The health and safety of both those in the LSE community or outside it is our number one priority at this time and our thoughts are with anyone who has been affected by COVID-19 or the second lockdown. However, like we did earlier in 2020 we want to provide advice to those who are looking to contribute to their communities at this time. In relation to all of the below we heavily recommend you follow the advice that’s been provided by LSE, the UK government and NCVO and do not take undue risks with your personal health.
Speak to your volunteer manager
If you are already volunteering at the moment the first thing you should do is speak to your volunteer manager. All organisations will be making adjustments right now and they should be in contact to update you on their procedures. Feel free to ask questions about your role but please try to be patient though as it might take a short amount of time for these to be communicated to you.
Volunteer from home, where possible
If your current volunteer role can be done from home then you will be expected to do this. However, if it can’t then you can still travel to complete your volunteering, whilst following all relevant procedures for transport. If you’re looking to start volunteering there are many roles which can be done from home. Check out the vacancy board on CareerHub and also our guide for online volunteering.
Helping those affected by COVID-19
As earlier in 2020 we know that organisations such as foodbanks, community groups and those helping the elderly are most in need and donating items or money to these groups will make an invaluable difference. Follow their social media and websites to see if and when they are looking to recruit volunteers. Other opportunities include:
- COVID Mutal Aid bring together local groups that can support each other. There are ones in Camden, Westminster and Southwark, amongst others.
- Help cards to assist those self-isolating
- Donate blood
- The Felix Project to help distribute food that would otherwise go to waste
- Emergency collections for AGE UK Camden
- Help redistribute food with City Harvest. They are also looking for donations of ambient goods, personal care items and other products
- You can sign up to the British Red Cross’ community reserve volunteers scheme
- Octavia Foundation are looking for telephone befrienders to combat loneliness in those who are isolating
- CHIPS in Brixton are looking for phone line volunteers, family support volunteers and errand running volunteers
- Brightside are looking for more volunteer mentors, to support children who have had their school education disrupted
- UN Volunteers are recruiting from all over the world.
- Support your local foodbank
- Become a citizen scientist with The Young Foundation
- yourneighbour.org are in need of a number of different volunteers to coordinate a UK church response to the crisis
In the mean time following instructions from public health agencies, being kind and empathising with those that are finding it difficult at this time are some of the best things that you can do to help your community.
Staying safe when supporting others
It’s important to stay safe when supporting others. Use the following instructions created by NCVO:
- Let family and friends know what you are doing and where you are going
- Support family, friends and neighbours by phone or video call
- Stay at least two metres or about three steps away from people you’re helping
- Offer to run errands for people but stay outside of people’s homes
- Keep washing your hands, often, for 20 seconds
- Don’t take on too much as it’s often better not to offer at all than to let someone down
- If you’re trying to help someone with very serious issues then don’t be afraid to flag with appropriate statutory services
So as you can see there are several ways in which you can continue to contribute to our communities, both near and far, during this uncertain time. The Volunteer Centre will remain open and you can contact us via email and/or book an appointment on CareerHub to talk through your options further.