How can I help?

Richmond upon Thames has an exceptional volunteering community and it is no surprise that community groups and residents across the borough are offering their support in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Please read this page to find out how you can support your neighbours and the community.

Non-perishable food and essentials needed urgently

Businesses and residents are urged to help some of the borough's older and most vulnerable residents. Find out where to give donations.

Volunteering support during the COVID-19 outbreak

Update: 20 March 2020

Thank you to everyone who has registered to support their community at this time.

We are currently working with local organisations to assess needs and priorities and this will help to identify and support the mobilisation of individuals who are able to help. Please bear with us whilst we get this process in place so that we place volunteers effectively and safely for all.

In the interim we would encourage you to consider offering your time in your own existing community circles, e.g. neighbourhood communities, church or club you are already involved in. There will be people who need support within all our circles so this would be a good starting point. Your local foodbank may also need donations.

Thank you for your understanding and patience whilst the planning is done to offer support safely and effectively.

Our approach

Richmond Council works in partnership with the Richmond Council for Voluntary Service (Richmond CVS) which supports the many voluntary and community sector organisations in the borough on a day to day basis. As such it is best placed to manage resource in accordance with volunteering safety protocols to protect the most vulnerable.

Several community organised social media groups have been set up to help aid volunteering across the borough. Whilst we applaud the community’s efforts in wanting to help, we want to ensure support is delivered to the right people, at the right time and in the right way - we must also make sure that support is delivered safely.

To ensure that support is as effective and safe as it can be, Richmond Council is centralising efforts by working in partnership with Richmond Council for Voluntary Service (Richmond CVS), AGE UK Richmond upon Thames  and other voluntary organisations.

If you want to help

If you are an individual, or business with staff who are interested in helping, we would encourage you to sign up with Richmond upon Thames’ official volunteering database with Richmond CVS.

We are aware of the many excellent groups that have formed in response to this pandemic. If you are such a group, please contact Richmond CVS to make sure you have the right processes in place to ensure the safety and wellbeing of those residents who are most vulnerable during this time.

This will allow the Council, AGE UK Richmond upon Thames and other voluntary partners to work together to effectively mobilise individuals who are able to help and match them to suitable volunteering tasks.

By registering through Richmond CVS, you will hear about volunteer opportunities to help in the coming weeks. Plans and processes around roles are being put in place by local voluntary groups so we do ask for your patience while this happens

(Please specify that you want to support the COVID-19 response).

By registering with Richmond CVS, you will be partnered with key groups who will allocate you to volunteering tasks. These may include:

  • Shopping for food/supplies
  • Delivering food/supplies to vulnerable residents
  • Picking-up and delivering prescriptions
  • Having a friendly phone conversation with those at risk of loneliness when in isolation
  • Walking dogs for those self-isolating
  • Supporting with critical transport needs
  • Helping with digital skills coaching

Other ways of helping include:

  • Donating to food banks
  • Donating money to registered charities who are supporting the vulnerable and isolated
  • Responsible social-distancing and self-isolation
  • Avoiding panic buying groceries and leaving those who are vulnerable without basic items

If you are volunteering to help someone, please take the below steps to make sure you do not contribute to the spread of coronavirus. These include:

  • If you feel at all unwell, do not volunteer to help others who are self-isolating
  • Wash your hands regularly with warm water and soap, especially before and after you deliver any items to a person in isolation
  • If you make a delivery, stay 2 meters away from the person who is in isolation at all times. Place the items outside their door and then step away.
  • Be careful about how you share personal information about yourself and other people. Avoid sharing your or a vulnerable person's address and other contact information in public groups or documents.
  • Try to support people who live close to you, so you don't travel larger distances
  • Follow public health guidance on self-isolating yourself and your family

If you need volunteers

If you are a charity or voluntary organisation in need of volunteers, please contact Richmond CVS who can help place volunteers with you.

If you are a group in the borough who has been formed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, please contact Richmond CVS to make sure you have the right processes in place to ensure the safety and wellbeing of those residents who are most vulnerable during this time.

Updated: 20 March 2020