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How you can safely help vulnerable people during the coronavirus pandemic.

First published:
30 March 2020
Last updated:

Can I do voluntary work under the new staying safe and social distancing rules?

Yes, you can – the new rules allow you to go out to provide care or help to a vulnerable person, including emergency help. This includes getting food and medicines for them.

But it is really important you do not put yourself or the person you are caring for at risk. You should always observe the 2m rule and strict handwashing guidance.

Anyone who has symptoms or is self-isolating should stay at home – but they can still volunteer by taking part in home-based phone or social media befriending schemes. 

There many opportunities to volunteer if you are staying at home. Many County Voluntary Councils and volunteer groups are looking for people to befriend people over the phone through a regular phone call.

Register and find ways to help at Volunteering Wales.

How do I protect myself and others while I’m volunteering?

You should only volunteer if you’re feeling well and do not have any symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature and a new and persistent cough).

No one should be put under pressure to volunteer. The advice for individuals who are extremely vulnerable and previously shielding or in an ‘at increased risk group’ who have decided to volunteer is to strictly follow social distancing guidance. 

If you are able to volunteer to deliver shopping or medicines to a friend or a neighbour please do not put yourself or the person you are caring for at risk. You should always observe the 2m rule and strict handwashing guidance.

Get detailed guidance to help safely from Wales Council for Voluntary Action.

Can I volunteer if I’m self-isolating or staying at home?

Not all volunteering opportunities involve going outside. One of the most important things you can do during the coronavirus pandemic is to stay in touch with other people.

While you are staying at home, you can help people by volunteering to make calls, either over the phone or via social media. A ‘hello’ or check-in over the phone can be really important, but please stay safe on social media.

There many opportunities to volunteer while staying at home. Many County Voluntary Councils and volunteer groups are looking for people to befriend vulnerably people who feel isolated over the phone through a regular phone call. You can also help by coordinating volunteers who want to be a telephone befriender.

I’m in an at risk group and don’t have any family to help me. Can I get help from a volunteer?

If your friends or neighbours are not able to help, please contact your local volunteer centre (County Voluntary Council) for help and advice.

My organisation needs volunteers, what should I do?

If you need volunteers to help with coronavirus-related response, you can register on Volunteering Wales and start adding and offering your own opportunities.

Contact your local county voluntary council (CVC) for support and guidance about organising volunteer activities.

Is the Welsh Government providing extra support for volunteers during the pandemic?

The Welsh Government has announced a fund of £24 million to support Wales’ voluntary sector in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Welsh Government Third Sector Covid-19 Response Fund will support volunteers and groups, which coordinate volunteer action across Wales. This includes additional support for your local volunteer centre (County Voluntary Council).
The funding will provide immediate support for Wales’ most vulnerable and help coordinate the thousands of volunteers who want to help others during the current crisis.

A further £15 million will ensure people in Wales who not able to leave their homes are able to get direct deliveries of food and other essential items to their door. There are approximately 75,000 people in Wales identified as being at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus.

Does Wales have enough volunteers?

We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the people from across Wales who want to support the NHS, their local services and their communities during this very difficult time.

People have been offering their time to help others and businesses have been offering their company resources, buildings and even entire production lines to support Wales’ response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Since March 1, more than 19,000 new volunteers have signed up via the County Voluntary Council (CVC) and Volunteering Wales websites.

We will continue to need the help of volunteers as move out of lockdown and so our message if you are a volunteer is keep volunteering; if you have registered on Volunteering Wales but haven’t heard back yet then please be patient, you could still be needed in the months ahead. And of course if you still want to volunteer but haven’t had a chance yet then now is the time to register, search and apply on the Volunteering Wales website. We are grateful everyone’s help and support.

How can I volunteer?

You can register as a volunteer on Volunteering Wales.

Volunteers should expect there to be some kind of application process and may be asked to sign up to a code of conduct by the organisation.

What if I need to use my own car?

In most circumstances, out-of-pocket mileage expenses will be refunded but this will depend on what volunteer work you are doing.

What are the restrictions on volunteering?

Some volunteer roles may require a background check. Other roles may require an enhanced DBS check – where these checks are needed, they should be clearly identified.

Can volunteers help in social care?

Yes. There is helpful guidance available for social care services and organisations on how to maximise volunteer support at this time. It includes advice on adapting roles, recruiting new volunteers safely and key information you need to know about volunteering with vulnerable people.