Volunteer Ireland has seen an increase of interest from people across the country wanting to help those in need of support during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. If you are looking to volunteer during the pandemic, it is important that before signing up, you make sure you are well enough to volunteer and you can volunteer in a safe way.
How to volunteer during the coronavirus outbreak
If you want to volunteer you can:
- Sign up at i-vol.ie
- Download Volunteer Ireland’s smartphone app I-VOL (Apple Store or Google Play)
- Contact your local Volunteer Centre
Volunteer Ireland are currently experiencing a high volume of registrations so there may be a slight waiting time before they get back in touch with you. Remember that not everyone will be needed but knowing your support is there is important to organisations on the front line of the response.
How will I be able to volunteer?
If you are well enough and want to volunteer there are two main ways which you may be able to help. The first way is by contacting and registering with your local Volunteer Centre. The network of Volunteer Centres across Ireland are expecting many COVID-19 (Coronavirus) related roles registering on their database i-vol.ie in the coming days and some roles will be directly related to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) support. Other roles for volunteers may be related to helping community organisations to keep normal services running. You can also contact your local Volunteer Centre directly to speak to someone about what is needed most in your own area – you can find their information here.
The second way to help is by doing so by yourself in your own community. If you know people in your community who may be vulnerable and can contact them safely (e.g. a phone call, WhatsApp/ text message, drop a note into their door), just let them know that you are available and can help with tasks such as shopping.
It is important not to assume that someone needs help or call directly to someone’s house unannounced, as some people may be very anxious about making face to face contact, particularly if they have a medical condition or are living alone.
What if someone asks me to do something I can’t actually do?
In this case, you should let the person know that you cannot help and recommend that the Volunteer Centre may be able to assist in finding a solution.
How long will it take to be assigned a volunteer role?
Volunteer Ireland has said that not all volunteers who contact them will be assigned to a role. As they are dealing with a large volume of volunteer registrations from people interested in helping, not all offers of help will be needed during this time.
If you do not hear back from them in the next few days don’t worry, they may need support over the next few weeks but not necessarily the next few days.
Below you can find more resources while waiting to hear back from Volunteer Ireland.
- Guide to Informal Volunteering
- Volunteering Safely During COVID-19
- Volunteering During an Emergency – What to Expect
- Minding your mental health and wellbeing while volunteering during COVID-19
Is it safe for me to volunteer during the pandemic?
Your safety and limiting the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) should be your main priority, and all Volunteer Centres have asked that you follow the HSE instructions on how best to avoid the virus, both in the work environment and at home. Read Volunteer Ireland’s Safety Guide to find out more about volunteering safely during the pandemic