Your NHS calls for a volunteer army - here's how you can help

Hundreds of thousands of NHS Volunteer Responders have been supporting vulnerable people during the coronavirus pandemic. Here's how your local Healthwatch can help the volunteer efforts against COVID-19.
Two women sitting at a stand
In these extraordinary times, it’s essential that we all pull together as part of the national effort to protect the most vulnerable, reduce pressures on our NHS and care system and save lives.
— Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock

1. Tell people how they can get help

While over 750,000 people signed up to the NHS Volunteer Responder scheme, many people still don't know that it exists or how it can help them. To raise awareness of the support it can offer, tell people how they can self-refer on your social media channels. 

Example messages:

  • Do you need help from a volunteer to self-isolate due to a health condition? Contact the NHS volunteer responder scheme on 0808 196 3646.
  • Contact us if you need help registering to get support from an NHS volunteer responder. Contact us at *insert details of your Healthwatch* 
  • Are you self-isolating because of a health condition and need help? You can get support from the NHS volunteer responder scheme by contacting 0808 196 3646. If you're struggling to self-refer, give us a call at *insert number*.


Download the NHS Responder Scheme social media graphics 

2. Encourage people to continue donating blood

There is always a need for blood. The government has classed blood donation as 'essential travel'. You can help spread this message within your community and encourage donors to:

  1. Keep their appointment if they can - and if they can't, ask them to cancel so they can be replaced
  2. Make a new appointment - even if it's some months ahead
  3. Check the NHS advice about contact with coronavirus before they donate

You can find out more about the measures the NHS are taking for blood donation and coronavirus on their website.

More information

3. Join your community efforts

Make sure that you are in touch with your local authority, community and volunteer groups and other local stakeholders to see how you can all pull together to be the most effective you can be.

Healthwatch Bracknell Forest and Healthwatch Isle of Scilly are just two examples of local Healthwatch helping to co-ordinate volunteer activity in their local area.  

What are people telling you about their experiences of COVID-19?

We want to know what COVID-19 advice and information people are asking you for or issues they are raising. This is so we can spot any gaps in information, identify any issues and keep Government and the NHS informed. Let us know the issues people are raising with you.

Tell us more