Guidance for Macmillan volunteers

Throughout the pandemic, our priority has been to make sure our incredible volunteers and the people they support are safe. Here is the latest information for volunteers.

General guidance for all Macmillan volunteers

Updated to reflect recent government announcements 

Updated 28 February 2022

We are still processing announcements from national governments this week and reflecting if and what changes this may bring to our guidance for volunteers. The safety of our volunteers, staff colleagues and people with cancer remains our number one priority and consequently we are taking a cautious approach to lifting Covid control measures.

For the time being:

  • You should not volunteer for Macmillan if you have Covid symptoms or have tested positive for Covid (for a minimum of five days following a positive test).
  • We encourage all volunteers to continue wearing facemasks when interacting with the public, and we will continue to mandate it when required for certain third-party events or when meeting indoors with people living with cancer.
  • We encourage all volunteers to take a lateral flow test before volunteering, and we will continue to mandate it when required for certain third-party events or when meeting indoors with people living with cancer. Lateral flow tests are still available free of charge from the government at this time.

We will update the guidance on this page in the near future to fully reflect our position following recent government announcements.

Macmillan’s position on face coverings

Outdoor events

Wearing a face covering while outdoors is a personal choice and we recognise that many people, including those who have been vaccinated or have previously had coronavirus, may not feel the need to wear a face covering during outdoor events.

While we support individual choice, we also ask volunteers to be aware that not wearing a face covering may make others feel uncomfortable or unsafe, particularly in situations where social distancing is not possible or where there are long periods of contact.

Some volunteering activities still require the mandatory wearing of a face covering, even when taking place outdoors, for example when volunteering at a challenge event water station or collecting at a railway station. In these cases, all Macmillan volunteers must follow the event / venue rules, unless exempt.

Indoor public or ticketed events

Depending on the setting and the country you are in, you may be required by law to wear a face covering while volunteering. If this is the case, we expect all volunteers to wear a face covering, unless there is a medical exemption in place.

Where there is no legal requirement to wear a face covering, some venues may still require a face covering to be worn. In these circumstances, we expect all volunteers to follow the rules set by the venue. Where there are no rules in place, the following factors should be considered:

  • In situations where social distancing is not possible or where there is likely to be prolonged contact with an individual, we strongly recommend that a face covering should be worn unless there is a medical exemption in place.
  • If social distancing is possible, wearing of a face covering is a personal choice but we ask volunteers to be aware that not wearing a face covering may make others feel uncomfortable or unsafe.

Indoor private meetings

The decision about whether to wear a face covering when meeting someone in private is a personal one but we ask volunteers to be aware that not wearing a face covering may make others feel uncomfortable or unsafe.

Where volunteers are meeting with people living with cancer privately, such as in a buddying relationship, we expect volunteers to wear a face covering at all times.

Volunteering activities requiring prior approval

This section sets out requirements for a range of common volunteering activities. If you cannot see your activity listed, are in doubt about which category it falls into or have any questions about approvals or risk assessments, please speak to your Volunteer Manager or the Supporter Care Hub for clarification.

Activities that can take place without prior approval

The following activities have a centralised risk assessment and can be carried out without needing specific approval via your Volunteer Manager.

  • Hosting and attending Fundraising Committee meetings
  • Servicing and banking of collection tins
  • Volunteering at Macmillan-led cheerpoints, water stations, Mighty Hikes, etc.
  • Boots store collections
All activities must still be conducted in line with national and local government guidance and the general guidance for all Macmillan volunteers.

Activities that require an individualised Risk Assessment

The following activities no longer require central agreement, but do require an individual risk assessment to be submitted to your Volunteer Manager or the Supporter Care Hub prior to the activity taking place (this was the case before the pandemic, though risk assessments should now also include consideration of Covid precautions eg cash handling, use of PPE, room capacity, hygiene etc):

  • Outdoor collections, including tombolas, tabletop sales
  • Outdoor stands, such as information or refreshment stands at National Garden Scheme (NGS) or other events
  • Indoor events, such as balls, dinners, plant sales or Coffee Mornings
  • Events involving large numbers of participants/attendees such as bike rides fetes etc (as long as venue rules and local restrictions are adhered to).

If in any doubt about whether or not a risk assessment is required, please contact your Volunteer Manager or the Supporter Care Hub. We also expect Fundraising Committees to check in with their Volunteer Manager or the Supporter Care Hub 14 days prior to event date. This is to ensure that the Risk Assessment is still current and that there are no further local/national restrictions in place.

Services Volunteering

All face-to-face services, please speak to your Volunteer Manager in the first instance.

Further information and support

If you have any questions about the above, please contact your Volunteer Manager or the Supporter Care Hub (0300 1000 200 or volunteering@macmillan.org.uk) before carrying out any volunteering activities.

You may also wish to use the following services, which are available to volunteers, people affected by cancer and the public:

  • The Macmillan Support Line: available on 0808 808 00 00 and via online chat (opening hours are 8am-8pm, 7 days a week)
  • Macmillan’s Online Community: available 24/7 at community.macmillan.org.uk
  • Macmillan Website: our website provides cancer information 24/7, including a dedicated section on coronavirus

Macmillan volunteers also have access to Macmillan's EAP (Employee Assistance Programme). This offers phone support including a stress helpline, structured telephone counselling, referral to face-to-face counselling, and more. Online help offers online chat through the My Healthy Advantage app, emotional support, fitness advice, and more. These services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Please contact your Volunteer Manager for details on how to access the service.

Other activities you can do

If you are unsure about volunteering at this time, you may also wish to consider supporting us in one of the following ways…

Staying up to date

We will update this page as our guidance changes. Our latest list of volunteer opportunities will always be available in the volunteering section of our website.