Over 12million Brits have volunteered during coronavirus pandemic

Over 12million Brits have volunteered during coronavirus pandemic

February 28, 2021

MORE than 12million generous Brits have volunteered during the coronavirus pandemic – over a third for the first time, vast new research shows.

Battling Covid-19 brought communities together like never before, including a wave of first-time volunteers who had previously never given their time for others.

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It underlines why The Sun’s Jabs Army campaign has been such a big success, attracting over 50,000 volunteers to help out for free at vaccination centres across the UK.

The latest findings come from the UK’s biggest-ever public survey of what unites and divides society, which are published in full tomorrow.

Over nine months from March 2020, the Talk/Together campaign quizzed nearly 160,000 people from across the UK.

It unearthed ‘Covid’s positive legacy’ – including a new army of volunteers who are ready to step up again post-coronavirus.

Many respondents said they wanted the feel-good factor to become a permanent fixture across Britain.

And they include new volunteers from social groups who previously were less likely to give time before.

Research found some 770,000 people aged 18-24 and 740,000 people who live in the poorest fifth of neighbourhoods volunteering for the first time in 2020 and who are interested in volunteering again.

Harry Felstead-Solley, 19, from Lincs, became an NHS Volunteer Responder after getting furloughed from his butcher job.

He now works at a Covid-19 test centre and hopes to start a career with the NHS later this year.

And Kim Harvey, 31, from Portsmouth, Hants, supports vulnerable locals in her community after getting furloughed from her recruitment consultant job.

She said: “Volunteering makes you take stock of the situation you are in, and realise how lucky and fortunate you are. There are some people that have no one to ask for help or even talk to.

“Many people undervalue the huge difference a phone call or conversation with someone who is lonely and isolated can have.”

The Talk/Together research found some six per cent of UK adults, 300,000 people, had already volunteered with a charity within seven days of the first lockdown in March last year.

More than 750,000 people also signed up as NHS volunteers.

Sign up at nhsvolunteerresponders.org.uk

Jill Rutter, who led the Talk/together research, said: “One of the few positives we can take from Covid-19 is how the public responded, with millions of people stepping up to help neighbours and vulnerable people in their community, or giving their time to support the NHS and local foodbanks.

“With 4.6 million people volunteering for the first time and keen to do so again, there is massive potential to harness this positive legacy. You can achieve a lot with four million people helping out.

“We know that volunteering helps people feel more connected to their community and offers a chance to meet new people from different backgrounds too – so this surge in volunteering could help to build closer and more connected communities as we come out of lockdown.”

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