how to Volunteer safely in response to covid-19

Screenshots from our Youtube channel
View advice and guidance on our YouTube channel.

Things are changing rapidly in the UK, and with nearly sixty years of experience in facilitating volunteering programmes we know it’s more important than ever to make sure you and your volunteers are able to Volunteer Safely.

Our Volunteer Safely campaign resources are available for you to download and view below. We also have resources shared on our social media accounts and on our Youtube channel. If you have a question about volunteering or need some advice during this time, get in touch with us at

We’re passionate about volunteering and the amazing impact it has, no more so than in the current climate when so many people realise their potential to help each other. We want to offer advice to organisations or groups who want to get their people volunteering safely, for the first time or maybe doing different activities.

Volunteering should only be for essential services such as providing shopping for someone unable to access food and medicine, and this should be done as infrequently as possible. You may also need to provide care to help a vulnerable person. The government have published detailed advice at

For these essential types of support make sure you are following the most recent government advice and NHS advice at and

Use social distancing measures and please avoid travel as much as possible to prevent COVID-19 from spreading or infecting others.

If you’re a charity, volunteering should only be for essential services support and appropriate risk assessments must be in place.

We hope these simple guidelines are helpful when thinking about volunteering, or setting up a community volunteering activity in your local area. If you require more guidance of have further questions or queries please email us at and a member of our team will be in touch

useful guides

Below are several resources on how to #VolunteerSafely, starting with some simple FAQs.

Frequently asked questions

Download our FAQs for advice on what counts as a key worker, telephone befriending. We’ll be updaing these in the next days and weeks, so follow us on Twitter or Facebook to stay up to date.

Volunteer Safely FAQs

Managing risk

It’s important to think about how you can volunteer safely, and what steps you can take. This is so important during this national pandemic. Below are quick guides on how to identify and manage risks when planning a volunteering activity.

A quick guide – run community volunteering safely for organisations – (England) – 1st April 2020

A quick guide – run community volunteering safely for organisations – (Scotland) – 1st April 2020

A quick guide – run community volunteering safely for organisations – (Wales) – 1st April 2020

Risk assessment template – 23 March 2020

Below are some templates for specific situations you may be volunteering in:

Risk assessment template – Cooking and delivering a fresh meal – 31st March 2020

Risk assessment template – Chatting on the phone (telephone befriending) – 31st March 2020

Risk assessment template – Dog walking – 31st March 2020

Risk assessment template – Supporting someone online (online befriending) – 31st March 2020



Sometimes you, or your volunteers may see something that concerns you. We’ve created a guide on what steps to take, and what signs to look out for. These signs don’t always mean that someone in a household is at risk or being harmed, but they are indicators of abuse so are important to be aware of what to look for, so they can be noted and sent them to a volunteer lead and your local safeguarding teams.

Volunteer Safely – Safeguarding Guide 9th April 2020

Staying safe when volunteering – 23 March 2020

Possible Indicators of Harm or Abuse – 1st April 2020

Safeguarding Community Policy (Suffolk) – 1st April 2020

background checks and dbs

Government Factsheet on DBS checks – 25 March 2020

We’ll keep adding resources here, and updating in line with the latest government and NHS advice.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to make sure you get the latest updates so you or your groups can volunteer safely.

Contact your local volunteer centre

If you are organising volunteering activity, we recommend you contact your local volunteer centre:

National Association for Voluntary and Community Action

Volunteer Scotland

Wales Council for Voluntary Action

more resources and guidance

Check out A quick guide to virtual fundraising – April 2020 created by our Income Generation team, which may help you during the pandemic.

There are also useful resources and guidance available for charities and voluntary organisations from

National Council of Voluntary Organisations

Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

Muslim Charities Forum

If you have any other questions not answered here, then just get in touch and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.

volunteer recruitment active volunteering hackney

Top Tips for Recruiting Volunteers

We share our top tips for volunteer recruitment in a new area, making sure you can stay safe while providing essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Volunteers are doing things differently

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic we’ve quickly adapted,  identifying new ways to make sure our amazing volunteers can keep supporting their communities.  We’re massively privileged to have the trust and regular contact with isolated older people through our projects and programmes. So we’ve utilised this contact to reach out and use the creativity … Continued