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Community-Based Volunteering in Response to Covid-19: People, Process and Planning

MacInnes, Julie, Jones, Bridget, Frere-Smith, Kat, Abrahamson, Vanessa, Eida, Tamsyn, Sharp, Rebecca, Gage, Heather, Wilson, Patricia (2023) Community-Based Volunteering in Response to Covid-19: People, Process and Planning. Journal of Integrated Care, . ISSN 1476-9018. (doi:10.1108/JICA-02-2023-0012) (KAR id:101964)


The Covid-19 pandemic saw a dramatic rise in the number of people volunteering to support older people shielding at home. This study aimed to determine the processes by which volunteers were rapidly engaged in their communities and their impact on the older people they supported and health and social care services.

The study took place in South East England between May-August 2020. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 88 participants including health and social care practitioners (n=12), leaders of voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations (n= 25), volunteers (n=26), and older people receiving volunteer support (n=25). Policy and procedure documents were sourced from the VCSE organisation leaders. Data were analysed thematically.

We identified key themes of People, Process and Planning. People: volunteers had a significant, positive impact on older people in their communities, with volunteers themselves, also benefiting. Process: VCSE organisations needed to work together and with health and care providers to avoid gaps and duplication of services. VCSE organisations were able to act quickly, by-passing many complex operational procedures. However, there was a need to ensure the safety of both volunteers and older people. Planning: Looking forward, there were concerns about the long-term funding of VCSE organisations and the availability of volunteers.

This study took place during the first wave of the pandemic, hence it provides a snapshot of how voluntary organisations operated at this time and highlights the importance of integration with health and care statutory services.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1108/JICA-02-2023-0012
Additional information: This author accepted manuscript is deposited under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC) licence. This means that anyone may distribute, adapt, and build upon the work for non-commercial purposes, subject to full attribution. If you wish to use this manuscript for commercial purposes, please contact
Uncontrolled keywords: Community care, Voluntary and Community Sector, covid-19, older people
Subjects: K Law
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > Kent Law School
Funders: University of Kent (
Depositing User: Milly Massoura
Date Deposited: 06 Jul 2023 09:43 UTC
Last Modified: 11 Jan 2024 16:44 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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