HOW TO VOLUNTEER DURING THE COVID-19 CRISIS
There’s no denying that life under lockdown is strange and lonely but even though we may be apart (at least two metres, you know the rules), people are finding ways to come together and support the most vulnerable by volunteering. From national appeals to local community aid groups, there are so many ways for you to help people in isolation through the crisis, whether it’s delivering supplies or picking up the phone and having a chat. Food distribution charities City Harvest and FareShare need help in getting their food to vulnerable people, and here are just a few more ways you can get involved…
NHS Volunteer Responders
After asking retired medical professionals to return to work to help fight the coronavirus outbreak, the government has also put out a call for 250,000 volunteers to support the NHS. You can apply to be a community response volunteer, collecting and delivering supplies for those in isolation; a patient transport volunteer, helping patients who are discharged get home and settled; an NHS transport volunteer, to assist with delivery of medical supplies; and a check-in and chat volunteer, to provide support for those experiencing loneliness as a result of isolation. All the sign-up deets are here.
Adopt Your Local Health Worker
The NHS staff, from the doctors, nurses and paramedics through to the porters and cleaners, are on the front line fighting the coronavirus outbreak. You can give back to them by offering to help with simple tasks, like getting groceries or giving lifts to work. Check here for any local health care workers that need help and see what you can do.
onHand is online volunteer platform that helps to match DBS-checked volunteers with people across London who need help with errands. Now they are focusing on doorstep deliveries of food and medical supplies to vulnerable people and those who a self-isolating. They are also currently waiving all costs and asking for donations to help cover DBS checks and staff the phones taking requests. More info here.
Made in Hackney
Community cookery school Made in Hackney launched an emergency COVID-19 appeal to help them cook and deliver meals to those in need. They’ve partnered with Angelina in Dalston to ensure that the preparation of the food follows the strictest hygiene standards but they still need volutneers to help process the massive wholesale food deliveries coming in to Angelina and to help brief about hygiene protocols and clean the cycle couriers bikes. If you’re interested, you can email volunteer manager Khin.
As well as baking breads and pastries for the general public, GAIL’s is supplying charities and front line NHS teams with fresh food, and they need more help to get it where it needs to be. If you want to lend a hand, drop them an email.
Cook-19 is a new initiative providing cooked meals to NHS key workers who are isolated or unable to cook for themselves. The team collects donations which are then turned into hampers and meals and delivered by volunteers. They need more professional chefs as well as more volunteer drivers and packers, so head here for more info.
National Care Force
The National Care Force is a nationwide network of people ready and able to support social care services to help look after the vulnerable. They are particularly looking for people from the following professions – police, teacher, dental worker, veterinary worker and St John Ambulance or Red Cross volunteers – as you will already be DBS checked. Also if you’re a qualified healthcare worker or registered care provider you should get in touch. More info here.
Re-engage is a charity that helps tackle loneliness amongst older people and given that so many people are isolated because of the virus outbreak, they need more volunteers to become call companions. If you want to get involved with the telephone befriending service, there’s more info on how to do so here.
Heather Wellbeing is a mental health initiative that’s aiming to provide a minimum of six free therapy sessions to NHS frontline staff fighting coronavirus, to help alleviate some of the strain they are under during the pandemic. If you’re an experienced mental health therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, nurse or counsellor you can volunteer to take sessions, and if you’ve got tech, web development, design and video skills, you can also pitch in with help. There’s more info on how here.
A Plate For London
Non-profit initiative A Plate For London, set up by Street Feast founder Dominic Cools-Lartigue, is supplying food parcels and hot meals to Londoners in need, including children who rely on free school meals and those who have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic. There a lots of volunteer positions available, head here for more info.