COVID-19 and Volunteering
Please visit our Volunteer COVID-19 Portal – a new information page set up to provide you with volunteer information and volunteering help and support though the COVID-19 pandemic.
As lockdown eases, organisations need to think about how staff and volunteers can continue to work safely. We have sample policies and risk assessments available for you to download and use on the Volunteer COVID-19 Portal
Scottish Government advice is that remote working should remain the default for all of those who can. If your organisation has successfully moved to home working and digital service delivery this might mean that you do not need to reopen physical services or premises for some time.
In this clip Jason Leitch (National Clinical Director) discusses why the majority of offices should remain closed:
If you do decide you need to reopen you have a duty of care towards staff and volunteers. You must do all you reasonably can to support their health, wellbeing and safety.
You should talk as early as possible about any plans to return to work. ACAS recommend talking about:
- when staff might return to the workplace
- how staff will travel to and from work
- how health and safety is being reviewed and managed – you should share the your latest risk assessment
- any planned adjustments to the workplace, for example additional hand washing facilities, staggering start and finish times to avoid overcrowding or floor markings to help people keep 2 metres apart
- if there might be a phased return of the workforce, for example some staff returning before others
- working from home arrangements
ACAS also recommend consulting with trade union, employee and health and safety representatives. Employers should check any agreements they have with a trade union or employee representatives to see if they must formally consult.
Wherever possible, you should speak to staff before making a decision or putting plans in writing. This can help staff understand, and feel included in, decisions. If you are reopening premises you will need to assess risks and make the workplace safe.
Please visit the SCVO website for more information on leaving lockdown and how to support your staff and volunteers throughout.
Volunteer Centre Western Isles supports the COVID-19 response in the following ways:
- Find you a volunteer opportunity, where possible and safe to do so;
- Support to COVID-19 volunteers who have signed up to help through the Scottish Governments Ready Scotland site;
- Help to promote local volunteer roles related to the COVID-19 community response;
- Providing advice and guidance on volunteering safely when dealing with vulnerable members of the public;
- Support to community groups and organisations with volunteer management, sample policies;
- Signposting to TSIWI partners for funding advice and support;
- Communicate with local volunteers and organisations to let them know what is happening and connect them where relevant
Scotland moved to Phase 3 of the route map for coming out of lockdown on the 10 July 2020. See some key dates for future changes.
- wear a face covering
- avoid crowded places
- clean hands and surfaces regularly
- stay 2m away from other people
- self-isolate and book a test if you have COVID-19 symptoms
See what you can and cannot do to help suppress the virus.
What does this mean for volunteering?
Services which are essential are still being provided in communities. There has been a resumption of some additional volunteering, permitted under the measures outlined in Phases 1 to 3. Volunteers are encouraged to look out for their neighbours. Please ensure you heed all relevant advice around staying safe and keeping others around you safe. Check out the guidance from Ready Scotland.
Please continue to check our website news, Facebook and Instagram for the latest volunteering opportunities, updates and good practice guides.
Get in touch with any questions – we are here to help!
Meantime thank you and please Think Local, Act Local.
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If you are 25 or under, volunteer with us – you never know where it could take you! We have opportunities throughout the Outer Hebrides – tell us what you are interested in and we will help you find a volunteering opportunity. Watch local girl Eleanor Nicolson’s volunteer journey, produced by the Wee Studio.
Find out what you can offer in your local area