School of Health and Society 03.06.20

Coronavirus: How volunteering might change because of the pandemic

This National Volunteers' Week, Dr Daiga Kamerāde, Reader in Work and Wellbeing at the University of Salford (pictured), looks at the impact the coronavirus pandemic may have on the future of volunteering.

Dr Daiga Kamerāde

Daiga said: “The world of volunteering, as we know it, is changing. Incredible numbers of people are looking for ways to help one another to cope with the pandemic. At the same time, many people who used to volunteer may not be able to do so in future if they are in high risk groups and being advised to stay at home. 

“Initiatives like the NHS Volunteer Responder Scheme, launched by the government in March 2020, received around 750,00 applications from would be volunteers. However, to date, only 100,000 volunteering tasks have been allocated. This means the majority of those who volunteered for the scheme are yet to be called to action, causing some frustration. To what extent might experiences like these discourage people from volunteering in future?

“The lockdown and social distancing measures might also accelerate ’new‘ ways of getting involved, as more opportunities for people to volunteer remotely using digital technologies are created. Check in and chat volunteering is one example, which provides short-term telephone support to individuals who are at risk of loneliness due to self-isolation. It will be interesting to see whether these new ways of volunteering become increasingly common.”

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