Advice for volunteers

In this section:

  1. Sign up as a volunteer
  2. How to stay safe when volunteering
  3. How to keep others safe
  4. DBS checks
  5. Delivering supplies
  6. Prescriptions
  7. Handling money
  8. Sources of support and information - this includes information about how you can become a volunteer
  9. How we use and store your personal data
  10. What to do if you are worried about someone (safeguarding)

If you are a volunteer, the most important thing is to make sure you're following the latest government guidelines for staying safe and preventing further spread of the virus

Many volunteering organisations will only take on volunteers who are aged over 18 years old

How to stay safe when volunteering

When you're volunteering:

  • let family and friends know where you are and what you’re doing
  • support people by phone or video call where possible
  • stay at least two metres (about three steps) away from the person you’re helping
  • offer to run errands for people, but stay outside of their homes
  • keep washing your hands often and for 20 seconds - particularly before and after each visit or activity
  • don’t take on too much - it's often better not to offer at all than to let someone down
  • if you’re trying to help someone with very serious issues, let the appropriate statutory services know - the police, NHS, school or social services, for example

How to keep others safe

To prevent the spread of infection, please do not volunteer if:

Also, please do not volunteer if you or someone you live with has an underlying health condition, including:

  • long term respiratory diseases – for example asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • long-term heart disease – for example heart failure
  • kidney disease
  • liver disease - for example hepatitis
  • neurological conditions – for example Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis, a learning disability, or cerebral palsy
  • diabetes
  • problems with your spleen - for example sickle cell disease or your spleen has been removed
  • weakened immune system - as a result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
  • seriously overweight (body mass index of 40+)
  • pregnancy

If the above do not apply, always follow good hand washing and respiratory hygiene:

  • Wash your hands often, for at least 20 seconds - if you can't use soap and water, use a hand sanitiser.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who have symptoms.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with tissues, throw the used tissue in a bin and wash your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect objects that are touched regularly,and surfaces such as door handles.

Also, avoid physical contact while volunteering:

  • Avoid going into someone’s home.
  • Avoid face to face conversations, where possible.
  • If conversations are an important part of the support your offering, make sure you stay more than two metres away from the person. 
  • If you are indoors, limit conversations to less than 15 minutes.
  • If you're volunteering in a room for a long time, open a window if you can.
  • If you're making a delivery, leave it on their doorstep and knock / ring the bell.
  • Wash your hands before and after each interaction, or use a hand sanitiser if that's not possible.
  • Ask the person you are helping to wash their hands, too (particularly after they've had a home delivery).

If you think you have come into contact with someone with COVID-19 symptoms through your volunteering, please follow NHS advice.  Also, tell someone in your organisation that your situation has changed. 

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