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Coronavirus and Volunteering at Home

Written by Milly Whitehead on 24 / 04 / 2020

Gap Year Advice

Over the last 20 years we have sent literally 1000's of volunteers all over the world to help protect endangered wildlife and communities in countries around the world - organising volunteering adventures abroad has been our life. To all of you we say thank you, you have made us hugely proud and as we've reflected over the past month on life past, present and future - your good work inspires us to carry on and navigate our way through this storm.


For our current and future leapers who dream of the exotic destinations such as Madagascar, Namibia, Costa Rica or Colombia - your time will come but in the meantime it's time to kick into the home bound, war time spirit and volunteer on your doorstep...In years to come when you are asked how you managed or indeed helped during this crisis, you don't want to say - by perfecting my Joe Wicks routine...do you? :)

So - ever helpful here are 10 ways that you can engage in coronavirus volunteering during these weird and wonderful times - helping your country nail this Covid-19 pandemic.

1. Join OnHand to help local seniors

OnHand is an app that helps connect seniors with people who can help them do a regular shop, run errands, or just have a chat on the phone. Under normal circumstances they encourage lots of face-to-face interaction, but social distancing measures are now being strictly enforced.

2. Volunteer at your local food bank

Get in touch with your local food bank to find out how you can help collect and distribute food to the people in your community who need it most.

3. Fruit picking

It's official an army of pickers is required to help on these farms who usually rely on a foreign workforce. Seriously you really are needed and some include accomodation. Start with this link and narrow it down from here:

Fruit picking jobs

4. Operate a zoom class or lesson

Whether you are a budding architect, accountant, historian, or chef, your skills and education are in high demand right now! Offer to set up a Zoom class or lesson for kids or adults.

5. Sew scrubs for the NHS

Amateurs and professionals alike are hopping on their sewing machines to make scrubs for the NHS. Even if you are not confident in your sewing skills, look into your local group to find out if your services could be of use.

6. Make masks for local people

While we’re on the topic of sewing, why not make masks out of the fabric you have at home? Old bed sheets, duvet covers, shirts, bandanas, and tea towels can all become effective masks with just a few stitches and some elastic. Follow this simple pattern and start offering your homemade masks to people you know.

7. Get involved in your hyper local WhatsApp group

In order to start helping people in your own area, you should first join the Covid-19 Mutual Aid Facebook Group for your local area. The admins and users there can help direct you to the WhatsApp group for your hyper local area, usually just a few streets. The rationale behind keeping things local? People are less likely to try to scam others who live in their immediate vicinity, so it keeps everything on the up and up, especially where vulnerable people are concerned.

8. Register with your local council

Local councils across the UK operate their own volunteer schemes. If you want to help cook food for takeaway school dinners or work at a food distribution point, you should start by registering with your local scheme.

9. Volunteer to be a ranger in your local parks

Sure, no one wants to be accused of being a jobsworth, but local park rangers need our help to keep the parks safe and sparse. It might not be the most gratifying job (picnickers and sunbathers notoriously hate being told what to do) but it is an important task that is in high demand across the country.

10. Join the ‘NHS’ Army

If you have not already joined the so-called NHS Army of volunteers, you might have to wait a few days or weeks while they get organised. After their first call for help in late March, the initial response was so overwhelming that they have had to put recruitment for new volunteers on a temporary hold. When they do open the floodgates again, you can sign up and let them know your areas of expertise.

There is no doubt that the world will change for good during and after this pandemic. However, we know that the goodness and hard work of our volunteers will ensure that this new world is a kind and engaged one.

If you have any other bright and creative volunteering ideas - please send them in - lets try and create an evolving resource for you to refer back to. Send them directly to me, milly@theleap.co.uk and I can add them to this list.

How will you make a difference during Covid-19?

Stay safe

Milly and the Leap Team

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