On this page you will find advice on how you can continue to help during the Covid-19 pandemic and as we progress from lockdown.
Volunteer Edinburgh has a team of dedicated Community Taskforce Volunteers. These volunteers are fully trained, fully insured and able to help anyone who needs support with practical tasks, such as shopping/pet care/dog walking etc. If you need help or support or someone you know needs help please contact us on 0131 225 0630 or email us here.
Want to volunteer?
We have new opportunities to volunteer, both in response to the pandemic and general opportunities so your help is needed more than ever. Please check out the latest opportunities below.
Being a good neighbour continues to be important and there is useful information on how to do that on this page.
Here we will feature some of the latest volunteering opportunities related to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Please hover or click on one of the boxes below for further details. For a full list of opportunities related to the pandemic please either hover or click on the grey ‘Search for More’ box, click on the orange ‘Covid-19 volunteer opportunities’ button in the sidebar (below on mobile), or search for ‘covid’ using the keyword search on our opportunity search page here.
Frequently Asked Questions
In this section you will find answers to some commonly asked questions related to volunteering during the Covid-19 pandemic. Please click on a title to view the answer. FAQs related directly to organisations are highlighted in red.
All volunteer involving organisations will be restarting their volunteer programmes at different times. If you are already a volunteer and you would like to restart volunteering, then you should contact your Volunteer Manager or named contact person to find out what their plans are for restarting volunteer activities. Some roles will be slower to restart than others and some roles may be different now, for example done remotely rather than face to face. Some roles may no longer be required so it is important to talk with your volunteer manager or contact person and let them know that you would like to restart volunteering.
If you are not currently volunteering and would like to, you should start by thinking about what you would and would not like to do as a volunteer. Consider also your availability and how much time you would like to give. You can then search our database of available volunteering opportunities. Please bear in mind that some volunteer involving organisations will still be adapting their services and it may take longer than normal to find out about specific opportunities.
If you would like some help with finding the right volunteering opportunity for you then please contact us on 0131 225 0630 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please not that for the moment our office in Leith Walk is not open for public drop in, but we can still help over the phone or by Zoom.
If you are volunteering for an organisation they will have new procedures and practices in place to keep volunteers, employees and service users safe. You have a personal responsibility too to always follow the latest Scottish Government and NHS Scotland health advice as we emerge from lock down. You should always make sensible decisions and minimise the risk to your own and others health at all times.
If you need help or you know of someone who needs help with practical tasks, Volunteer Edinburgh has hundreds of trained and insured volunteers all over the city who are happy to help. Contact us on 0131 225 0630 or email us here.
If you have concerns for someone’s welfare please in an emergency or the crisis is life threatening, call 999. If you are worried about someone who is ill, call NHS 24 on 111. Urgent social care or someone at risk of harm If someone needs urgent social care or you think an adult or child needs protection call Social Care Direct on 0131 200 2324. In the evening and at weekends or public holidays, you can call Emergency Social Work, free of charge from a landline. Your mobile phone provider may charge for 0800 calls. 0800 731 6969. Monday to Thursday 5pm to 8.30am, weekends from Friday 3.55pm to Monday 8.30am.
Being a good neighbour is always important. It is what makes communities and as we have seen during lock down it has helped us all get through it. Now that many of the restrictions are being relaxed it will be easier for most people to look after themselves. However, there will always be people, and not just elderly people, who will feel lonely and isolated or who may need help. Checking on all neighbours to find out if they need any support remains important. Remember if you do know someone who needs help, Volunteer Edinburgh has trained and insured volunteers all across the city who can undertake practical support tasks. You can get help by calling 0131 225 0630 or emailing us here.
If you are helping out informally and supporting a neighbour then it is as important as ever to be safe. Read our advice on Being a Good Neighbour Safely and by following these simple guidelines:
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds.
- Use alcohol based hand rub where available if no access to soap and water.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
- Cover nose and mouth with disposable tissue or crook of elbow when sneezing/coughing.
Visit the Health Protection Scotland site for further details.
Taking orders, visiting food outlets and delivering food
Take requests over the phone if possible or ensure social distancing (2 metres or 6 feet) if taking requests or payment at person’s property. Ensure no personal contact at any point, maintaining social distancing at all times. Disinfect all items passed to and from recipient.
Ensure you wash your hands before and after; visiting food outlets and deliveries. Ensure you follow social distancing rules set out by food outlets (further guidance here) and disinfect trolley or basket. Use Card as payment option where possible and place foods stuffs into bags that have been disinfected.
Phone or message recipients to inform them you are to leave bagged food on doorstep. Withdraw 2 metres (6 feet) and ensure recipient collects food.
Encourage recipients to wash their hands before and after delivery, as well as disinfecting food stuffs (that are packaged in glass, plastic or cardboards) and bags they received.
To disinfect surfaces you can use household cleaning products including; disinfectant disposable wipes and diluted household bleach solutions (further details here). There is also a helpful video to explain this all here.
Making meals safely
- Ensure all foods are within manufacturers use by dates
- Food preparation areas must be clean and disinfected
- Does the person have any allergen requirements?
- Is the food suitable for the individual? i.e have the capacity to prepare meal, may require food that is ready to consume.
- Cook foods to be piping hot or boiled
- If required cooling, ensure to cool as quickly as possible and place in refrigeration.
- Cold foods to be immediately covered and chilled.
- Food should be eaten within two days of preparation.
- Food should be frozen on day of delivery and defrosted in a fridge overnight
- When reheating foods they need to be piping hot throughout
- Make sure hot food is delivered hot and cold food is delivered cold.
- Use single use container or a container that have been disinfected and air dried.
Visit the Food Standards Scotland site for further details.
If you are unable to help an individual directly, there are other things you could do to help out in the local community, for example:
- Litter picking while you take your daily recommended exercise - take a bin bag and some gloves on a walk and pick up litter while you go.
- Encourage others to stay active with online exercise classes which can be done form home.
- Revive the lost art of letter writing – send a message to someone who lives a bit further away, and even include a nice photo.
- Microvolunteering – have a look at this list of informal volunteering opportunities (N.B some of these may be currently unavailable.)
- Take an online course and learn something new – please see the list in the sidebar (below on mobile) for some ideas.
Do you need volunteers?
I know many volunteer involving organisations across the city have been adjusting and adapting to the current crisis. Your available volunteer numbers may well be down as a result of self-isolation or it may be that there are more or different opportunities that you need volunteer support with. We are being approached by many people who want to volunteer. If you need volunteers please use our existing online advertising routes here.
If you have not used this before and need support to do so contact us on 0131 225 0630 or email email@example.com.
If your opportunity is COVID-19 related please use COVID-19 in either the title or the role description as this will mean your opportunity is automatically added to our COVID-19 volunteering opportunities listing.
Appeal to volunteer managers
If you are an experienced volunteer manager but you are not currently engaging or managing volunteers, for whatever reason, we are looking for your help. If you think you can support some of the work that we will be doing over the coming weeks please let us know by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. We are currently working hard to coordinate a wide volunteer response to support vital services over the coming weeks. We are likely to need some help from volunteering professionals. So if you think you can help please let us know.
Engaging new volunteers at this time
Anyone engaging new volunteers during this crisis knows that normal best practice processes that we use may be difficult to maintain. It is important to consider how you can adapt your practices and be pragmatic while safely engaging volunteers. It may not be possible to get references for example. Social distancing requirements may make orientation challenging. Here are a few ideas which you might find useful:
Can you put your applications on line? Perhaps consider using Google Docs?
Can interviews and indeed orientation/induction be done via Skype/Zoom/WhatsApp?
References are likely to be impracticable at the moment. Can you ask for people to verify their identity more than you usually do? Remember many larger employers will undertake a variety of checks on employees, so if someone can prove they work for a particular company consider whether that can provide you with additional confidence.
Can you record your orientation/induction on a phone so that you can use it repeatedly? This is not the time to be worrying about production values!
You can find out further information about regulated work and PVGs here.
If you have a genius idea on adapting your volunteer recruitment please share it with us and we will let people know.
Check out out Volunteer Wiki page here for more guidance:
Support from EVOC
Our Third Sector Interface partner EVOC would like to know what support organisations might need from them at this time. Please take a moment to complete their survey.
EVOC are also soon to launch a downloadable resource which will detail some of the emerging third sector and community groups work across the city. Remember that EVOC can signpost your organisation to networks or to similar organisations who are looking to collaborate around themes. For this contact email@example.com.
If organisations are looking to source free training on anything that this is useful at the moment, can they email requests to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Food and Prescription Deliveries Maps
We have compiled these handy Google Maps which mark out a number of the city’s charities, companies, social enterprises and co-operatives working hard to get essential deliveries out to people.
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Please get in touch if you have any other ideas for content on this page by emailing email@example.com, we will be updating this page regularly and are happy to share any suggestions.