Can I volunteer?

While you’re out of work, you may want to consider volunteering. The call from the government for NHS volunteers received 750,000 applications. Many community-based projects and charities are also looking volunteers to help out during this period.

Why Volunteer?

 

Volunteering is an excellent way to keep your mind busy and focused. It can be a natural way to connect with others, which is one of the 5 Ways to Wellbeing. Volunteering can give you a variety of new skills, which can really expand your options once the employment market picks up again. Volunteering can build a network and make future contacts to help you to find employment; it can close CV gaps and give you great stories for your next interview.

 

How to Volunteer:

 

You can apply online or phone local organisations to find out if they’re recruiting. A DBS (criminal records check) may be needed for some roles. If you have a criminal record, try not to let this stand in your way – you may have moved on from that incident and it may have given you the compassion that is needed for someone during this time. Volunteers must be 18 or over, and for customer facing work, be fit and well with no coronavirus symptoms. Those in higher-risk groups (including those over 70, those who are pregnant or with underlying medical conditions) will be able to offer support by telephone. The government website has some information on volunteering here – Gov.Uk

 

What types of volunteering roles are currently available?

 

Community Response Volunteer: Involves collecting shopping, medication or other essential supplies for someone who is self-isolating, and delivering these supplies to their home.

 

Transport Volunteers: Supports the NHS by providing transport to patients who are medically fit for discharge, and ensuring they are settled safely back in to their home. Or transporting equipment, supplies and/or medication between NHS services and sites. The role may also involve assisting pharmacies with medication delivery.

 

Check In and Chat Volunteer: These roles provides short-term telephone support to individuals who are at risk of loneliness as a result of self-isolation. This can be done from your own home.

 

Who’s looking for volunteers?

 

The following organisations are a few examples of those looking for volunteers at the moment:

British Red Cross

Trussells Trust

Independent Age

Freedom for Torture

Age UK

Coopfoudation.org

British Heart Foundation

Hestia

Where can I get more information?

Try these volunteer websites:

Team London

COVID-19 Volunteering, Southwark

Do-It.org

NHS Responders

Reach Volunteering

Food Cycle

NCVO

 

Natalie Miller, Lead Employment Specialist

Natalie has worked as a career coach at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust for over 12 years and has a background in Social and Community Care. With 3 children as her main hobby, Natalie somehow manages to find time to have interests in interior decoration and design!