The challenging circumstances surrounding COVID-19 has put the spotlight on volunteering in a way we’ve never seen before, signing up to help in the community at this difficult time may be your first time offering to volunteer. The overwhelming response from the citizens of Scotland has meant that there has been a plentiful supply of volunteers for our local COVID-19 response. It also means that not everyone who made the offer has had the chance to volunteer their time just yet.
CVS Falkirk and Volunteer Falkirk are looking forward to the time when it is safe for all of our local third sector organisations to resume their valued services and activities. However, we also know that the impact of COVID-19 means that this will be another stage in the challenge we are currently facing together. Volunteers will be needed more than ever, during the coming stages of recovery and reconnecting.
These volunteer roles might look different to what people who signed up to help during COVID-19 expected, but they are no less valuable. We are committed to continuing to support local voluntary organisations throughout this period by engaging with interested volunteers regularly to let them know about which opportunities are available and how they can get involved, as well as providing support to find the right opportunity to those who need it.
So, you’d like to help but have never volunteered before and have no idea where to start?
It can be difficult to decide the type of volunteering that you would be interested in. Take some time to think about the questions below: it will help you to focus on the type of volunteering you’re interested in:
- How much time do you have to give to volunteering?
- What skills do you wish to share with a local group?
- Is there a particular cause/topic that is close to your heart? (e.g. older people or long term health condition)
- Do you have a hobby or passion that’s important to you?
- Are you a social person? (e.g. do you like a good blether?)
- Would you like to be a director or a trustee of a charity?
- Do you prefer being inside or outside?
- Do you enjoy sport and physical activity?
- Is there a particular skill you’d like to learn whilst volunteering?
- Why do you want to volunteer?
Volunteering While On Furlough
You can volunteer while on furlough. While on furlough, you must not carry out any work activity (paid or unpaid) for your employer, during the furlough leave period. However, you can volunteer and undertake training so long as this does not provide services to or generate revenue for your employer.
HMRC has produced helpful guidance on furloughing and the job retention scheme, which includes details on how the scheme will change from Wednesday 1st July.
Volunteering While on Benefits
Volunteering shouldn’t affect your right to claim benefits. You can volunteer while receiving benefits as long as you continue to meet all the conditions of your benefit. You will not be paid for volunteering, however you may be reimbursed for your volunteering expenses, such as travel.
We work closely with Jobcentre Plus in Falkirk and Grangemouth to highlight volunteering opportunities that are available and to support their staff in encouraging people to volunteer.
The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has published the guidance on volunteering while claiming benefits, which is available to read on our Volunteering and DWP Welfare Benefits page, and on the UK Government website.
Staying Safe while Volunteering
Trading Standards Scotland has produced guidance for those who require help or are looking to provide help, called Helping Hands.
The NHS Inform Scotland site has a range of information around COVID-19, and is the main resource on the virus in Scotland.
The site includes information on symptoms, social distancing, how to treat symptoms in adults and children, along with a series of mental wellbeing resources – such as guides on coping with depression, anxiety and financial worries during this time – and resources for travellers, parents and employers.
To access the full series of information and resources, please visit the NHS Inform Scotland website.
Alternatively, visit the CVS Falkirk page on Safe Volunteering and Helping Out During COVID-19.