SU Volunteering Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

Last updated: 08/04/20
SU Volunteering is currently closed for the Easter break between Thursday 9th April and Thursday 23rd April


SU Volunteering Team

As per the Government and SU advice, the volunteering team is now working from home. But we will remain open and you can contact us via email at or follow us on Facebook and Twitter. If you should need support or advice then feel free to get in touch.

COVID-19 volunteering response

Due to the rapidly evolving circumstances in response to COVID-19, this page will continue to be updated as and when new guidance is released. Please check back regularly for accurate and current information about volunteering, that complies with national guidance.

There’s a high chance that volunteering will be far from people’s minds at the moment, and that’s completely understandable. Being healthy, and keeping loved ones safe, will undoubtedly be at the forefront of everyone’s priorities and our thoughts are with anyone who has been affected either in the UoN community or outside it.

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations has created some key information and advice for charities and volunteers, during this pandemic. Please read it here.

Advice for students wanting to help

We appreciate many are wanting to help out right now, which is incredible. If you choose to undertake any volunteering, here are some things to consider:

  • It is important that you prioritise your studies first and foremost when finding the right balance, as giving your time in this way will not satisfy the requirements for extenuating circumstances during exams. 

  • Helping out your neighbours continues to be the best way to support your local community, as advised by the government. This is not just vulnerable people but also includes medical workers and other key workers who may be stretched during these times. Remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint – your help will be even more crucial in a few weeks' time. For now, the best thing to do is to check in on neighbours and follow these guidelines.

  • Online volunteering remains an option for anyone interested. We've pulled together some options which include making a card for a child in the hospital or playing games online to raise money for charities - whatever you do you’ll be changing lives. These opportunities are very convenient at the present time. Find out more under 'Micro Volunteering' here.

  • Caution to anyone who wants to set up a group to provide volunteering support right now. This can lead to individuals or groups encountering more legal responsibilities and the laws around this can be quite complicated. 

  • We highly recommend you follow the advice that’s been provided by UoN and NHS and do not take undue risks with your personal health. 

  • If you do want to volunteer, to keep yourself and others safe we recommend you volunteer through experienced organisations. Please see 'How can I help?' section below

  • Safeguarding vulnerable people is everybody's responsibility so please watch this video from Waltham Forest Council and bear it in mind with any volunteering you undertake to keep people safe.

How can I help?

We have been contacted by several students asking how they can help during this pandemic. We are currently exploring with our community and partner organisations what opportunities are available. All relevant opportunities will be added to the list below which will be updated on a daily basis. 

Volunteering nationally

NHS Volunteers

The health secretary has announced the government is seeking 250,000 volunteers to help the NHS during the coronavirus outbreak.NHS volunteer responders can be called upon to do simple but vital tasks such as, driving and making regular calls.
When signing up, you will be asked for your name, contact details, if you have a current DBS check and to upload a form of ID e.g. your passport, driving license. If you want to sign up, click here

Age UK neighbourly postcards - Join the UK's largest charity for the elderly. Take part in neighbourly volunteering and help support older people who are staying at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic by making a postcard to offer help. To get started, just watch this short video.

British Red Cross - By becoming a community reserve volunteer, you will help your community get back on track in the event of a major local emergency. This may be particularly important right now and we are working with the authorities to support the Covid-19 response in the best possible way. To be a community reserve volunteer, click here.

If you have gone back home, but still want to help, contact your local Volunteer CentreCVS or visit the Do-it website. They can help you find out where your help is most urgently needed. 

Your local foodbank may appreciate donations. They may also need people to help with deliveries for those who can't leave the house. You can find more information on this on The Trussell Trust and Fareshare websites.

Volunteering in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire

NCVS Coronavirus in Nottingham Response volunteer 
NCVS are the central point of contact for essential volunteer roles in coordination with Nottingham City Council during the pandemic. They have 4 essential roles listed below that will make a huge difference. and you can register to help here

  • Telephone befriender

  • Dog walker

  • Delivery cyclist

  • Delivery driver

Age UK Nottingham - Age UK Nottingham are currently putting together a database of local volunteers that are wanting to support older people during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are remaining in Nottingham during this pandemic and would like to offer your support please click here.

Emmanuel House – Emmanuel house is a homelessness charity and continues to provide support services and empowerment to homeless, vulnerable and isolated adults in Nottingham. Because of COVID-19 they're not in a position to collect their usual donations like food, toiletries and clothing but anyone wanting to support them in their continued operations during this incredibly difficult time can make a cash donation via their fundraising page here.


Framework is a Nottingham charity tackling issues of homelessness, addiction, mental ill-health and unemployment since 2001. They urgently need volunteers to support homeless people living in their hostels and vulnerable people in our community who rely on Framework's support. They urgently need:

  • Volunteers willing to drive and make essential deliveries to Framework's services and service users. To sign up, click here

  • Volunteers to support staff and service users of Framework's services. To sign up, click here

  • Donations of non-perishable food, soap, towels, toiletries and cleaning products. Full information can be found here.

Donations and charity appeals

Local charities are appealing for urgent donations and supplies. By supporting the appeals listed here you can be sure your money, or other donations, will reach the mot vulnerable and those truly in need. 

You can also support The Robin Hood Fund, a new fund which has been set up in Nottingham to help support the most vulnerable in the cityduring the COVID-19 crisis. 

Volunteering in Derby

The Derby Food Forum Network 

It is important that the network of local food banks continue to provide for those in need. You can help by providing a financial donation to sustain the supply of food and cleaning materials. If you want to help, please click here

Derby Community Action are coordinating volunteers and can be contacted via 01332 640000 if you would like to register to help with them. 

Staying safe when supporting others

It’s important to stay safe when supporting others. Use the following instructions created by NCVO:

  • Let family and friends know what you are doing and where you are going

  • Support family, friends and neighbours by phone or video call

  • Stay at least two metres or about three steps away from people you’re helping

  • Offer to run errands for people but stay outside of people’s homes

  • Keep washing your hands, often, for 20 seconds

  • Don’t take on too much as it’s often better not to offer at all than to let someone down

  • If you’re trying to help someone with very serious issues then don’t be afraid to flag with appropriate statutory services

What about my current volunteering?

If you are currently volunteering for an organisation it is likely they’ll be providing information for what the next steps are and how beneficiaries, staff and volunteers can stay healthy. It’s important that you listen to what you’re being told and follow instructions. Feel free to ask questions but please appreciate that volunteer managers might be hearing from lots of people and may need a short amount of time to consider the best response so please be as patient and calm as possible. Also, this is a rapidly changing situation and ensuring that you look out for communications from the charities that you are volunteering for is also important.

You may decide, for whatever reason, that you do not wish to continue volunteering. That’s understandable and it’s your right to do make that decision. However, we ask you to communicate this clearly with the charity to update them will give them a huge amount of help. Additionally, they will find it easier to cover your responsibilities if you give them as much notice as possible.






Contact Details

Students' Union
Portland Building
University Park
Opening hours

Tel : 0115 846 8800

9am - 5pm
Monday to Friday