How can I help?

This information was last checked on 3 July 2020.

How can I help?

Please always check the latest Government guidance on safe help - which includes information on how to stay safe as a volunteer, and to stay safe if a volunteer is helping you. 

If you’re worried about someone’s health contact the NHS:

Helping friends or family who are isolating

Food shopping

  • You could offer to do someone's shopping for them, and leave it on their doorstep
  • You could help those who aren’t familiar with online shopping to set up an account with a supermarket or place their order for them 

See our FAQs for more tips on how to help others with food shopping

Collecting medication

People who are shielding (longer-term) or isolating (for 14 days) may need help to collect medicines. You can pick up medicines on someone else’s behalf, but remember to keep a safe distance when leaving any items on the person’s doorstep.

See our FAQs for more tips on how to help others with medicine collections

Stay in touch over the phone or via social media

Residents who are shielding or isolating may start to feel lonely. You could help look after others by regularly checking in with them over the phone or by video-chat, or recommending some practical ways to look after their mental wellbeing. For example, by visiting Every Mind Matters.

See our FAQs for more tips on how to help others with their mental wellbeing

Encourage people to stay physically active

If people are well enough, encourage them to do some light exercise and keep active around the home, perhaps by using an online exercise class. Some additional ideas for how to keep active at home can be found on our dedicated page. 

Share trusted sources of information

Help your community by sharing trusted information from the NHSPublic Health England or the Department of Health and Social Care.

You can also encourage them to follow our social media accounts for more local updates: FacebookTwitterLinkedIn or Instagram

  • You should not go inside the homes of any vulnerable people or people who believe they may be infected and are isolating themselves. Breaking these rules could put you at risk of infection, or risk spreading it to others
  • If you are picking things up for others, try to limit the amount of time you spend in shops by picking up essential items for others when you do your own shopping
  • You should stay 2 metres from anyone you do not live with (or wear a face mask where this is not possible)
  • You should also regularly wash your hands with soapy water for at least 20 seconds
  • If you have offered to help other people, please do not place yourself in positions where you may feel unsafe, for instance helping late at night.

You can only provide support to people who are in isolation if you:

  • have no coronavirus symptoms and nobody in your household does (you should be isolating if so)
  • are under 70
  • are not pregnant
  • do not have any long-term health conditions that make you vulnerable to coronavirus.

British Red Cross

On a wider scale, the British Red Cross is inviting volunteers to sign up so they can call on them to support vulnerable / high risk groups. You can find out more about this scheme and put your name down at British Red Cross.

Foodbank donations

Foodbanks are experiencing a surge in demand coupled with a drop in food being donated. You can help by donating food at collection points within local supermarkets. You can see which items are most needed locally by checking Cambridge City Foodbank.

Give blood

Hospital patients are still relying on lifesaving donations of blood and throughout the lockdown period, giving blood has always been classed as essential travel. Visit the Give Blood website for who can give blood and where to donate. Give Blood have introduced new measures to improve distancing at their centres and the teams are also trained in thorough universal hygiene precautions to prevent the spreads of all infections. 

What should I do if I’m worried about someone?

If you are worried about someone and you're not able to help them yourself or through your local community group, you can complete our form to let us know and we will make contact with them. 

If you’re already trying to help someone but feel like they may need help with something more serious, please don’t be afraid to flag their situation with the appropriate statutory services.

If in doubt as to who / what this service is, contact and the team will be able to signpost. You can also email us if you are struggling to find volunteers for your existing effort or you are looking for volunteers for any effort you are hoping to establish.

For our latest guidance for community groups working in South Cambridgeshire, please visit our community group FAQs.

Helping as part of a community group

In addition to updating the information on this website, we send regular email updates to the community groups that we are aware of that are working hard in our villages, as well as to our councillors and parish councils. If you are working within an organised group and would like to receive this information, please get in touch with to let us know about your group. You can find much of the information we have distributed over the weeks on our dedicated Advice for communities pages. 


As a result of the Covid-19 lockdown situation a number of children, young people and adults have been more vulnerable to abuse and neglect.

If you have a concern that a child or young person is being abused or neglected, a referral should be made to Cambridgeshire Children on 0345 045 5203. If a family is in need of support then contact the Early Help teams on:

Please see the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Safeguarding Children and Partnership Board safeguarding information for volunteers.

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