Guidance for Macmillan volunteers

Our number one priority is making sure our incredible volunteers and the people they support are safe. Here is the latest information for volunteers.

Information about coronavirus (COVID-19) for volunteers

The latest guidance about coronavirus

Updated Tuesday 11 May 2021

Restrictions are beginning to ease around the UK. However, it is important that you continue to follow the latest government advice for where you live in the UK.

Visit government websites for guidance on what you can and cannot do in:

As the vaccination programme continues to roll out, we understand that people with cancer and their friends and family will have a lot of questions. We have more information about different coronavirus vaccines.


Macmillan guidance for volunteers

Updated 18 February 2021

In March 2020 we had to take the difficult decision to pause face-to-face volunteering in order to minimise risk to people living with cancer and our volunteers. Given continued infection levels across the UK, our position remains that face-to-face volunteering activities must not take place, unless specifically approved as an exception by the Working and Volunteering Safely Group.

We will continue to monitor government and wider scientific advice and will update our guidance as soon as it is appropriate - the latest version of this guidance can always be found on this web page.

Key guidance for all volunteers

All volunteers:

  • must avoid all face-to-face contact as part of their volunteering – this includes contact with people with cancer, staff, other volunteers and the public
  • should follow all relevant government guidance with regard to shielding and social distancing, bearing in mind that this can vary depending on where you live
  • should follow government guidance on self-isolation if they, or anyone in their household, shows symptoms of coronavirus, or is advised to self-isolate
  • should let their Volunteer Manager know if they develop symptoms, are self-isolating or would prefer not to volunteer at this time.

Guidance for specific roles

  • Services volunteers: should avoid all face-to-face contact at this time, unless specifically approved by the Working and Volunteering Safely Group via your Volunteer Manager. This includes ‘Shop and Drop’ and prescription collection services. We have seen a high level of interest in our main services volunteering opportunity Telephone Buddying, and currently have enough volunteers to deliver the service. However, we may look to recruit more volunteer buddies in the coming weeks, in line with demand for the service from people living with cancer.
  • Fundraising volunteers: no face-to-face fundraising should take place until further notice. We advise checking in with your Fundraising Manager or the Supporter Care Hub before planning any future events or if you have any questions or concerns. We will continue to monitor government and wider scientific guidance, and will update all fundraising volunteers via Volunteer News when this position changes.
  • Office-based volunteers: you should have been updated on the plans for your office space, but if you are at all unsure, please speak to your Volunteer Manager.
  • Community Neighbours and Community Volunteers: as per guidance for other roles, you should avoid all face-to-face practical and emotional support or face-to-face fundraising activities until further notice.
  • Corporate and Indirect Volunteers (volunteers managed through partner organisations): should follow the guidance of their parent organisation.

Any exceptions to the above principles need to be agreed by Macmillan senior management, to ensure we take a consistent approach in safeguarding our volunteers, people living with cancer, staff and the wider public. Please check in with your Volunteer Manager or the Supporter Care Hub (0300 1000 200 or volunteering@macmillan.org.uk) before carrying out any volunteering activities if you are in any doubt.

Sources of support

As well as speaking to your Volunteer Manager, Macmillan offers the following key support channels 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
  • Telephone Buddies: our UK-wide service provides people living with cancer with emotional support by phone for a period of 8 weeks or more.

We also urge all of our volunteers to follow government guidance on social distancing, good hygiene, and self-isolation should you, or anyone in your household, develop symptoms of the coronavirus. Find out about the latest government guidance.

Other activities you can do

We know many volunteers are keen to help as much as they can at this time.

  • Coronavirus has had a significant impact on our ability to fundraise, and people living with cancer need our support more than ever. Find out how you can fundraise safely for Macmillan during the coronavirus crisis.
  • You may also wish to consider supporting our campaigns.
  • If you have a cancer experience, you might want to consider supporting us as a Cancer Voice.
  • At the current time, we have enough volunteers to support our Telephone Buddy scheme and fundraising Action Team, but we may look to recruit more volunteers in the future. Please visit volunteering.macmillan.org.uk for a continually updated list of current opportunities.

Staying up to date

Please keep an eye on emails from us and updates to this page over the coming weeks. You can also find our current volunteering opportunities here. If you have any questions or are at all unclear, please speak to your Volunteer Manager or the Supporter Care Hub (0300 1000 200 or volunteering@macmillan.org.uk).