Volunteer to support someone in their Hour of Need

Help your local community and support the NHS during the challenge of the COVID crisis

Hour of Need is our winter campaign to encourage everyone across Britain to volunteer for an ‘hour per week’ or more through the bleak COVID winter. Many thousands of volunteers will be needed to support vulnerable people and families during the colder months, and communities will need to come together just as we did at the start of the pandemic.  If you volunteered during the first phase, please stand ready to do so again. If you’ve never volunteered before, now’s the perfect time to start.

Volunteering can give you a sense of purpose and companionship during the COVID crisis as well as giving you the opportunity to learn skills.

Younger woman wearing a face covering off to help someone in their hour of need



Get involved: How do I sign up to help someone in their hour of need?

There are lots of different ways to help, from regular and flexible volunteering, to supporting a local group, charity or the NHS. Search for a volunteer role and sign up.




Volunteer roles: what could you do in an hour?

There are many ways you can volunteer – supporting local COVID-19 mutual aids, volunteering for a national or local charity, signing up as an NHS Volunteer Responder or as a Royal Voluntary Service volunteer.  Or you can volunteer informally – and support neighbours and friends who need assistance.  Volunteers can help in the community or volunteer from home and when choosing which to do, you should always keep in mind your own level of risk, and follow guidance on volunteering safely.

Formal volunteering roles can include;  

shopping bag full of food and groceries

Delivering groceries to someone who is self-isolating

a ringing phone

Phoning someone who is lonely and anxious for a friendly conversation

a car

Transporting someone to a medical appointment

a raised hand in front of a heart

Volunteering at a foodbank or community business

vaccination centre graphic

Stewarding at a vaccination centre


"I just wanted to thank all the volunteers who work here, because you do the most wonderful job. And I’m very, very proud to be part of Royal Voluntary Service. I am sure all these ladies here do appreciate how much you do…I hope that everyone will get up and do their bit to volunteer, we do need it. It gives everybody, including volunteers and the people you’re looking after, the most enormous amount of pleasure on both sides. So thank you very much!"

Coinciding with the launch of our Hour of Need campaign, we were delighted to welcome our President The Duchess of Cornwall to one of our lunch clubs in October 2020. During the visit, HRH praised the work of our volunteers and encouraged others to get involved.


HRH Duchess of Cornwall at launch of Hour of Need


People's Postcode Lottery


"Volunteering has been a great way to give back in a meaningful way and to see an instant real difference in people’s lives."
Rose is an NHS Volunteer Responder from Stevenage
Growing up, volunteering and giving back to the community was very much part Rose’s life, so when the call went out for volunteers, it was a no brainer to sign up. She felt that she was in a fortunate position to have good health and had to do something to help support the NHS.
"I admire her strength, independence and character; volunteering has shown me how important it is to support others."
Alice is a Royal Voluntary Service volunteer in Liverpool and has visited Edna to support her recovery at home after a hospital stay. COVID-19 has put a stop to their visits, but they chat each week on the phone.
Alice started volunteering when she wanted to do something that she felt was special and worthwhile. She signed up as a Royal Voluntary Service volunteer and was matched with Edna.
"You walk past the tea bar when you come into the hospital and I have always thought, ‘I would love to do that’."
Mum-of-two Helen was keen to get involved in her local community. She now volunteers every Thursday morning at the busy tea bar in Amersham Hospital.
Helen runs a PA consultancy from home and enjoys the role at the tea bar as it gives her the chance to meet people especialy with her children now at school. To have a warm, smiley face behind the counter, especially during these challenging times, makes a huge difference to people.
"Derek's the first person I spoke to, from the beginning, we just got on really well."
Alex, an NHS Volunteer Responder speaks to Derek every week while he self-isolates due to the threat of COVID-19. They have a shared love of Liverpool football club!
Royal Voluntary Service volunteers have been a lifeline for so many vulnerable people during the coronavirus pandemic from shopping to making companionship calls.


"Lots of people have struggled since the start of this crisis, but it’s only going to get harder. If you can spare an hour a week to volunteer – please do.  Volunteering can make a huge difference to someone’s life."

Royal Voluntary Service Ambassador | Phillip Schofield


"In times like these it is more vital than ever for the nation, and the communities within it, to do what they can to support one another. For those in a position to help others, now is the time to give back, however you can."

Royal Voluntary Service Ambassador |  Elaine Paige OBE