With more time on our hands to an increased demand for volunteers from charities and organisations, the coronavirus pandemic has changed the landscape of volunteering. Now, one start-up App is helping to revolutionise the ease in giving back.
Volunteering as a befriender for his local Age UK, Ashley Staines was eager to dedicate more time to helping the charity and others after acquiring more time due to the first national lockdown.
Unfortunately, due to growing pressures on charities and services during the initial stages of the lockdown, Ashley was unable to get involved as a new volunteer with different charities.
“It got thinking, volunteering is very reactive. Sometimes you wait to be given tasks, and in some occasions, you may miss a good opportunity,” explains Ashley.
After the initial thought, to phoning around charity CEOs, and connecting with two friends living in Europe who work as software developers, Volunteero was established.
Ashley laughs: “In a bid to solve my own problem as a volunteer, I created this app where I can now volunteer with multiple charities.”
Since being established, new volunteering opportunities have become available to thousands of people across the UK.
From caring opportunities, befriending the elderly, connecting to residential homes, supporting people with learning disabilities, to getting shopping for people in your local community: giving back has never been easier.
“There have been various volunteers who have reaped the rewards,” Ashley enthuses. “There have been some sat on the side-lines with nothing to do, but now they can get involved.
“For other volunteers, accessibility might be an issue writing and filling in lengthy application forms and bits of paper to hand in. People have been positive about how easy it is now to volunteer through the app.”
But, Volunteero almost never happened.
In a bid to support businesses responding to the coronavirus pandemic, the UK Government launched the innovate grant. However, due to the pandemic, Ashley and his partners couldn’t open a new business account.
Signposted to Starling Bank, an app-based, fully regulated UK bank working to ensure banking is as accessible as possible, Volunteero was saved. “We were set up within two days and get the grant,” says Ashley. “Without the innovate grant and without being set up with Starling, I don’t know if we would be where we are now.”
Well, after seven months, where is Volunteero?
With a projection of nearly 20,000 to 50,000 volunteers hoped to be using Volunteero before the end of the year, an ambition to get 500 charities signed up, to creating chat services for volunteers to communicate with each other and charities to video services planned, Volunteero is definitely an innovative – and much needed – app.
Free to download for Android and Apple, you can browse new volunteering opportunities in your local area, get involved with your preferred charity’s opportunities, make private calls, add information to your calendar alongside checking off items from shopping lists (partnered with estimated costs), to viewing volunteer reports – Volunteero is the future of volunteering.
So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to release your inner superhero and get volunteering.