You can volunteer during coronavirus (COVID-19) with an organisation or group. You can also help people in your local area by doing things like picking up shopping or medicines.
This guidance is for volunteers in England. There’s different guidance on:
If you run an organisation or group, or manage volunteers, find out how to involve volunteers safely.
Where you can volunteer
You can volunteer:
- from home
- from outside your home
- in a workplace
Do not volunteer outside your home if you:
- have COVID-19 symptoms (including mild symptoms) or a positive test
- are told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app
- are self-isolating after travelling abroad
- are self-isolating for any other reason
If you’re volunteering in a workplace or someone else’s home, you should follow guidance on working safely during COVID-19.
If you’re at high risk from COVID-19
You should follow the same guidance as everyone else, if you’re at high risk from COVID-19 (clinically extremely vulnerable). This means that you can volunteer outside your home.
However, you may want to take extra steps to protect yourself. For example, you could reduce:
- your social interactions
- the time you spend in places that are crowded and do not have good ventilation
If you need to self-isolate
You must self-isolate if you:
- test positive for COVID-19
- have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace
You need to self-isolate from the date you started having symptoms or from the day you tested positive and for the next 10 full days - whichever is the latest.
If you’re self-isolating your volunteer organisation should not ask you to leave home.
If you’re fully vaccinated or under 18, you do not need to self-isolate after close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
If you develop any COVID-19 symptoms, self-isolate and get a PCR test.
If you need to travel as a volunteer
There are no restrictions on travel within England. There are however still steps you can take to stay safe and protect others while travelling.
There may be travel restrictions in other parts of the UK, check the:
Before volunteering abroad, you should check:
- guidance on international travel
- if the country you’re going to is accepting travellers and volunteers
- if your volunteering role is exempt from travel restrictions
- the rules you must follow when you return to England
If you’re on furlough
If you’re put on furlough by your employer, you can volunteer for another organisation during your furlough hours.
You cannot volunteer for:
- your own employer
- an organisation linked to your employer, where your voluntary work makes money for, or provide services to, your employer
If you’re claiming benefits
You can volunteer during COVID-19 and still receive your benefits, as long as you continue to meet the conditions of your benefit.