Skip to main content

Information for the VCSE sector

The Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector can refer clients into the NHS Volunteer Responders scheme for support.

While restrictions may be easing with the government announcing a pause to shielding, from 1 August 2020, subject to new guidance, many people are still cautious about the virus and visiting crowded spaces.

The NHS Volunteer Responders scheme, therefore, remains open and will continue to accept new referrals over the coming months. We have a team of volunteers ready and waiting to provide essential support.

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


Make a referral online via the GoodSam app.

Or, if you’re a self-referred client, you can call 0808 196 3646 to change your support.

How will volunteers be able to help?

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

This can be through our:

  • Community Response Volunteer scheme for shopping and medication collection and delivery
  • Check In and Chat Volunteers who offer support over the phone
  • Patient Transport Volunteers who provide transport to and from medical appointments
  • NHS Transport who provide transport of equipment and supplies to NHS sites and services

Find out more information about these services on our NHS Volunteer Responder page.

How can VCSE sectors refer into the programme?

If you work within a VCSE organisation you can signpost clients for self-referral into the scheme. Approved partners can also refer their clients directly.

You can find out more information by reading our fact sheet.

VCSE sectors and charities can promote the self-referral route to their patients and clients. This helps us comply with GDPR by ensuring consent has been given for use and involvement within the scheme.

If you feel that one of your clients meet the criteria and would benefit from an NHS Volunteer Responder’s support, you should encourage them to use the self-referral process as outlined on this page.

They should contact us on 0808 196 3646 where we’ll process their direct request for support.

How can Approved VCSE referrers refer vulnerable patients for volunteer support?

As an approved VCSE referrer you can refer patients directly into the scheme.

All referrals should be made via the NHS Volunteer Responders Referrers’ Portal on the GoodSAM app.


Make a referral online via the GoodSam app

How can I make a bulk referral

If you are an approved referrer and would like to bulk referrer individuals into the NHS Volunteer Responders programme you can do this by completing the bulk upload template which you can upload directly to the GoodSam app. Please read the bulk referral guidance for more information. 



Please ensure:

  • You can only share personal data if you have a lawful reason. Please therefore only share personal data if you are sure that you have authority to do so.
  • Please put no more in the spreadsheet than the categories listed. Do not include any additional information outside these categories.
  • The spreadsheet asks for your confirmation as to whether each individual has a cognitive impairment or other significant vulnerability. This is so that the individual can be directed to the appropriately trained level of volunteer.

Help us improve

To help us improve, we'd like to know more about your visit today.