Volunteering during the pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic, which started in the spring of 2020, was a challenging and new experience for everyone. Many charities had to either pause their activities completely or change their ways of working, including how they were supported by volunteers. The pandemic also had a big effect of the availability of volunteers, with many people willing to volunteer during the various lockdowns, but there were constraints on what they could do because of the regulations in place at the time. In particular, older volunteers and people with certain medical conditions had to avoid any sort of volunteering outside their homes.

To support both organisations and volunteers we curated a number of key resources – including links to Government guidance and specific advice on how best volunteering roles could be carried out safely during the pandemic. The links below are to those resources which remain relevant in this post-pandemic period.

If you are an organisation looking for volunteers or if you are an individual wanting to volunteer, have a look the Volunteer Matching Service which matches registered volunteers to roles where they are most needed in Buckinghamshire. If you are looking for volunteers and would would like to talk through the options first or don’t know where to start, contact the support team on info@communityimpactbucks.org.uk or call 0330 236 9350.


Resources for Organisations - Recruiting and Supporting Volunteers

Whatever the size of your organisation, it’s really important that you’ve got the necessary procedures in place before recruiting volunteers for the first time, or when refreshing your current approach. Taking some time out to do this can save time, and possibly misunderstanding, in the long run. Volunteers want to know that their time is well spent, that tasks are well organised, and that their contribution is valued.

There are no longer any specific restrictions or advice related to the pandemic. There are of course still cases of Covid-19 arising. There is general advice contained in Coronavirus: how to stay safe and help prevent the spread. Individuals who are worried they be at heightened risk should consider advice from their health professional on whether additional precautions are right for them.

Getting volunteers onboard effectively

  • This short training video sets out what you need to think about before recruiting volunteers.
  • The NCVO also has information on engaging and supporting volunteers.

Volunteer role/activity descriptions


  • Not everyone can cover their expenses when they volunteer. If you’re able to reimburse volunteers for out-of-pocket expenditure e.g. petrol, this will ensure that volunteering is open to more people.  This guidance on volunteer expenses explains what you need to think about.


Resources for Organisations - Keeping your volunteers safe

Whether you’re managing volunteers in an informal or formal group, you have a duty of care to ensure that they, and the people they’re helping, are protected, and that they have a good volunteering experience.  There are some simple and practical steps that can be taken to ensure this, and these are explored in the resources below:


  • This short training video provides essential safeguarding information, what signs might indicate that a vulnerable individual is at risk, and how to report your concerns.


  • You can read about DBS checks on the Government’s page on DBS Checks: detailed guidance
  • It is important to remember that DBS checks are just one tool to keep people safe.  It is also a good idea to check photo ID for every volunteer to ensure that they who they say they are, and to take up at least one reference.

 Data Protection

  • If you’re handling personal information belonging to volunteers and people your organisation is supporting, for example their phone numbers, email addresses and home addresses, there are some simple steps to take to minimise risks, as outlined by NCVO.

Resources for Organisations - Supporting your volunteers wellbeing

Remember to frequently check in with your volunteers. Sometimes a well -timed “How are you?” can make a world of difference.

Resources for Volunteers Looking after your mental wellbeing

  • Our Frontline: the charity offers round-the-clock one-to-one support, by call or text, from trained volunteers, plus resources, tips and ideas to look after the mental health of staff and volunteers involved in frontline health, care, emergency and key worker roles.
  • Every Mind Matters: read expert advice and practical tips for your mental health.
  • Buckinghamshire Mind: this local charity is a great source of information and support.
  • Looking after your own mental wellbeing as a volunteer: one of three training videos produced from Buckinghamshire Mind, in partnership with Community Impact Bucks, to support volunteers’ well-being.
  • Healthy Minds Bucks: check out its short videos and links that will help you look after yourself.
Image courtesy of Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway