Guidance for volunteers and voluntary groups

All voluntary groups and volunteers need to take precautions in line with the most up-to-date advice.

We’re no different and, for the welfare of all, we are changing our working practices. To avoid non-essential face-to-face meetings, we have closed our volunteer drop-in until further notice.

We are still open for business and will support you as much as we can remotely, by telephone and online.

Latest government guidance on volunteering

Where possible, people should volunteer from home. If they cannot do so, they can volunteer outside their home if they follow the social distancing guidance and no one in their household has symptoms of coronavirus or has tested positive for coronavirus.

Voluntary and charitable activities are exempt from a number of new restrictions (Lockdown 2.0). This means that where volunteers are able to volunteer outside their home they can:

• meet in groups of any size indoors or outdoors while volunteering
• travel to volunteer or while volunteering.

As always, it should be a volunteer’s personal choice whether they wish to volunteer, including outside their home, and they should not be compelled to do so by their organisation or group.

Volunteer-involving organisations must ensure their workplaces meet coronavirus safety standards.

People over the age of 60 and those who are clinically vulnerable do not face any specific restrictions on volunteering and should follow the same guidelines as above. However, as this group could be at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus, they may need additional support to follow social distancing rules and minimise contact with others.

There is a further group of people who are defined, on medical grounds, as clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) to coronavirus – that is, people with specific serious health conditions. Clinically extremely vulnerable people can volunteer from home; they are advised not to volunteer outside their home.

The Government is working on bringing forward the launch of planned new guidance for volunteer-involving organisations and groups. This guidance will help organisations and groups understand how to involve volunteers safely in their work during the coronavirus pandemic. We will publish a link to this as soon as it is available.

NCVO advice

The NCVO has published useful guidance on involving and managing volunteers during the coronavirus pandemic, which you can view here.

There is also a handy guide for individual volunteers, including how to prepare to be a volunteer during the pandemic and how to stay safe. Read that here.

Some of the key areas are:

• Hygiene measures
• Risk assessments
• Keeping people’s personal details safe
• Dealing with money
• Picking up prescriptions
• DBS checks and whether you need them

Victim Support

Victim Support have put some tips together to help keep you safe and to protect those you’re helping from fraudsters. You can read the leaflet here.