© Crown copyright 2020
This publication is licensed under the terms of the Open Government Licence v3.0 except where otherwise stated. To view this licence, visit nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/3 or write to the Information Policy Team, The National Archives, Kew, London TW9 4DU, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where we have identified any third party copyright information you will need to obtain permission from the copyright holders concerned.
This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-how-to-help-safely--2/coronavirus-how-to-help-safely
The most important thing you can do to fight coronavirus is to stay alert and safe by maintaining social distancing. This will help control the virus and save lives.
Whether you choose to volunteer will depend on the type of activities you would like to do, and the risks associated with that for you as an individual. We recommend that you check guidance on how to manage the risk of coronavirus before you volunteer. If you volunteer via an organisation you should also contact them for advice on if it is safe for you to volunteer.
When volunteering you should follow health and safety guidance, using safety measures appropriate to the risk.
This guidance is for volunteers who wish to volunteer in England. Volunteers should check with their local authority to find the latest information about local restrictions.
If you live in Scotland, go to Ready Scotland for the latest information.
If you live in Northern Ireland, go to NI Direct for the latest information.
You can find coronavirus (COVID-19) volunteering opportunities in Volunteer placements, rights and expenses
1. Stay safe as a volunteer
If you are providing voluntary services, you must follow the Government’s stay alert and safe (social distancing) guidance. If you do not follow this advice, you could put yourself at risk of infection, or risk spreading it to others.
If you or someone in your household starts to show symptoms, or if you are at high risk of severe symptoms yourself, then you must stay at home.
If you are volunteering through a voluntary or community group, contact that organisation for advice on how you can stay safe.
Please check your local council’s website for any specific rules to follow when helping in your local area.
Further guidelines on staying safe can be found on staying safe outside your home.
1.1 If you’re worried about someone’s health
Contact the NHS:
- Online: NHS 111 online Coronavirus service (for help and advice)
- Phone: 111 (if symptoms get worse)
- Phone: 999 (if someone’s life is at risk)
If you are worried about someone’s mental health, tell them to get help and support from Every Mind Matters.
2. Stay safe if a volunteer is helping you
Read the guidance on staying alert and safe (social distancing). Your safety is important and must come first.
The below are recommendations you should follow when a volunteer is helping you, especially if the volunteer is unknown to you.
If a volunteer is helping you while you stay at home:
- do not give them your credit or debit card numbers or other financial information
- ask for ID if someone you do not know calls at your home
- only share your phone number or address if you need to
- only give your information on a need-to-know basis
- do not let them pressure you into giving information
Remember that volunteers should not enter your home.
If you have serious concerns about the behaviour of someone who is helping you, report this to the police.