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I want to refer someone

Information for referrers

The NHS Volunteer Responders scheme continues to accept new referrals, and our volunteers are ready to provide vital support to those who meet the criteria.

If you’d like to refer someone for the first time, request additional help for someone, or to reduce the level of their support, you can make a referral online via the GoodSam app or call our helpline on 0808 196 3382 (available 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week).


Make a referral online via the GoodSam app

The scheme is also open to self-referral (0808 196 3646), although patient transport to medical appointments must be requested via a healthcare professional.

NHS Volunteer Responders are ready to provide vital support to frontline staff, NHS clinicians and social care professionals. They can be a helping hand for those vulnerable to COVID-19, or any other reason support is needed during the pandemic.

The NHS Volunteer Responders scheme is still open and will continue to operate over the coming months. 

Restrictions are easing, and the government has announced shielding is being paused from 1 August 2020, subject to new guidance. However, we know that many of us still feel anxious about the virus and want to avoid crowded spaces.

Who is eligible for the referral scheme?

Our volunteers will continue to provide support to people who meet any of the following criteria:

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

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

How will volunteers be able to help

NHS Volunteer Responders offer simple but vital support while following guidance on helping people safely.

  • Community Response Volunteer: To collect and deliver shopping, medication or other essential supplies for patients.
  • Community Response Plus Volunteer: To collect and deliver shopping, medication or other essential supplies for patients with cognitive impairments and/or significant vulnerabilities.
  • Patient Transport Volunteer: Providing transport to patients who are medically fit to attend routine medical appointments.
  • NHS Transport Volunteer: To transport equipment, supplies and/or medication between NHS services and sites. This may also involve assisting pharmacies with medication delivery. The role can also help Local Resilience Networks with transportation and delivery of items such as food parcels.
  • Check In and Chat Volunteer: To provide telephone support for anyone who’s at risk of loneliness.
  • Check In and Chat Plus Volunteer: A ‘listening ear’ which is offered to volunteers who are also shielding or experiencing challenges as a result of COVID-19.

When you make a referral, it’s helpful to let the individual know about the personal data that we collect in order to provide the service to them. Let them know the ways in which Royal Voluntary Service will store that data and keep it safe by sharing the leaflet below.


If you’re a professional worker in any of these sectors, then find out all you need to know about making a referral.




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