How UK Students Can Help During the Coronavirus Crisis | Top Universities

How UK Students Can Help During the Coronavirus Crisis

By Chloe Lane

Updated February 26, 2021 Updated February 26, 2021

There are so many ways to help out during the coronavirus pandemic. Read on to find out how you can best volunteer your time.

Who can help?

The NHS says you should only help out if you do not have any long-term health conditions and are not pregnant. You should also ensure that you are physically well and do not have any coronavirus symptoms.

The main coronavirus symptoms are:

  • A new, continuous cough
  • High temperature
  • Tiredness

Helping safely

To ensure that you remain safe while volunteering you should:

  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Stay at least two meters away from others
  • Stay out of people’s homes
  • Let family and friends know what you’re doing

This will help prevent the spread of coronavirus to yourself and the people you’re helping.

Ways you can help

Food shopping for vulnerable people

Food shopping for vulnerable people

Simply asking your neighbors if they’d like any help with food shopping and errands is a great way to help those in need or key workers – you can slip a note through their door to say that you’re available to help out.   

These people may be unable to leave their homes due to their vulnerability and it can often be difficult for these people to get online supermarket delivery slots due to extremely high demand. 

Alternatively, Mutual Aid groups have been set up by local residents on Facebook. If you live in the UK, you can search for your local group here. These groups will help you connect with vulnerable people who need errands running. These might range from a weekly food shop, a dog walk or collecting medication or prescriptions.

Stay in touch over the phone

Social isolation, particularly for elderly people, can be extremely lonely. Just speaking to an elderly or vulnerable person over the phone can make them feel less alone. To do this, you can sign up as a ‘check in and chat’ volunteer for the NHS.

To start off with you’ll be asked to do a one-off phone call, but you can choose to extend this to ongoing (i.e. weekly or monthly) support if you wish. You will also be able to contact the support team if you need answers to any questions raised.

Helping out at your local foodbank

Volunteer at your local foodbank

Foodbanks currently need extra volunteers at this time to help sort and pack donations in their warehouse, collect donations from supermarkets and deliver food to people. You can find out how to volunteer in your area here.

If you’re looking to donate, make a food donation to your local foodbank or supermarket collection point. You can also make a one off or regular financial donation

Volunteer for the NHS

The NHS has put out a call for NHS Volunteer Responders. This is a new group set up by the NHS to carry out simple, non-medical tasks to support people in England who are isolating because of underlying health conditions.

If you join the NHS Volunteer Responders, you will be doing simple tasks such as driving people to and from the hospital; delivering food and medication; transporting equipment and supplies and making regular phone calls to check on people who are isolating at home.

Other ways to volunteer

There are plenty of charities looking for volunteers at the moment. Find out about volunteering in your local area using the Volunteer Centre or the Do-it website.

Reach Volunteering help match people’s professional skills to charities that need help in these areas. This is a great way for students to help out, while also gaining some work experience.

Any charity donations will also be greatly appreciated at this time, especially since fundraising events have most likely been cancelled. Donate to local charities here.

Donate to the Coronavirus support effort

Donate to the NHS

Donate directly to the National Emergencies Trust here. The money will be distributed to local recognized charities in the form of small grants across the UK.

You can donate to support NHS staff and volunteers here. Funds generated will be given to member NHS charities supporting the health and emotional wellbeing of those working and volunteering in the NHS.

The money will help cover accommodation, travel, parking and volunteer expenses, as well as support the longer term mental and rehabilitation of NHS staff, volunteers, patients and carers and help patients recover.

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This article was originally published in April 2020 . It was last updated in February 2021

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