Threefold increase in people volunteering for charities during pandemic, figures indicate

The charity Reach Volunteering says it had 2,100 new people register on its site in April and May, about three times the number that did so in the same period last year

A charity shop volunteer (Photograph: Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)
A charity shop volunteer (Photograph: Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)

A charity volunteering site has experienced a threefold rise in people coming forward to volunteer, in what it has described as a “silver-lining” of the pandemic.

Reach Volunteering said 2,100 new people registered to volunteer on its site between April and May, compared with 750 people in the same period last year.

The total number of volunteers registered on the website is 11,172, up from about 8,000 at the start of April.

With a weekly average of 240 new applicants, compared to 83 a week last spring, the rate of sign-ups is three times what the charity normally expects.

Reach connects volunteers who have at least three years’ experience in their field of expertise with roles posted by charities on its digital platform. 

There is no charge for volunteers to register or apply and the service is free for charities to use in most instances.

Charities can post covid-related opportunities using a selection of templates and search through the database of volunteers.

As well as the upsurge in the number of volunteers offering their help, Reach said it had seen a surge in small and medium-sized charities calling on it for advice in areas such as transferring face-to-face services online.

Janet Thorne, chief executive of Reach, said the shock of the coronavirus outbreak could have a lasting positive effect if it meant charities were more willing to access skilled volunteers to help them through challenging times.

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