Why volunteer from home?
The benefits of volunteering from home are immense, especially at this challenging time. It is a way of engaging with something you care about, provides vital help, supports communities and is something you can build into the structure of your day. It has great mental health benefits too as it can reduce stress, keep your mind focused on something that interests you and provide a sense of purpose.
Providing telephone and online support from home
We are helping established organisations to find volunteers, including:
The Space, a youth charity in Cheddar, is seeking qualified counsellors who can offer a telephone or online service to young people aged between 13 and 8 years by phone or email.
Mind in Somerset is seeking volunteers to help with their Mindline mental health support line, full training and support is given.
Marie Curie is looking for volunteers to provide emotional and bereavement support by telephone to families and carers of people at the end of their lives. Full training is provided.
CAB South Somerset is offering to train up telephone advisers at the end of April to volunteer with them once restrictions are lifted.
Supporting NHS staff with kit during coronavirus.
If you know your way round a sewing machine, then why not help a group by sewing scrubs, hats and laundry bags to be dispatched to local hospitals. Materials such as clean duvets and pillowcases are being used to make these garments for Somerset hospitals and some organisations can arrange for suitable materials to be delivered to you.
For the Love of Scrubs is a nationwide Facebook campaign supporting people to make kit for NHS staff. They have patterns available online and also a list of hospitals taking these donations. You can join their Facebook group.
Knitting or crafting for charities
Knitting or making specific items for a charity or for fundraising is a great way to support charities from home, and there is something to suit every skill level.
Reminiscence Learning is a dementia support charity in Wellington and their Archie the Scarecrow Project is an intergenerational dementia awareness project that links primary schools and care homes together. If you would like to knit an Archie for the project, the pattern can be found here. Email [email protected] or call 01823 668676 for further information.
UK Hand Knitting Association has a collection of knitting patterns and a list of charities that rely on knitters to help them raise funds and awareness of issues. Items include knitting or crocheting squares, blankets for premature babies and elephants, hats and scarves for homeless people, and toys for fundraising. Visit http://www.ukhandknitting.com/knitting-for-charity
The Zooniverse is the world’s largest platform for people-powered research, with 100 active projects and 2 million people around the world participating. Every Zooniverse project is led by a different research team, spanning a wide range of subjects that include:
- identifying planets around distant stars (planethunters.org)
- studying the impact of climate change on animals (snapshotsafari.org) and plants (floatingforests.org)
- tracking resistance to antibiotics (Bash the Bug), transcribing handwritten documents (antislaverymanuscripts.org)
- and much more!
The collective efforts of Zooniverse projects have resulted in over 200 research publications to date. No experience necessary, and there are opportunities for both adults and children. Register your interest at Zooniverse
- Instant Wild brings you live images from cameras around the world. Tag the animals to help conservation research. You can get involved HERE.
- Team up with projects from across the world and contribute to peace and development as a United Nations Virtual Volunteer. Find out how you can team up with an organisations to address sustainable development challenges, anywhere in the world, from any device. You can get involved HERE.
- Become a remote F Cancer volunteer for charities fighting cancer, and supporting those effected by the big C. Help is needed with a variety of tasks, from website design to social media support. You can get involved HERE.
- The Princes Trust is a community of online volunteers who use a flexible online platform to mentor young people. You'll support a young person who is looking for work or to start their own business. You can get involved HERE.
- Here are some more great suggestions, courtesy of Saga Magazine:
- Mentor children overseas with Granny Cloud. Men and women from across the globe read stories, sing songs and chat with children in India, Colombia, Mexico and Greenland using Skype.
- Birdwatching with a purpose with eBird. Become part of a worldwide network of birdwatchers. Your sightings contribute to hundreds of conservation decisions and academic papers and help inform global bird research.
- Map a disaster zone with Missing Maps. Help make maps to inform the relief efforts of organisations such as the Red Cross. Volunteers use satellite images and a drawing tool to mark up buildings, rivers and roads in remote areas that may not have been marked before.
- Lend someone your vision with the Be My Eyes app. Virtual volunteers can help a blind or low-vision person to go about their daily tasks. Through a live video call, you can help by checking expiry dates, read instructions, and navigate new surroundings. Find out more about these opportunities HERE.
Share and develop your professional skills
Many charities would welcome support with raising awareness of issues via social media, fundraising, or writing newsletters. You could use your professional skills for a great cause by becoming a trustee or getting involved in the Somerset Skills Bank.
We hope this has inspired you to get in touch and see how you can help a charity from the comfort of your own home.