Volunteering at Home

SCA is an organisation centred around community. As the COVID-19 Pandemic continues, the effect on our communities, wherever they may be, is significant. However, there is always a way to help others and, right now, your support has the potential to make a real difference. Whilst all of our face-to-face projects are on hold and social interactions dangerous, we must zoom out, consider ‘community’ in a wider sense and get a little more creative about how we can support people, for their benefit, but also for your own personal well-being. Volunteering, in whatever form, can be a fantastic tool to feel connected with others, so what better time to get involved?

Check out some of our ideas for from-home volunteering below. We’d love to hear from you about anything you’ve been upto to support others during this difficult time. Do stay in contact and email caroline@cambridgesca.org.uk with your volunteering updates whether they are organised by us or not. It helps and inspires us to learn from our fantastic volunteer base

If you are already matched with a one-to-one client, writing letters/postcards to vulnerable people or those self-isolating or better still, organise to call or video-call them if you have permission to access their contact details. Alternatively, why not try making small home-made gifts for people like knitted socks, stress balls or friendship bracelets. Such small gestures are fun for you and can really brighten people’s day.

From Home Volunteering Ideas

- Alzheimer's Society Dementia Friends - A national initiative that aims to change the way we think, act and talk about dementia. Dementia Friends are invited to learn about what dementia is, what living with the condition is like and about the small ways in which everyone can help. https://www.dementiafriends.org.uk/register-digital-friend

- Alzheimer's Society Gamechangers Project - If you like helping the scientific community AND playing fun phone games, why not do both by downloading the Alzheimer's society app and taking part in their experiment which involves playing games for 5 minutes every day for a month. Sounds better than endless scrolling to me! https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/research/play-your-part/gamechanger

- Amnesty Decoders - Amnesty Decoders is an innovative platform for volunteers around the world to use their computers or phones to help our researchers sift through pictures, information and documents in the pursuit of human rights. https://decoders.amnesty.org/#current-project

- Be My Eyes - If you are a sighted person and have access to a smartphone, you could volunteer as a helper for blind and partially sighted individuals through the ‘Be My Eyes’ app, which uses life video call to support people in everyday tasks. https://www.bemyeyes.com/

- Cambridge Online Digital Champion - If you’ve made it to this webpage in one piece you probably have some digital skills. Use your time to share your digital skills with those who need them. Teaching someone to shop online or use video call can have a long lasting effect on their connectedness and wellbeing. Volunteering takes place over the phone or by email. https://do-it.org/opportunities/f776e929-5c89-4e46-8e17-eef3ba98d55b

- Change.org (and similar petition websites) - You can make a difference with just one click by signing online petitions. There are many related to improving conditions for during the pandemic, and many other causes that you can choose to support by signing. https://www.change.org/

- COVID Symptom Tracker - Help slow the spread of COVID-19 and identify at risk cases sooner by self-reporting your symptoms daily, even if you feel well. https://covid.joinzoe.com/

- E-Bird - If you are lucky enough to have access to a garden, or even a view of some outdoor space, why not put your mindful birdwatching to good use and support wildlife research while doing it. https://ebird.org/home

- Free Rice - Take micro-volunteering quizzes organised by the UN. For every correct answer you submit you will donate 10 rice grains to the UN World Food Programme. https://freerice.com/

- Knitting, Crochet and Sewing for Charity - Yarn crafts are a soothing way to pass some hours whilst stuck in at home. Why not let your creations do some good and donate them to a good cause? https://www.saga.co.uk/magazine/home-garden/craft-hobbies/crafting/sewin...

- Missing Maps - Each year, disasters around the world kill nearly 100,000 and affect or displace 200 million people. Many of the places where these disasters occur are literally 'missing' from any map and first responders lack the information to make valuable decisions regarding relief efforts. Missing Maps is an open, collaborative project in which you can help to map areas where humanitarian organisations are trying to meet the needs of vulnerable people. https://www.missingmaps.org/

- NHS Volunteer Responder Check in and Chat Volunteering - NHS Volunteer Responders has been set up to support the NHS and the care sector during the COVID-19 outbreak. To do this we need an 'army' of volunteers who can support the 1.5m people in England who are at most risk from the virus to stay well. This role provides short-term telephone support to individuals who are at risk of loneliness as a consequence of self-isolation. https://www.goodsamapp.org/NHS

- Phrase Detectives - If you love language and literature, become a ‘Phrase Detective’ and play online games to improve language technology for future generations. http://anawiki.essex.ac.uk/phrasedetectives/index.php

- Post Pals - A small charity dedicated to brightening the lives of seriously ill children by sending them uplifting letters, art and small gifts via the post. https://www.postpals.co.uk/

- Project Implicit - Help break down stereotypes by contributing to research investigating implicit bias online by taking some simple tests. https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/aboutus.html

- Togetherness Virtual Coffee Groups - "Togetherness" is an online collective of people running virtual coffee sessions to combat loneliness. Perhaps you are feeling the effects of self-isolation on your mental health. Perhaps you'd like to support those who are. Or perhaps you'd simply like to to make some friends and enjoy a hot mug of something while having a good ol' natter - the older attendees tend to really enjoy having some younger members to chat too. Either-way, attending a virtual coffee morning is a sustainable action you can take to help. 
https://www.facebook.com/TogethernessRMY

-UN Online Volunteers - The United Nations volunteer programme contributes to peace and development through volunteerism worldwide. Online volunteering allows organisations and volunteers to team up to address sustainable development challenges – anywhere in the world from any device. https://www.onlinevolunteering.org/en

- Zooniverse - The Zooniverse enables everyone to take part in real cutting edge research in many fields across the sciences, humanities, and more. The Zooniverse creates opportunities for you to unlock answers and contribute to real discoveries. https://www.zooniverse.org/

- ZSL Instant Wild Project - ZSL’s Instant Wild empowers you to take part in vital conservation work by bringing you LIVE images and videos from amazing locations all around the world for you to identify. You don’t need any special expertise to take part, simply sign up and start tagging the animals in the images. Your involvement will not only contribute to conservation but you’ll also get a window into the some of the world’s wildest places. What rare species will you find? https://instantwild.zsl.org/intro

If you get involved in any of the opportunities above, we’d really love to be informed as it helps us know how we’re doing. Also, if you have been involved in any other from-home opportunities, we’d love to know what you've been up to so we can help inspire other volunteers to participate. Simply email caroline@cambridgesca.org.uk.