The UK’s Health Secretary Matt Hancock put out a call on Tuesday for 250,000 volunteers across the country to sign up to help support the National Health Service during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
By the afternoon on Wednesday, more than 400,000 people had signed up to do their bit to support their communities, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a press conference.
The helpers are being recruited to support the estimated 1.5 million people in the UK who are most at risk from the virus and who will be self-isolating at home.
The extraordinary response shows that people in the UK are clearly keen to step in and do something to help while we deal with the pandemic.
Volunteers will do things like drive patients to and from appointments, deliver medicines to people so they don’t have to go out to the pharmacy, and bring patients home from hospital.
Volunteers without their own form of transport to do those kinds of tasks can still take part by signing up to make regular phone calls to people who are isolating at home, in a nationwide effort to check up on the most vulnerable people.
How you can help
People aged 18 or over, in good health, and without coronavirus symptoms can sign up online. Once checks have gone through and you have received a “starter pack” of information and guidance, volunteers then find local tasks through an app called the GoodSAM Responder App – after logging in to say they're “on duty”.
The sign-up information on the NHS website reassures readers that volunteer safety is a priority.
“The majority of tasks can be undertaken while social distancing and volunteers will receive guidance through our 'getting started pack,'" it says. Anyone tasked with driving patients to hospital will go through an enhanced DBS check too.
You can find out more about Global Citizen's campaign against coronavirus Together At Home and start taking meaningful action to support the urgent global response here.
You can see all of Global Citizen's COVID-19 coverage here.