Jersey charities say volunteer numbers are not back to pre-pandemic levels

The Salvation Army charity shop has had to remain closed on certain days, due to lack of volunteers being able to run the store. Credit: ITV Channel TV

Charity groups in Jersey say volunteer levels are not yet back to pre-pandemic levels, despite a rise in demand for some services such as food banks. 

The Salvation Army says it has not been able to resume some services, such as its toddler group, as a result of volunteer levels being too low. 

Its charity shop has also had to remain closed on certain days, due to a lack of volunteers being able to run the store. 

Alice Nunn says that unless organisations have more volunteers onboard, they will not survive, but the pandemic has given people time to rethink their commitments:

"It was a time to rethink whether people wanted to keep volunteering, and they've decided not to continue, and we're thankful for the time they spent, but they're in a place now where they might not want to volunteer in the same way that they've done in the past."

Jordan has been volunteering at the Salvation Army café for four years, says helping out has enabled her to build her self-esteem and confidence by talking to and helping people - she believes more people should give it a go. 

"When I'm here I take people their soup, take them their food, chat to customers whenever they need someone to listen, do the dishes. I like it and it's a good place to help out."

Four months on since the easing of coronavirus restrictions, Alice outlines what needs to happen for volunteering to thrive in the future:

"What I'd love is for charities to continue to do what is right for the island and the integrity of doing what is right and what is needed is supported and standing up when there's situations we feel are unjust."

One resident is looking to combat the problem of lack of volunteers by launching an app, matching volunteers to charities depending on their skill sets. 

An app has been started to try to encourage more people to volunteer Credit: ITV Channel TV

Ed Prow, a tech developer, has launched the app to encourage more people to get involved in volunteering, and says connecting people easily might be the way forward and the future of the service:

"We wanted to create a much more frictionless experience for all of us to volunteer. We realised there's very little investment that's gone into the third sector in technology specifically. People are looking to give back, the need is there. We hear that phrase "Why didn't this exist earlier?"

With more investment, the sector hopes this might ease the growing problem, with the ever growing need for helpers.