Volunteering Updates (COVID-19)

Last updated: 29/06/2020

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.


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.

Leicester Test and Trace Volunteers

Leicester’s Director of Public Health and the City Council have asked University of Leicester and De Montfort University to help recruit volunteers to support with a major test and trace drive across the city, which will help them to understand the local picture and control the spread. The City Council will provide full instructions, PPE, direction and support. Please note that students and staff living outside the local lockdown can support this activity – the City Council has confirmed they would be identified as critical workers whilst supporting this activity.

They urgently require volunteers from Tuesday 7th July. Anyone who wishes to volunteer to support the local lockdown should respond by completing this form.

The more volunteers we get, the greater the impact we can have in supporting the city, stopping the spread, and enabling us to ease restrictions.


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.

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.

Leicester Marrow

Marrow and Anthony Nolan have launched an exciting new virtual volunteering role, where students can become digital volunteers for Anthony Nolan and encourage their friends and family to apply to join the Anthony Nolan stem cell register. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a huge drop in people registering as a potential stem cell donor and Anthony Nolan urgently need to recruit more potential lifesavers to their register. This volunteering role has no minimum time commitment and can be fulfilled remotely. For more information, get in touch with our affilated Student Group, Leicester Marrow.

Local Town Centre Ambassadors

Oadby & Wigston borough council are looking for volunteers to help welcome back visitors to their town centres as shops and businesses start to re-open. These volunteers will be known as Town Centre Ambassadors and as well as being a friendly face will assist with managing any issues which may impact upon the safety of town centre visitors, particularly when it comes to social distancing. For more information and to offer your help, visit our online volunteering portal.

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 su-volunteering@le.ac.uk


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