In this blog we look at the community volunteering and community mutual aid opportunities available for your staff to participate in.
(Note: This blog post is UK centric but community support opportunities in other regions will be covered in a later post)
In my recent blog posts, I discussed how we’ve seen the world of corporate volunteering quickly adapting to the Covid-19 crisis. Rather than employee volunteering programmes closing down, many CSR Managers are repurposing their programmes and harnessing their employee volunteering resources in the community response to the disease.
Last week I provided an overview of the types of virtual volunteering (where a person does volunteering without leaving their home) to help boost employee mental health as well provide assistance to those in need. However, many of us want to feel that we are making a difference where it means the most – in our local communities, right on our doorsteps. Due to this, we are seeing many corporates allowing employees to use their volunteering leave to do this. Below we provide a detailed list of the organisations and opportunities available for in-person community volunteering.
We are social distancing, can I still go out to volunteer in my local community?
Yes*. Although we are all advised to stay at home except for very limited exceptions, one of those limited exceptions is to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
You must also do so safely by following health, hygiene and safeguarding guidance.
*Based on official UK government guidance at the time of writing. Please ensure you check government guidance before you do any volunteering.
In what ways can I help?
There are lots of ways volunteers can support vulnerable people who need help. And remember, it’s not just about neighbours who are self-isolating or vulnerable – other people in the community who might also appreciate help include: stretched medical staff and volunteers, staff and volunteers in key worker roles, supermarket workers and delivery drivers.
Some of the ways volunteers are helping out include:
- helping with shopping and running errands
- collection or delivery of prescriptions and medication
- driving people to/from health appointments or other essential appointments
- helping to organise food deliveries from food banks and/or supermarkets
- walking pets
Where can I find local volunteering opportunities?
The following resources provide links to over 6000 groups and charities that are currently providing support to local communities across the UK?
Each link below contains a huge amount of local, geographically dispersed organisations and opportunities your staff could avail of – so I hope you get value from this list we have compiled. I’d like to thank our staff for the huge amount of research that has gone into this! As always, if you have other resources to share, please email me (email@example.com) or comment below.
COMMUNITY SUPPORT/HELPING HAND
- Our research has shown over 4000 Mutual Aid groups have been set up around the UK to help co-ordinate local community support. The best central resource cataloging all these groups is: https://covidmutualaid.org/
- A matching service between those offering assistance and those needing assistance. There are many amazing possibilities here! https://localhelpers.org/
- A network of almost 1300 Foodbanks requiring extra assistance during the Covid-19 crisis. Find your local Foodbank here: https://www.trusselltrust.org/get-involved/volunteer/
- A network of over 800 independent Foodbanks. Find your local foodbank here: https://www.foodaidnetwork.org.uk/our-members
- The NHS Voluntary Responders programme: https://www.goodsamapp.org/NHS
- Become a Community Reserve Volunteer with the Red Cross: https://reserves.redcross.org.uk/
- Community & Voluntary Services (CVSs) are organisations that support local networks of charities as well as organising their own volunteering. To find a CVS in your local area, their membership organisation NAVCA has a search tool on its website: https://navca.org.uk/find-a-member-1
- Your local Volunteer Centre will help you find the right volunteering opportunity for you: https://www.ncvo.org.uk/ncvo-volunteering/find-a-volunteer-centre
- Hands on London (London specific) – a charity supporting local Homeless Shelters, Soup Kitchens, Food Banks, Older People’s projects, Children’s Centres across London: https://www.handsonlondon.org.uk/about-us/
If none of these suit, or you can’t find an organisation close to you, you can always do things your own way by looking out for vulnerable neighbours and relatives, or put fliers through doors offering your assistance.
Finally, Make Sure You Capture Your Employee Volunteering & Recognise Individual Efforts
It is important to track what your employees are doing in their local community. HR/Health and Safety is one reason, and the other is so you can follow the amazing work they are doing and feed that back into the organization (photos or short feedback snippets are great) to encourage more and more of your staff to get involved.
Stay safe and we hope this helps!