COVID-19 (Coronavirus) - Advice for Volunteers and Volunteer Organisations

The health and well-being of students who volunteer and organisations who host volunteers is a priority of At this time volunteers are more important than ever and are doing so much for their communities across Ireland.

We want to ensure both student volunteers and civic society organisations that is still open for business and will recognise the contributions of students and aid organisations in getting you the volunteers you need.

Due to the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak, we understand that some volunteers may feel hesitant to continue with their volunteer commitment. This may be due to volunteers identifying themselves as ‘high-risk’ or for other personal reasons. If this is the case, please get in touch with the organisation you volunteer with as soon as possible. We advise everyone to adhere to the guidelines issued by the HSE to minimise the spread of COVID-19 when volunteering at this time.

Below are updates on COVID-19 from our member institutions and the Irish government which will be useful for students and community partners.

If you want to get involved in volunteering through you university or college, we have a range of speakers and resources available for Getting started in Third-Level Volunteering.

Hygiene and Prevention

The most important action we can all take now is to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Staying at home, social distancing and good hygiene practises are our first line of defence in preventing the spread of the virus. We encourage you all to read the HSE’s Coronavirus information page, including the following do’s and don’ts below, and 


  • Keep a space of 2 metres (6.5 feet) between you and other people, and avoid crowded places.
  • Stay at home where possible, only leaving for essential needs
  • Wash your hands properly and regularly. You can find the HSE handwashing procedure here.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or into your elbow when you cough and sneeze.
  • Put used tissues into a bin and wash your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect any touched objects and surfaces.
  • Follow the travel advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs


  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
  • Don't share objects that touch your mouth, like cups or water bottles
Government Updates

The HSE is providing regularly updated health advice for the education sector nationally in relation to the COVID – 19 Coronavirus health emergency here.

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HSPC) website, contains specific updated information and guidance relating to educational settings.

The Department of Justice and Equality will publish updates relevant to the Immigration Service Delivery Function which address the significant challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic on this page. Click here to access the service.

The Department of Education is also providing regular updates to the Higher Education Institutions, many of whom host researchers. Information on advice already sent can be found on their website.

Daily general updates from the Department of Health are available here.

There are travel restrictions in place. Information on affected regions from the Department of Foreign Affairs can be found here.

You can download the HSE issued Covid-19 poster here.

Our Member Institution Updates
Things to Consider When Volunteering during Covid-19

Things to Consider When Volunteering during Covid-19

All volunteers should adhere to the HSE guidelines when volunteering.

1 – Local Community – Think about what can you do in your own area. Perhaps you could call someone you know/a relative to help maintain social contact while we’re physically distancing? 

2 – National Volunteering Initiatives – The Irish Government has launched the national volunteering initiative Community Call linking local and national Government with the community and voluntary sectors, For information on the local branch of this initiative please go here.

3 – Skill Set for Volunteering – If you are looking to volunteer, consider what are the skills that you can offer at this time? Could you offer tutoring to other students? Do you have any special skills, like tech skills, you could offer to somebody who needs assistance?

4 – Fundraising – At this difficult time, many charities are missing crucial opportunities for them to raise the funds they need to continue operating. We encourage everyone to reach out to community groups and find out how they are adapting their fundraising events and activities to the current situation. 

If you have any concerns if a fundraiser is legitimate we recommend having a look at this resource online with tips on making donations and links to the national guidelines.

5 - As a user of we encourage all students to log their hours as ad-hoc opportunities. It is incredibly valuable to keep a record of the huge amount of effort everyone is putting in at this challenging time.

For Civil Society Organisations

At this important time, we would encourage all volunteer involving organisations to use to reach out to students who are looking to volunteer. There are many students eager to help and get involved during this difficult time.

For all our community partners, please do contact us if you would like to discuss how we can support you in reaching out to student volunteers. You can contact us here.

To all our current organisations the guidelines above are for your use and please also see the guidelines issued by the Department of Rural and Community Development in association with Volunteer Ireland here

Community Organisation Funding Opportunities

Dept of Rural and Community Development launch €40 million COVID-19 support package for community and voluntary organisations, charities and social enterprises

The €40 million funding package is being made available through the Dormant Accounts Fund, which is specifically set aside to support initiatives which will benefit the most disadvantaged groups in society.

The package consists of two funds:

  • 'COVID-19 Stability Fund' of €35 million which will provide a level of support to qualifying organisations who are most in need and have seen their trading and/or fundraising income drop significantly during the crisis. Full details of the Stability fund can be found here.
  • A Philanthropy Fund (Innovate Together) of €5 million which will focus on supporting responses to the COVID-19 crisis that require innovative and adaptive solutions to existing and emerging challenge. Full details of the Philanthropy fund can be found here.

COVID-19 Response Fund

The Community Foundation for Ireland’s Covid-19 Community Fund is aimed at the immediate needs of organisations impacted by Covid-19 and focused on the following:

  • People over 60
  • People with respiratory illnesses or cancer
  • People experiencing domestic abuse
  • Isolated vulnerable people and families, particularly those living in rural areas
  • Mental health issues for those affected by Covid- 19

Any organisations affected by Covid-19 and working with the groups of people listed above can apply for grants between €1,000 and €10,000. The Community Foundation for Ireland anticipates that organisations that are providing small scale emergency support will require funding of around €1,000 to €2,500.  Those who are significantly enhancing their services at this time may require grants of up to €10,000.

Applications are only accepted from organisations with income levels of €500,000 or less per annum. Please see the FAQs for more information. Full details here.


€70,000 COVID-19 Response Fund for Connemara, Co. Galway

SSE Renewables and Greencoat Renewables, joint owners of Galway Wind Park, have launched a €70,000 COVID-19 response fund to support local communities located within 10km of the facility.

The funding, which is being made immediately available, will support community groups that are currently mobilising a rapid response to support those most-in-need as a direct result of the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak.

In addition to supporting rapid response initiatives that are currently being mobilised, funding will also be available for projects that will help rebuild our community in the months ahead.

The COVID-19 response funding is being released early from the overall Galway Wind Park annual Community Fund to ensure emergency funds are made available now when they are needed most.

Full details available here.


Age Action and Irish Red Cross COVID-19 Hardship Fund

Age Action has launched a COVID-19 Hardship Fund in conjunction with the Irish Red Cross to respond to the immediate needs of older people in vulnerable situations across Ireland experiencing additional hardship as a result of the COVID-19 health crisis.   

Age Action and the Irish Red Cross has raised funds to provide additional assistance to older and vulnerable people around Ireland who are experiencing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic by making once-off grants, up to a maximum of €500, per person/household affected.

Who Can Apply: Older people in need of assistance, family members supporting an older person and carers of older people, social workers and local voluntary organisations or community groups providing direct assistance to individuals within this target group.

Full details here.


Web Summit is donating €1,000,000 to ChangeX

Web Summit, which employs 210 people in their Dublin HQ, is donating €1 million to the Covid-19 fight. This money will be donated to ChangeX, who will then identify, fund and spread projects aimed at strengthening Ireland’s response to Covid-19. This funding will be allocated exclusively to Covid-19 projects.

Specific details have not yet been provided, but COVID-19-specific project submissions are already been accepted on the ChangeX website.

Submit your idea here.


Neighbourly Community Fund

With the support of their partner businesses, M&S, Lidl, Aldi, Danone and Coca-Cola European Partners, Neighbourly are launching a series of micro-grants of up to £400, to support good causes that are helping communities affected by the new Coronavirus outbreak. Grants will be awarded to existing members of Neighbourly in UK and Ireland whose work will involve supporting members of the community suffering economically, socially or from ill health as a result of the outbreak. This may include, but not be limited to, elderly people, those on low incomes and people at risk of food insecurity.

Grants are unrestricted and can go towards food provision, emergency supplies, practical support, running costs, transport and other essentials.

Full details here.


COVID-19 Rapid Response - Research & Innovation Fund

Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), Enterprise Ireland (EI), and IDA Ireland have launched a joint rapid-response call to fund research, development, and innovation (RD&I) activities that will deliver significant and timely impact for Ireland within the context of the current emergency. This call will be closely co-ordinated with the rapid response call launched by the Health Research Board (HRB) and the Irish Research Council (IRC).

Under this call, any Research Performing Organisation (RPO); a client company of one of the following government agencies Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Údaras Na Gaeltachta or Local Enterprise Office (LEO); or any combination of the preceding may submit a proposal for support of a solution to a significant specific problem associated with the COVID-19 crisis in Ireland. The involvement of relevant Government Departments and/or other public sector bodies in the development of applications and the delivery of the solution is strongly encouraged. Any solution supported under this call must be operational and fully deployed within 6 months of project start.

Full details available here.


Business Continuity Voucher

The new Business Continuity Voucher, available through Local Enterprise Offices, is designed for businesses across every sector that employ up to 50 people.

The voucher is worth up to €2,500 in third party consultancy costs and can be used by companies and sole traders to develop short-term and long-term strategies to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The goal is to help companies make informed decisions about what immediate measures and remedial actions should be taken, to protect staff and sales. If your application is successful, a qualified expert will be selected by your Local Enterprise Office to work with you on your business continuity plans. The value of this service is up to a maximum of €2,500.

Learn more here.


Guinness €1.5 Million Fund

Guinness has announced it will set up a €1.5 million fund to help support bar staff and the elderly in light of the Coronavirus public health crisis. 

€1.2 million of the funding will be provided to bar staff unable to work following the shutdown of pubs / bars nationwide. The remaining €300,000 will be used to support elderly people during the unprecedented health crisis, in partnership with Alone.

No specific funding details have been announced, but further details available here.


The Civic Theatre Artist Emergency Fund

The Civic Theatre has established a fund to provide financial relief to Irish artists experiencing lost income related to COVID-19. Small grants of up to €500 will be paid rapidly on a first-come, first-served basis to affected artists and groups.

Please note: the fund has now closed (19 March) due to overwhelming demand, but expects to reopen at a later date. 

Learn more here.


COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment

COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment is a new social welfare payment for employees and self-employed people who are unemployed or who have their hours of work reduced during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. This includes people who have been put on part-time or casual work.

Full details here.

See also: Details of Temporary COVID-19 Income Support Scheme.

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