Number of volunteer sign-ups passes 76,000

People across Scotland offer their support during pandemic.  

Registrations to volunteer and help communities and public services during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic have reached more than 76,000 in Scotland.

Local induction programmes are underway to ensure volunteers are ready for deployment and many have already started to deliver food parcels, ensure essential supplies and medicines reach vulnerable people and phone those who need assistance or companionship.

Within health and social care, offers of employment are being made across NHS Scotland with nearly 700 applicants ready to be deployed and more than 3,600 returners in the process of completing their pre-employment checks.

Recruitment for the Scotland Cares Campaign, which launched one month ago, will now be paused as it enters its next phase. This includes temporarily pausing recruitment through the health and social care strand. The campaign has resulted in:

  • 35,077 sign-ups to Volunteer Scotland to support charities and community groups
  • 18,640  sign-ups to the British Red Cross to support public services
  • 23,029 health and social care workers returning to work, and students joining the service

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said:

“The Scotland Cares Campaign has been massively successful with more than 76,000 new sign-ups offering their support in the month since it opened.

“In addition to the thousands of amazing volunteers who were already giving their time and energy to help their communities, I want to thank each and every person who has signed up. I am sure I speak for everyone across Scotland when I say we are appreciative and grateful for this public spiritedness which will ensure people across the country get the help and support they need.

“The response from the public has been so tremendous that we are now pausing our recruitment. Not all volunteers who have signed up will be needed immediately, but I’d like to stress that volunteers will be critical in our efforts to support and rebuild our communities and many of those who have not yet been called on to help will play a vital role over the weeks and months to come.”

Emma Morrow signed up to the British Red Cross as a volunteer when Scotland Cares launched last month and has been deployed as a Community Reserve Volunteer to package food for vulnerable people in Glasgow.

Emma said:

“It’s great to see everybody pulling together. It’s really fulfilling to know that by doing a few hours work I am going to help somebody that can’t get out the front door.”

Rosemary Lowne is volunteering in West Dunbartonshire as a telephone befriender, calling elderly people in the community every week. 

Rosemary said:

“I absolutely love my role as a befriender. My callers say that our weekly chats really lift their spirits and reassures them that there are people looking out for them. I strongly believe that now more than ever 'it's good to talk' and to let people know that they are not alone. The feedback I've received has been wonderful.”

Emergency Response Operations Manager for British Red Cross Robert Colburn said:

“With our added capacity we are looking forward to finding new opportunities for our regular and community reserve volunteers to help the most vulnerable in the days, weeks and months ahead. Every single person who signed up with us is joining a force of thousands ready to help in their local community now and in the future, whenever crisis strikes.”

CEO of Volunteer Scotland George Thomson said:

“A pause in recruitment is the correct action just now as we move to connect the wonderful offers of support from so many citizens from all our communities to meet local needs. Beyond the lockdown we will have a massive recovery challenge ahead, and we aim to engage this incredible first wave of volunteers before seeking others in future.”


Scotland Cares links British Red Cross and Volunteer Scotland schemes to local authority and third sector activity in communities, creating a pool of volunteers for local organisations to draw upon and deploy as required.

Volunteers are matched with local needs in a range of organisational settings, when those needs arise. It is up to the requesting organisation to decide how and when volunteers are deployed.

In health and social care, the Accelerated Recruitment Portal matches people with relevant skills to health and social care jobs.

The Portal was for people who wanted to return to work in NHS Scotland or social care in a paid capacity, who had left the service within the last three years. It was also for nursing, medical and Allied Health Professions (AHP) students who may be available to undertake paid work in the service during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.  

NHS Education for Scotland officials are now working with Boards to match applicants to placements. A number of applicants have already completed pre-employment checks and started posts in Boards, and it is expected many more people will be placed in the coming days. These are all paid positions.

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