The latest government guidance on volunteering during the latest national lockdown can be found below; have a look too at NAVCA’s useful decision-making tool if you are thinking about volunteering and check the additional guidance on how to help safely during COVID-19.
If you run an organisation or group, or manage volunteers, find out how to involve volunteers safely and effectively during coronavirus (COVID-19).
Volunteering from home
You must volunteer from home unless it is not reasonably possible to do so. If you’re ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ (high risk from coronavirus) you should not volunteer outside your home.
Volunteering outside your home
You can volunteer outside your home if:
- you cannot volunteer from home
- you follow the social distancing guidelines
- you’ve not been told to self-isolate by NHS test and trace
- you’re not self-isolatingfor any other reason
- you are not ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ (high risk from coronavirus).
If you’re ‘clinically vulnerable’ (moderate risk from coronavirus), you can still volunteer outside your home. If you’re volunteering in a workplace, it should meet coronavirus safety standards.
If you have coronavirus symptoms or if you have tested positive for coronavirus, do not volunteer outside your home. You must self-isolate for at least 10 days from the date you started having symptoms or from the day you tested positive – whichever is the latest.
If you are self-isolating:
- you cannot leave home (or the place where you are self-isolating) to volunteer
- your volunteer organisation should not ask you to leave home (or the place where you are self-isolating).
Volunteering with others
While volunteering, you can meet in groups of any size from different households. This can be indoors or outdoors. You should:
- follow social distancing guidelines
- wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds
- wear a face covering indoors
- stay 2 metres away from people you do not live with, or 1 metre away with extra precautions like wearing a face covering or increased ventilation indoors
In some volunteering roles, it may not be possible for you to follow this guidance. For example, driving a vehicle with others in it. The organisation or group of volunteers running these activities can keep people safe by following coronavirus safety standards.
Taking part in a volunteering activity does not mean you can meet in person as part of a social activity.
Volunteering in a support group
There cannot be more than 15 people (aged 5 and older) in the support group itself but there is no limit on the number of volunteers. For example, 5 volunteers could support up to 15 parents and children in a group session, to make a group of 20 in total.
Formal support groups, which have to take place in person, can continue to do so but they must not be run from private homes. Support groups should provide mutual aid, therapy or another form of support.
Travelling to volunteer or while volunteering
You are allowed to travel in order to volunteer or while volunteering. While travelling, you should:
- stay local where possible – avoid travelling outside of your village, town or part of the city where you live, unless absolutely necessary
- walk or cycle if you can (use public transport or drive when that is not possible)
- plan ahead and avoid the busiest times and routes
- follow the safer travel guidance.
Wearing face coverings while volunteering
You must wear a face covering by law in some public places unless you have a reasonable excuse for not wearing one. For example, if you have an illness, impairment or a disability.
Staff and volunteers in retail, hospitality and leisure settings must also wear a face covering.
You should also wear a face covering indoors if you will be in:
- an enclosed public space
- a place where you cannot stay 1 metre apart from other people
- a place where you will come into contact with people you do not usually meet.
Volunteers who have children
If you volunteer in a critical worker role, you are allowed to send your children to school or college during the national lockdown. Nurseries and childminders are open to look after younger children.
- If you are a volunteer and would like more information, visit our dedicated COVID-19 Advice for Volunteers’ web page.
- If you are part of a charity or community group and would like further advice on managing and recruiting volunteers during the pandemic, visit our Covid-19 Volunteering web page.
- To read further Government guidance, read National lockdown: Stay At Home.
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org with any queries.