping your neighbours’ page. If you’re outside the UK, there may well be something similar near where you live.

If you are involved in this sort of informal volunteering, please make sure you’re following current guidelines on social distancing. Also:

  • Let family and friends know what you’re doing.
  • Support family, friends and neighbours by phone or video call.
  • Stay at least two metres - 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 - 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 – don’t be afraid to flag with appropriate statutory services.

(Source - NCVO)

Formal volunteering

Many charities have stopped activities to help slow the spread of COVID-19. There are still some face-to-face opportunities going on, including local response teams and the NHS responders scheme.

For these roles, it’s important that you follow the instructions of your volunteering manager – they will have risk assessed your activity to make sure you can do it as safely as possible. If you’re unsure or unhappy about anything, let them know – or get in touch with us at the Volunteering Service.

British Red Cross training

The British Red Cross have created some useful online training to help volunteers responding to COVID-19. If you are planning to volunteer - even informally - then we’d recommend you complete this training.

Advice if you’re at increased risk from COVID-19

If you’re over 70, pregnant, or have an underlying health condition you should not take part in face-to-face volunteering. Virtual volunteering still remains an option.

If you can’t find some suitable volunteering

We are regularly updating our directory with new opportunities - sign up to our weekly newsletter to hear about these.

If you’re a UCL member of staff

You’re welcome to browse our directory of volunteering opportunities. You can also look for opportunities to volunteer within UCL, or see what’s available at the UCL Supporting the national effort webpage.

We’re working with the Engagement Team in UCL Culture and UCL Organisational Development on the ‘Listen & Respond’ initiative - we anticipate that this will create new opportunities for staff to support London’s voluntary & community sector. We’ll be announcing progress through the daily UCL coronavirus updates.

We’re here to help

You can view all of our current volunteering opportunities on our online directory. And feel free to contact us about any aspects of your volunteering – just drop us a line at volunteering@ucl.ac.uk

Links

COVID-19 Volunteering opportunities