30 March 2020

Scottish Government and British Red Cross call for Scotland Cares volunteers in readiness for Covid-19 peak

Please note that due to a huge response, Community Reserve Volunteer applications are now paused. However, we still have many other interesting volunteer opportunities available

Press release:
The call for volunteers issued by the Scottish Government today, urges people to sign up with the British Red Cross to help those most in need in their communities during the coronavirus outbreak.

The volunteering campaign calls on ordinary people who want to share their kindness with others to register* as a Community Reserve Volunteer (CRV) and be part of Scotland-wide preparations to protect the NHS, support people in need and help save lives. 

People can sign up with the Red Cross now at readyscotland.org/ from Monday to join the team of volunteers who will take food, medicine and supplies to vulnerable people unable to leave their homes. CRVs will provide extra people power to boost the amazing work already happening in communities large and small, urban and rural, up and down Scotland.

Norman McKinley, Executive Director of UK Operations for the British Red Cross, said: “We have been humbled by the outpouring of kindness across the country and the numbers of people wanting to play their part. We are proud to partner with the Scottish Government to encourage even more volunteers to sign up with the Red Cross and help others when they are needed. 

“We want to help support and strengthen communities who are already doing so much to support others, by harnessing the power of people’s kindness into a coordinated network of volunteers. They will be called upon in the weeks and months ahead, to assist the vital work that’s already happening to distribute food, medicines and supplies to those who can’t get out themselves.

“People who are well can also receive alerts to join the work of existing initiatives such as food banks and community groups in their local area, through organisations such as FareShare and the Trussell Trust. By coming together, we can make sure everyone’s individual needs can be met, and no-one is forced to face this crisis alone.

“Even if you are currently self-isolating, you can still show your kindness from home by registering as a Community Reserve Volunteer and receiving useful tips on facing the challenges of this pandemic, which you can help others with by sharing with them, too. It is this spirit of kindness that will keep us together."

Organised through Volunteering Scotland, the website readyscotland.org/ will direct recruits to the Red Cross’s simple online recruitment platform to sign-up volunteers - a process that takes just five minutes. 

After people have registered their interest, volunteers will then be coordinated and supported by the British Red Cross to support a range of needs. Local delivery across Scotland will be through local contact centres across Scotland that combine local authorities, the NHS and local charities and community organisations so they can give their help where the need is greatest in their local communities. 

Anna Fowlie, Chief Executive of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) said: “The Community Reserve Volunteers programme provides a great mechanism to connect people looking to provide help with those who are in need.  With thousands of volunteers already recruited and years of work to support local emergency planning, the British Red Cross is well placed to help new volunteers connect with opportunities to contribute their time and skills to support our most vulnerable communities. Not only will this help to alleviate the pressure on other public and third sector services during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, it will also provide a pool of volunteers who can help Scotland respond to other potential crises in future.

The Red Cross currently has more than 2,600 Community Reserve Volunteers in Scotland but wants to boost that response to serve even more communities.


*Please note that due to a huge response, Community Reserve Volunteer applications are now paused. However, we still have many other interesting volunteer opportunities available

For more information:

  • Stephen Fyfe, Senior Media Officer (Scotland) - sfyfe@redcross.org.uk  or 07740422494 
  • Twitter @RedCrossScot
  • Out of hours - press@redcross.org.uk or 07710 391703
  • Spokesperson Norman McKinley, Executive Director of UK Operations for the British Red Cross available for interviews

Notes to editors

  • The Red Cross has been helping people in the UK for over 150 years – during emergencies, and helping people when they’re preparing to leave hospital, and to regain their confidence and independence when they get home. From transporting people home, to providing care and support when they get there, Red Cross volunteers and staff have varied experience of helping people with complex needs in urban, rural and remote settings, throughout Scotland.
  • The Red Cross has experienced teams of Emergency Response volunteers across the UK, ready to help people in a range of crisis situations, from natural disasters to house fires. They have thorough training in supporting people in crisis directly.
    Community Reserves are people who have registered their interest in being called upon in the event of a major crisis to carry out practical tasks in support of existing Red Cross Emergency Response volunteers and the work of other community groups, at a local level.
  • Being a community reserve volunteer is perfect for people who would naturally feel the urge to help during a major emergency, but don’t necessarily have time to commit to volunteering all year round.
  • More than 40,000 people have already signed up to become British Red Cross ‘Community Reserve Volunteers’ (CRVs) throughout the UK, ready to help when a big emergency hits in their local area. The scheme has been in place since 2018, but the majority of the new recruits have signed up since the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country. 
  • The community reserve volunteer project is supported by Aviva; enabling the British Red Cross and local communities to prepare for, respond to and recover from crisis.
  • For over 150 years, the British Red Cross has helped people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies. We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them recover and move on with their lives. www.redcross.org.uk 

Scottish Government and British Red Cross call for Scotland Cares volunteers