Even though there is now a strict lockdown in place in the UK, there are still ways to volunteer and help your community during this time. Here are six examples for you to consider.
Look at new and different volunteering roles
With strict restrictions now in place, charities will require volunteers to do new and different roles. Please consider what roles are available and whether you would be able help out, e.g. drivers, telephone buddies, food shoppers, social media, web development, writing, campaign planning, future fundraising ideas.
NHS Volunteer Responders
The NHS has launched NHS Volunteer Responders which means you can now help the most vulnerable people in your community who need to stay home because of coronavirus. If you are fit and healthy, you can sign up here and can be called on to do simple but vital tasks such as:
Delivering medicines from pharmacies;
Driving patients to appointments;
Bringing them home from hospital;
Making regular phone calls to check on people isolating at home.
Help potentially vulnerable neighbours
NHS Volunteer Reposnders is not intended to replace local groups helping their vulnerable neighbours but is an additional service provided by the NHS. When you shop for basic necessities and medical needs, could you do the same for your neighbours? Especially anyone who may live alone (regardless of their age), anyone elderly or anyone that may be potentially vulnerable. E.g.
Collecting a prescription or over-the-counter medications
Doing basic grocery shopping
Offering to exercise their dog if they are not able to do so themselves
Make food donations to food banks
Over 90% of the food distributed by food banks in the Trussell Trust network is donated by the public, but food banks are in crisis after the £1bn panic-buying spree. There are collection points in supermarkets across the country, so if you can, please drop off any items you can spare when you are there getting your own essentials.
You may not have considered this as volunteering, but NHS Blood and Transplant Centres are still open and extra safety measures are in place. Following Boris Johnson's announcement giving blood is a medical need and a form of helping vulnerable people. It is essential to patients and the NHS. Please keep donating. Check the latest coronavirus advice and see if you are able to donate here.
Take care of each other’s mental health
As well as looking after yourself, try to connect with other people. We’ll need to adjust to new methods of communication to ensure we don’t feel lonely, e.g. Video chats, phone calls, messages, having a pal on Skype while you eat dinner, being part of a WhatsApp group who are also self-isolating, helping others by joining an online peer support communities such as Mind, joining an online class - from yoga and pilates to languages and music. We’d love you to keep in touch with us, too!
If you cannot volunteer but would like to help, consider making a donation to support individuals affected and the organisations working to keep people safe, find a cure, or support their communities. The homeless, the elderly, those living in poverty, those struggling with mental health - you’ll no doubt know who you want to help the most. For everyone that has kept their monthly donations for Urban Uprising, thank you for your support. Hopefully we can all come out the other side of this difficult time and get back to doing what we love.
We hope you and your families are all okay. Take care and stay safe.