As part of Student Volunteering week this year the Volunteering Board compiled a list of volunteering opportunities that are accessible from the comfort of your own home. Whether it’s befriending or tutoring I am sure everyone will find opportunities that match their skills and interests. Lastly, we also wanted to highlight both Mile End and Barts volunteering groups that hold regular online events ranging from training sessions to fundraisers.
East London Cares – A community organisation connecting younger and older local residents. Adapting to the lockdown circumstances the charity has a number of projects for potential volunteers. Currently, you can volunteer as a virtual/phone-in volunteer as part of East London Cares social clubs/Love your neighbour scheme or write letters to your older neighbours to help combat loneliness. If you’re interested in this opportunity, follow this sign-up link: https://eastlondoncares.org.uk/get-involved
Age UK – A charity helping older people make the most of their life. They offer a range of volunteering opportunities both remote and on-site. You could sign up to their Silver Connects volunteering (long-term commitment, requires training) and help an older person access services/activities by talking to third parties on their behalf. They are currently receiving very high numbers of applications, alternatively you could sign up to their newsletter where they advertise new volunteering opportunities: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/get-involved/volunteer/volunteering-enquiry/
London nightline – run by students for students an anonymous listening service where you can volunteer as a hotline volunteer (you need to commit to a minimum of 12 shifts, requires training). At the moment, you can join the February training information waitlist: https://nightline.org.uk/volunteering/hotline-volunteers/
Food Cycle – fighting food poverty and social isolation Food Cycle also has an opportunity as a phone-in volunteer where you call Food Cycle meal recipients a chat with them for around 20 minutes to help combat lockdown isolation. This role also requires some training, and you need to commit to make at least 4, 15–20-minute calls each week. Sign up here: https://www.foodcycle.org.uk/get-involved/volunteer/check-in-phone-volunteer/
Bookmark – a reading charity where you can volunteer to support a primary school child who needs extra support with their reading. You need to commit to two 30-minute reading sessions for the duration of the programme (usually six weeks), currently the sessions take place online via the charity’s own app. You can find out more and sign-up here: https://www.bookmarkreading.org/
The Access Project – a charity helping students from disadvantaged backgrounds, you can volunteer as a tutor for one hour a week during term time and help a student by supporting them and helping them with your favourite subject. You can apply here: https://www.theaccessproject.org.uk/volunteer
Imperial War Museum – the museum is looking for people who can transcribe historical documents and verify their records i.e., war diaries: https://www.iwm.org.uk/volunteer/hours
Missing Maps – as part of this collaborative project you can help map areas affected by natural disasters and help the humanitarian response: https://www.missingmaps.org/
Zoological Society of London (Instant wild) – help tag animals on photos and videos in this citizen project to help ZSL scientists identify and save wildlife: https://instantwild.zsl.org/
Other volunteering opportunities
Connection Hub – charity focused on helping refugees and asylum seekers gain skills and confidence to secure a job/start their own business. Connection Hub is currently launching a Student without Borders group and is looking for university students to run online classes for their Students for Students: Online Classes campaign. This is a fundraising based opportunity where you can help raise money for the charity by running online classes (these could range from sports to crafts based sessions). You can sign up for the Student without Borders campaign here: https://www.connectionhub.org.uk/students-without-borders-launch/
Translators without borders – if you fluently speak more than one language you could help translate a number of documents for various projects including crisis response across the globe. To become a translator, apply here: https://translatorswithoutborders.org/volunteer/
Be my eyes – by downloading an app and signing up as a volunteer you can help visually impaired people with their daily tasks via visual assistance. You can read more about this opportunity here: https://www.bemyeyes.com/language/english
United Nations – UN volunteering has a number of opportunities from translation, art and design to research and outreach-based roles. These are also of various times commitments and skill requirements. Here’s a list of their current open opportunities: https://www.onlinevolunteering.org/en/opportunities
If you’re looking for opportunities provided by student-run volunteering groups you could sign-up for weekly First-Aid training sessions with St John Ambulance (https://www.qmsu.org/groups/6875/) or apply to be a consultant with 180 degrees Consulting (https://www.qmsu.org/groups/180dcqueenmary/) and help a local charity with their business plan/financial sustainability and more. Or if you are based in Barts and The London, SAMDA are currently recruiting to start their in school buddy system, (https://www.qmsu.org/groups/samda/).
If you are looking for more opportunities head over to the QMSU volunteering “Find an opportunity” page (https://www.qmsu.org/volunteering/) and don’t forget to create a volunteering profile by clicking “How do I get started?” on the QMSU volunteering page (https://www.qmsu.org/volunteering/getinvolved/) to receive the volunteering newsletter.