Volunteering round-up: December 2020

Welcome to the December volunteering round-up, our last one of 2020. This has been a been a hard and unique year in global history. NCVO would like to say a heartfelt thank you to each of you that have either volunteered, or stood up for volunteers, or have offered any kindness and support to those affected by covid.

Updated Knowhow covid guidance

We’ve updated our coronavirus Involving Volunteers guidance to help you be clear about the new tiered system that came into effect on 2 December.

International Volunteer Day, 5 December #IVD2020

Once again International Volunteer Day is almost upon us. This is a United Nations day of global recognition for volunteers and this year the theme is #TogetherWeCan. Join in on social media and please use the hashtags #IVD2020 #TogetherWeCan and share the blue heart emoji to convey a positive feeling of solidarity and compassion toward volunteers.

Covid-19 Voluntary Sector Impact Barometer

We have published our latest findings from the Response, recover, reset: the voluntary sector and COVID-19 November 2020 in a colourful report. The report highlights findings from the second phase of our barometer survey and explores the impact that covid is having on the sector. The third phase of the barometer survey opened for organisations on the 27 November and will close on 11 December. Tell us how covid is impacting your organisation, staff, services, volunteers. You will find the link to the next phase of the barometer here along with the report findings and interactive dashboard.

Secure, fast, auditable, online reimbursement of volunteer expenses

vHelp is the handy app that helps organisations make quick, secure and low-cost transfers to reimburse volunteers’ expenses. The easy-to-use system is designed to save charities and community groups time and money. vHelp spoke to 30 charities and found it cost them as much as £18 in administration costs to process a single £6 expense claim. Using the vHelp Expenses app, this cost falls to less than £1. vHelp Expenses also provides a complete audit trail and links with accounting software, making it easier to monitor amounts and types of expenses. Speedy repayment means that volunteers are not left out of pocket for long periods of time. Charities and voluntary groups that sign up to vHelp Expenses before 1 January 2021 will access the app for free, for an initial two-month trial.

NHS Volunteer Responder webinar – join the last one of 2020!

Throughout autumn, NHS England/Improvement have been running webinars to familiarise health care bodies and the voluntary sector with the NHS Volunteer Responder programme,  and how it is adapting to the needs of those who require support due to Covid. The webinars are a great place to ask questions, especially if you wish to refer volunteers or want to know how work in partnership with the service. All webinars will be held on Microsoft Teams. Catch the last one of 2020, however there will be further dates announced in January.


The National Lottery Community Fund, together with ITV and STV have launched a campaign aimed at the public called Miss Out to Help Out to encourage people to miss their favourite TV programme (or watch it on catch up!) and volunteer instead. The website contains ideas of how to help and do so safely. Please do remember that for any level of tier across England, volunteering should only happen outside of the home if a person cannot volunteer from their home, and if they are not self-isolating and no one in their household has tested positive for covid. Clinically extremely vulnerable people are currently advised to volunteer from home.

Disclosure and Barring Service update

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) have announced new filtering rules which will affect all Standard and Enhanced DBS certificates issued on or after 28 November 2020. The new rules will result in less being disclosed on certificates, particularly for young people; youth cautions, reprimands and warnings will not be automatically disclosed. Unlock, the charity that campaigns for people with convictions who face stigma and barriers because of their criminal record, have published this blog explaining how the changes will enable greater inclusion.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in Heritage Volunteering

NCVO has been supporting Heritage Volunteering Group with developing their EDI offer. This is part of HVG’s strategy Creating Connections, 2019-2022. Our EDI work is in the early stages and we have formed a small but dedicated EDI working group. View our EDI masterclass where members of the working group set the context for the work and explain their motivations.

If you want to make the heritage sector more diverse and inclusive, why not come to one of our no-strings meetings? We meet bi-monthly for an hour and are currently planning our activities. We’re meeting in January, email: jarina.choudhury@ncvo.org.uk for details.

Accelerate your impact with volunteers

Did you know that the NHS engages 78,000 volunteers every year across different services? For the past 18 months NHS England/Improvement, Helpforce and Royal Voluntary Service have funded and supported a Volunteering Innovators programme, delivered by 10 NHS Trusts. Helpforce have produced a summary report showing what happens when volunteers are integrated into health and care services.

NCVO training

From 2021, our popular Good Practice in Volunteer Management will take place over two half days from 10.00 to 13:00. You need to attend both days because they are two parts of one course. Book your place here.

January course

  • Session 1: Tuesday 19 January
  • Session 2: Thursday 21 January

February course

  • Session 1: Tuesday 16 February
  • Session 2: Wednesday 17 February

March course

  • Session 1: Tuesday 16 March
  • Session 2: Wednesday 17 March

We are also running a course called Project Management in the Voluntary Sector. For more information and dates from January to March, click here.

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Jarina is our volunteering development consultancy officer. Jarina develops consultancy and training services with the aim of improving volunteering practice across the public, private and voluntary sectors.

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