At the weekend, the NHS began to contact 1.5 million people deemed at “very high risk” of serious illness if they caught coronavirus, including those with serious asthma and other lung conditions, some cancer patients, and those on immunosuppressant drugs.

Last night, they announced that an ‘army’ of volunteers was needed, who can help support the people who are at most risk from the virus to stay well.

The health secretary, Matt Hancock, announced that the government was seeking 250,000 volunteers to help the NHS during the coronavirus outbreak.

Within 24 hours, over 405,000 people have already signed up. Around 11,000 former medics have also agreed to return to the health service, and more than 24,000 final year student nurses and medics will be joining them.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said today that the volunteers would play an “absolutely crucial” role in fighting the virus.

It means that doctors, nurses and other professionals will be able to refer people to NHS Volunteer Responders and be confident that they have been matched with a reliable, named volunteer.

Once you have registered with the programme and checks are complete, you will be provided a log-in to the GoodSAM Responder app.

Switch the app to ‘on duty’, and you’ll see live and local volunteer tasks to pick from nearby.

Ways to help

Four types of volunteers are listed on the NHS page:

  • Community response volunteers: This role involves collecting shopping, medication or other essential supplies for someone who is self-isolating. The volunteer would also deliver these supplies to their home.
  • Patient transport volunteer: This position supports the NHS by providing transport to patients who are medically fit for discharge, and ensuring they are settled safely back in to their home.
  • NHS transport volunteer: This role involves transporting equipment, supplies and/or medication between NHS services and sites. It may also involve assisting pharmacies with medication delivery.
  • Check-in and chat volunteer: These volunteers will provide short-term telephone support to individuals who are at risk of loneliness as a consequence of self-isolation.

How to volunteer

Volunteers must be 18 or over, and fit and well with no symptoms.

Those in higher-risk groups (including those over 70, those who are pregnant or with underlying medical conditions) will be able to offer support by telephone.

The majority of tasks can be undertaken while social distancing and volunteers will receive guidance through a “getting started pack”.

Sign up using the form below.

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