There’s a high chance that volunteering will be far from people’s minds at the moment, and that’s completely understandable. Being healthy, and keeping loved ones safe, will undoubtedly be at the forefront of everyone’s priorities and our thoughts are with anyone who has been affected by the virus. However, we wanted to share some advice about how you can negotiate this period and how students can continue to contribute to their communities. In relation to all of the below we strongly recommend you follow the advice that’s been provided by Edinburgh University Students’ Association and the UK government and do not take undue risks with your personal health.
What about my current volunteering?
In light of the rapidly changing situation and impact of Covid-19, you may find that your volunteering is being postponed or cancelled. Ensure that you look out for communications from the organisation/s you are volunteering with – they will likely provide information on what the next steps are. If they have not been in touch with you about this, please get in touch with them. Bear in mind that they may be receiving a high volume of queries at this time and may take a little time to get back to you.
We recommend all students discontinue volunteering in-person at this time. Help yourself and others by following the UK government’s advice to limit the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and stay at home during this time.
If you decide to discontinue volunteering, that is understandable, and it is your right to make that decision. Please communicate this clearly with your organisation and give them as much notice as possible.
How can you help?
With the ongoing Covid-19/Coronavirus outbreak lots of people are offering their help to those who may be in need of assistance in these difficult times. If you are continuing to, or thinking about volunteering in person, Volunteer Edinburgh (Edinburgh's local volunteering centre) has created Guidance and FAQs for volunteers in light of Covid-19 - please read this carefully.
Supporting communities during Covid-19
We are currently in the process of speaking to partners and will add relevant opportunities to the list below as we receive them.
It is expected that foodbanks, community groups and those helping the elderly to be most in need and donating items or money to these groups could make an invaluable difference. Follow their social media and websites to see if and when they are looking to recruit volunteers.
You must follow government guidelines including staying 6ft away from people out with your household and if possible, avoid too many trips to the supermarket or pharmacy.
Here is a list of ways you can help your community:
Online volunteering opportunities
If you discontinue your physical volunteering, we’ve compiled a list of online volunteering opportunities to help you spend your time and continue to contribute and stay connected to communities:
Online opportunities on Edinburgh University Students’ Association’s Volunteering Hub
People Know How: supporting children, young people, adults and families
United Nations Volunteers
Princes Trust Online Mentors
Help from Home: micro volunteering opportunities
LibriVox: read and record chapters of books
Translators without borders
Zooniverse: online research projects
The Maturity of Baby Sounds: help us to better understand the very first stages of language learning
Be My Eyes: a free app that connects blind and low-vision people with sighted volunteers and company representatives for visual assistance through a live video call
Action for insects: pledge to help insects
Run, Herring, Run!: count baby river herring as they head to sea!
Miss Maps: help to map areas where humanitarian organisations are trying to meet the needs of vulnerable people
Floating Forrests: help us uncover the history of Giant Kelp forests around the globe
Instant Wild: online conservation work
Garden Birdwatch – British Trust for Ornithology
Star-Spotting: Natural History Museum
If you are aware of any others, let the Volunteering Service know, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that the Volunteering Service is now working remotely and contactable via email only.