An initial summary of what the national lockdown means for volunteering in England the outlined steps we will be taking to update guidance on GOV.UK relating to volunteering is listed below. There is separate guidance on coronavirus in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Volunteering from home/outside the home
- People must volunteer from home, unless it is not reasonably possible for them to do so.
- If they cannot volunteer from home, people can volunteer outside their home, provided they do not need to self-isolate for any reason, and follow social distancing guidance, or COVID-secure guidance if volunteering in a workplace.
- This also applies to clinically vulnerable people.
Clinically extremely vulnerable people
- Clinically extremely vulnerable people should be supported to volunteer from home, and should not volunteer outside their home.
Travelling to volunteer or while volunteering
Where they are unable to volunteer from home, people can travel to volunteer or while volunteering in England. While travelling, they should:
- where possible, stay local – meaning avoiding travelling outside of their village, town or the part of a city where their live, unless absolutely necessary
- walk or cycle if they can – where that is not possible, use public transport or drive
- plan ahead and avoid the busiest routes, as well as busy times.
- follow the safer travel guidance.
Volunteering in groups
- While volunteering, people can meet in groups of any size, indoors or outdoors.
- Formal support groups are exempt from gathering restrictions up to a limit of 15 participants (aged 5 and older), however there is no limit on the number of volunteers. For, example, 10 volunteers could support a group of 15 participants.
Volunteers in critical roles who can access schools or educational settings
- Volunteers classified as being in critical worker roles are allowed to send their children to school or other educational settings.
- Accommodation such as hotels, B&Bs, campsites, holiday lets and guest houses, which are otherwise ordered to close, are permitted to open for people who need to stay for volunteering purposes.
GOV.UK guidance on how volunteering can be done safely and effectively will soon be updated in line with the national lockdown restrictions. This includes guidance for ‘formal’ and ‘informal’ volunteers, and for volunteer-involving organisations and groups.