Team London

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Volunteering

Please note that we will be updating this page and volunteering opportunities regularly.

Supporting volunteering in London

We are aware of concerns about coronavirus (COVID-19) and how this may affect the voluntary sector and the people it supports. Below, we have provided information for volunteers wanting to help London's communities.

If you are a civil society organisation looking for guidance on supporting London's communities during the coronavirus outbreak, please visit our civil society support page.

How to volunteer safely

Londoners have always pulled together in tough times and there has already been a fantastic community response to coronavirus with lots of volunteering going on at a local level.

Below we've provided information on how you can safely support yourself and your community during this time. Please also read the government's guidance on restricted movement.

We've put together a list of remote volunteering opportunities by borough. We have also provided contact details for local volunteer centres who are coordinating activity at a borough level. Please read the guidance below before applying to volunteer.

Help others

The NCVO has advice on how you can volunteer to help and support others during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Support foodbanks and other food distribution organisations 

There are 2,000 foodbanks in London and they are now reporting a decrease in donations. They are encouraging communities to support local food banks if they are able to. Please consider the following:

  • Can you donate to your local foodbank?  
  • Can you make an online food delivery to a foodbank? 
  • Can you donate to a beauty bank to help people access soap? 

If you need help finding a foodbank near you use the Trussell Trust foodbank finder.

Stay in touch 

Some people may start to feel lonely as they spend more time self-distancing. Here are some ways to stay in touch with people: 

  • Can you call your neighbours or let them know you are available to talk on the phone? 
  • Could you volunteer as a telephone buddy? 
  • Can you video-call your older friends and relatives? 

Join a group 

There is lots of activity happening locally to help people who need support. Initiatives are being led by local councils, charities, volunteer centres, neighbourhood groups and local resident associations. Here are some places you can connect with local groups: 

  • Local voluntary sector responses: Volunteer centres, Council for Voluntary services (CVS) and local charities will have a good understanding of what initiatives are happening locally and where you can best support. Please search for your local volunteer centre via our listings page to see what's available in your area.
  • Mutual Aid groups: Neighbourhood level groups have been developed and are being led by volunteers. Please search for your local Mutual Aid groups to see what's available in your area.
  • Neighbourhood networks: There may be other local groups started by neighbours, councillors or MPs. A good place to find out about these are NextDoor, Facebook and Twitter. 
  • Support the NHS: We all need to be doing all we can to support the brave Londoners on the front line saving lives. Local authorities are already working with volunteer centres and local community groups to mobilise volunteers. Team London is working in partnership with London Councils and the Corporation of London to provide guidance and support on making this happen. Sign up to volunteer for the NHS.

Multi-lingual volunteers:

Do you speak a foreign language? Linguist-aid is connecting multi-lingual volunteers to local community groups, so you can support Londoners from home. They need your help to:  

  • translate leaflets, flyers and posters
  • interpret for vulnerable people
  • talk on the phone to people who feel isolated and speak little or no English

Stay safe

When you’re helping others, stay safe by using the following steps: 

  • Familiarise yourself with who may be most vulnerable (read our guidance below) 
  • Let family and friends know what you are doing 
  • Support family, friends and neighbours by phone or video call 
  • Stay at least two metres (around three steps) away from people
  • Keep washing your hands for 20 seconds at a time 

Sharing your private information safely 

Local volunteering often involves sharing your private information. Be careful of how you share your private information and other people’s private information. If you join a local group be mindful of what information you share.

Visit the NCVO website for more information about volunteering safely.

Guidelines from the NHS are updated regularly. Please check you are following the most recent advice when undertaking activities that might put you or others at risk.

Take care of yourself

This is a unique time and it's natural that in the weeks and months ahead the concern and anxiety we are all feeling about the virus might be amplified by the lack of social contact. The charity Mind has suggested a number different of ways to take care of your mental health and wellbeing:

  • Connect with people digitally, make plans to video chat with people you’d normally see in person 
  • Build physical activity in your daily routine such as dancing to music, cleaning your home and following online exercise workouts
  • If news stories make you feel anxious, think about switching off or limiting what you look at 
  • Plan a daily routine 
  • Find ways to relax and be creative at home 

Volunteering for furloughed charity workers

Are you an experienced charity worker who has been furloughed during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak? 

Time to Spare want to connect you with other charities and community groups so you can volunteer and share your skills.

General advice and guidance on coronavirus

Who might be more vulnerable? 

The government has identified some groups who are more at risk:

  • People over the age of 70 
  • People over the age of 18 who have a long-term health condition or a weakened immune system
  • Solid organ transplant recipients
  • People with specific cancers:
    • people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radical radiotherapy for lung cancer

    • people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment

    • people having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
      people having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors

    • people who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs

  • People with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD
  • People with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as SCID, homozygous sickle cell)
  • People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection.
  • Women who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired

Please visit the government website for more information.

Other groups who may also be more vulnerable in the current situation include: 

  • People who are non-UK nationals and who might be learning English and therefore not able to access the latest health advice. Please read our guidance on this
  • People who may already be lonely and/or socially isolated 

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