Volunteer as a Barnsley community responder

Starting in March 2020 we asked residents if they could help volunteer their time, no matter how big or small, to make a vital difference in our communities during these difficult times.

We've been very fortunate with the number of people offering to help and registering to become a Barnsley community responder, and we now have more volunteers available than we currently need.

Due to this, we're not accepting new volunteer registrations at the moment, but we'll open this again in the future if needed. Please keep checking this web page to see if you're able to register.

We’re working to make sure that we put our existing volunteers in contact with those who need it most, using their skills to help others during this time. We're also identifying those who are most at risk in our communities to make sure we can provide targeted support. 

Guidance for volunteers

Public Health England (PHE) have published guidance on how to help people safely.

This is aimed at people who are providing essential support to friends, family and neighbours who are in isolation.

Frequently asked questions

What are community responders?

We know there are many people who want to offer their time to help others through a time of crisis. People can volunteer informally within local neighbourhoods (in which case there's no need to contact us) or through a more structured and targeted route to assist providers who may not be able to cope due to increased demand or staff shortages.

What age restrictions are there on volunteering?

Anyone over the age of 18 could apply to become a community responder. We have a variety of roles, so are able to find a great opportunity for people based on their skills and abilities.

Do I need a DBS check to volunteer?

No, unless you will be undertaking some specific roles that require it. Please tell us if you have a DBS so we can match you to these volunteer roles.

Can I just come out and help locally, rather than needing to have registered as a community responder?

Yes! We encourage people to take sensible steps to look after each other in our communities.

How many hours can I volunteer for?

We’re happy for you to give as much or as little as your time as a volunteer as every little bit makes a big difference to communities. There's a range of volunteering opportunities that can be carried out at times that are convenient for you.

When can I start volunteering?

If you’ve registered as a volunteer already, when we reach a stage where your support is required we'll contact you to discuss specific roles. It may be some time before you're contacted depending on how well existing services are able to cope.

We'll give you as much notice as possible. You may be contacted at short notice, but if you're unable to help just say so; this is completely voluntary and there's no pressure on you to say yes.

What protection is there for me if I choose to volunteer?

You'll be provided with PPE (personal protective equipment) relative to the role you're asked to undertake. A written briefing will also be provided to all volunteers. Please always continue to follow the NHS advice in terms of good hand hygiene.

What volunteering roles are required?

At present services are largely meeting demand as part of their business as usual arrangements. As such, we can't be certain with what support may be required in future, but it may include:

  • calling people for a chat so they don’t get too lonely;
  • delivering food and care packages or doing shopping;
  • delivering medicines and equipment that people might need;
  • working alongside care services (if you have the right skills and qualifications);
  • administrative support.

I have specific skills and experience; can I use them?

We have a range of volunteering opportunities for people with different skills and experience – everyone really does have something to bring. When registering as a community responder we asked questions about training and qualifications which will help us to make sure that our volunteer’s skills are best placed.

Will I be paid?

You will not be paid when you are volunteering. However, you may be entitled to claim expenses back.

Can I claim my expenses?

Yes, you'll be entitled to claim for any expenses, including reasonable travel costs and car parking. When discussing volunteering opportunities the team will be able to talk to you about costs that can be reimbursed in your activities.

What car insurance do I need?

You must inform your insurance company that you will be using your vehicle whilst volunteering (business use). In most cases, as this is not a regular day to day role but an ad-hoc response, there should not be an additional charge.

Will I be expected to go into people's homes?

There will be a wide range of opportunities available. Where suitable, some roles may involve visiting residents at home. However, this will be discussed with you by the volunteering team, so please let us know if you're uncomfortable with entering people’s home.

Will I receive training?

You'll not be asked to do anything that is beyond your skills, capabilities and training. You'll receive a written briefing and induction training as appropriate.

What if I become ill and can longer help out?

If you become ill, please let us know as soon as possible and withdraw yourself from further volunteering until you've fully recovered. Once you've fully recovered you'll be able to volunteer.