Last updated: 12/05/2020
The situation regarding COVID-19 is rapidly changing, and this page will continue to be updated as and when new guidance is released. We urge you to please check the main University Coronavirus page regularly, and make sure you are always following the latest advice given by the Government and the NHS.
Nobody should feel pressured into volunteering at this time, so please prioritise your own health and wellbeing. It is up to you whether you want to volunteer or not, but you should only volunteer if you feel well enough and are not shielding, self-isolating or in a high-risk group. Do not leave home if you, or anyone in your household, has symptoms.
Don't forget that you can still log all of your volunteering hours from this academic year, including any support you have given during the pandemic, by going to our online Volunteering Portal. This counts towards Students' Union-accredited Volunteering Awards which appear on your Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR).
Staying safe when supporting others
It’s vital that you stay safe while supporting others, whether you're delivering essentials to a neighbour, or volunteering through the NHS. Your wellbeing should always come first. We recommend that you follow these instructions from the NCVO:
- Keep washing your hands often for 20 seconds.
- Stay at least two metres - about three steps - away from people you’re helping.
- If you’re trying to help someone with very serious issues – don’t be afraid to flag with appropriate statutory services.
- Support family, friends and neighbours by phone or video call.
- Offer to run errands for people but stay outside of people’s homes.
- Let family and friends know what you’re doing, where you're going and when.
- Don’t take on too much - it's often better not to offer at all than to let someone down.
Supporting your neighbours
The simplest thing you can do is look out for your neighbours and offer them help with shopping and other errands. If you are safe and well:
- Keep in touch regularly with family, friends and neighbours – a quick chat on the phone or a message on social media will raise their spirits and yours.
- If you can, be the eyes and ears of your community (but keep that social distance!) by checking on people who may be vulnerable or isolated and finding out what they might need – can you pick up shopping or medicines safely and leave them where they can access them?
- No one needs trolley loads of toilet roll! Only buy what you need so that there is enough for everyone, especially for those who can’t afford to buy ahead.
- Do look after yourself – eating, sleeping and exercising safely (even indoors) will help keep you well and more able to support others.
It's not just those who are self-isolating or vulnerable. Other people who might appreciate help are:
- Stretched medical staff and volunteers
- Staff and volunteers in key worker roles
- Supermarket workers
- Delivery drivers
Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint – your help might be even more crucial in a few weeks' time.
How you can volunteer
We have received multiple enquiries from students asking how they can volunteer to help with the response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Below, you can find a list of volunteering opportunities we have collated that specifically relate to COVID-19.
NHS Volunteer Responders *Please note that recruitment to this scheme has paused to process the initial 750,000 applications.*
The NHS are now recruiting Volunteer Responders to carry out simple, non-medical tasks to support people who have been asked to shield themselves from coronavirus (COVID-19) due to underlying health conditions. The responders will be used by healthcare professionals to make sure people who are highly vulnerable are able to stay safe and well at home. For more information and to sign up, visit their website.
University of Leicester NHS Volunteers
For details of this new initiative and to join the University-wide database of volunteers, visit their website.
Voluntary Action Leicestershire (VAL)
Like most other organisations, Leicester City Council and Leicestershire County Council have been planning how to respond to COVID-19 – identifying critical services, planning to keep them open and thinking about the wider implications for residents and communities. They are building a bank of Voluntary and Community Sector partners to support Leicester and Leicestershire people during this unprecedented time. If you're still in Leicester or Leicestershire and want to find out more about how you can volunteer, you can visit their website.
You might want to search your local foodbank's website or social media to see if they are running low on any donations, or need help delivering items to people who cannot leave their homes. Most foodbanks also provide non-food essentials such as toiletries, cleaning and personal hygiene products. The Trussell Trust is a nationwide network of over 1200 foodbanks. For more information on foodbanks, visit their website.
Covid Mutual Aid UK
This network of volunteers supports local community groups, organising mutual aid throughout the coronavirus outbreak in the UK. They focus on providing resources and connecting people to their nearest local groups, willing volunteers and those in need. To find out more and to join, visit their website.
British Red Cross
Community Reserve Volunteers are ready to help in an emergency, supporting their community by sharing public health messages, connecting with others safely and helping provide basic supplies. British Red Cross are working with the authorities to support the COVID-19 response. You can help by becoming a Community Reserve Volunteer. Click here to visit their website.
NHS Blood and Transplant
Giving blood and platelets is still essential to the NHS and vulnerable patients. Travelling to donate blood is permitted because it helps meet the medical needs of vulnerable people. To find out how you can donate, visit their website.
If you think we've missed something off this list, or if you have any questions or concerns - please don't hesitate to get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org