NHS Responders


Welcome to the NHS Volunteer Responders Programme

NHS Volunteer Responders offers help to people in need of support or who are avoiding public places during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is run by the NHS in England, supported by Royal Voluntary Service and operates across England. Its aims are to supplement existing voluntary support within communities, help people to stay well, and reduce avoidable demand on NHS services.

NHS Volunteer Responders is still open and will continue to operate over the coming months. While restrictions may be easing, and the government has announced shielding is being paused from 1 August, the scheme will continue to help people who are at greater risk from coronavirus or who may be cautious about the virus and want to avoid crowded spaces.

Hundreds of thousands of volunteers have stepped up to assist and are ready and waiting to help.  Our volunteers are matched via the GoodSAM app with people who need support. Help usually comes within two hours of making the request.

All our services remain in place and volunteers are available to provide support with shopping, picking up prescriptions or phoning for check in and chat calls. They can also support with moving equipment between NHS sites, and patient transport (where referred by a health professional).

The support of NHS Volunteer Responders is available to anyone who:

  • Has ever been advised to shield by a health professional.
  • Is vulnerable for another reason, (for instance, due to disability, pregnancy, aged over 70, has a long-term condition such as Parkinson's or epilepsy, or are vulnerable due to a mental health condition).
  • Is someone with caring responsibilities.
  • Is self-isolating because they’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19 or have symptoms, or they’ve been in contact with someone who has.
  • Has been instructed to self-isolate by the ‘Test and Trace’ service, because they’ve been near someone infected.
  • Is self-isolating ahead of planned hospital care.
  • Has been instructed to self-isolate following entry into the country.

The programme is also open to frontline health and care staff.

If you or someone you know needs help or you are a carer in need of support, then our NHS Volunteer Responders are available to help. Call 0808 196 3646 (8am to 8pm) to register and arrange volunteer help.

Health and social care professionals can refer people directly into this service.