250,000 have volunteered to help community organisations, says Navca

The umbrella body says this is an extrapolation based on data provided by a quarter of Navca's 180 members

Volunteer from the Islington Covid-19 Mutual Aid group preparing food parcels (Photograph: Kate Green/Getty Images)
Volunteer from the Islington Covid-19 Mutual Aid group preparing food parcels (Photograph: Kate Green/Getty Images)

More than a quarter of a million people have volunteered to help community organisations since the coronavirus outbreak began, new figures suggest.

The umbrella body Navca, which represents about 180 local infrastructure charities including councils for voluntary service, said about a third of those who had volunteered had been matched to local groups.

The volunteers are believed to be in addition to the more than 750,000 people who have put themselves forward to help the NHS during the Covid-19 crisis.

The figure is an extrapolation based on data provided by about a quarter of Navca members.

A Navca spokeswoman said the number was understood to be significantly higher than normal volunteering levels among such groups.

Jane Ide, chief executive of Navca, said the number of people putting themselves forward was a powerful sign that “even in the face of a crisis that affects every one of us, the human desire to help others is unquenchable”.

She said: "And it is a tribute to the work of the local sector support and development organisations across England, so often the unsung heroes of the local voluntary sector, that those volunteers are being trained, supported and deployed so effectively in the most challenging circumstances any of us could possibly imagine."

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