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Impact of COVID-19 on the NSW Volunteering Sector

In April/May 2020, the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) conducted an online survey of NSW Volunteer involving organisations (VIOS). The results are in and the Department would like to thank everyone that participated in the survey.

What you told us - Survey (PDF, 450.72 KB)

Where can I get more information on COVID-19?

NSW Government website is the most up to date source of information for COVID-19.

Where can I find translated resources?

The Ministry of Health have translated the ‘Stay at home order extended’ and the ‘No visitors allowed in your home during the stay at home order’ which are available in 58 languages.

Stay at home order extended social media tiles

No visitors allowed in your home social media tiles

Can people continue to volunteer during COVID-19?

As information is changing regularly and rules depend on location, it is best to seek information from NSW Health. Current guidelines and restrictions can be found at the NSW Government website.

Other FAQs about Volunteering during Covid

Supporting volunteers and the community during COVID-19

Volunteers may look to organisations to provide support and guidance during COVID-19. It is important that organisations respond by helping volunteers to stay connected, even if the organisation has changed its operations, or stopped operating.

You can help volunteers stay connected by:

  • encouraging volunteers within an organisation to support and check in with one another
  • providing advice to volunteers about how to move their volunteering efforts online
  • organising regular team chats or virtual meetings to help volunteers stay engaged and connected with the organisation.

How can volunteer organisations minimise transmission of COVID-19?

Practicing these simple measures recommended by NSW Health can significantly reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19:

  • wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, or use a hand sanitiser that is at least 60% alcohol
  • cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue and immediately dispose of the tissue
  • avoid touching your face and avoid direct contact with others (e.g. shaking hands or hugging)
  • routinely clean surfaces with detergent and disinfectant
  • increase the amount of fresh air by opening windows or adjusting air conditioning
  • promote the strictest hygiene among food preparation staff – see guidance on food preparation and COVID-19.
  • practice physical distancing and abide by NSW Health requirements regarding capacity limits
  • if you deliver your service in a community centre, ask the centre administration to share their COVID-19 Safety Plan with you.

Organisations and staff must observe physical distancing requirements and provide clear instructions about following good hygiene practices. Personal protective equipment is advisable where possible.

What should we do if a volunteer has symptoms of COVID-19?

The volunteer should get tested immediately and isolate until they receive a negative result.

Should volunteers who are at high risk of getting seriously ill stay home?

When deciding to volunteer or return to volunteering all individuals should consider their own health needs first. As a precautionary measure individuals may want to seek advice from a medical practitioner about whether it is safe for them to volunteer.

This is particularly important for individuals who are in the following categories:

  • people aged 70 years and over
  • people aged 65 years and over with chronic medical conditions
  • people with a compromised immune system
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples 50 years and older with one or more chronic medical conditions.

Should we change how we deliver our volunteering activities?

Volunteer organisations must abide by NSW Health directives. However, even when restrictions have been lifted organisations should still look for ways to change how they support people during the pandemic. Organisations should:

  • Use QR codes for volunteers to check in
  • follow capacity limits
  • wear facemasks indoors in line with current health orders
  • develop a COVID-19 Safety Plan
  • if your service is delivered in a community centre, ask the centre administration to share their COVID-19 Safety Plan with you
  • if your service delivers activities in schools you will need to talk with the school Principal before you recommence delivery. For more information visit the NSW Department of Education website.
  • consider continuing programs online where this is possible.

It is important for people’s mental wellbeing that they remain socially connected during this time.

How can I recruit for more volunteers during COVID-19?

You can advertise remote or online volunteering opportunities on the NSW Volunteer Recruitment Portal.

How can I volunteer to help with COVID-19?

Thank you for your interest in volunteering during this time.

The following organisations have expressed the need for more volunteers at this time. Please contact these organisations directly through the links below.

Note: Organisations are receiving a high volume of enquiries, so they may be slower than usual in replying.

We will keep this list updated so check back regularly.

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Last updated: 13 Jul 2021