There has been a surge in people volunteering and the Government and the Department of Rural and Community Development has issued guidance and advice to volunteers and community groups.

Last week, the government published a national action plan, including details on support for a community response to Covid-19. There is quite a lot of detail in this plan that may be helpful to community groups.


The National Action Plan was published on March 16th and set out “a whole-of-society response and mobilisation of resources across Government and society to fight the spread of the virus”.

This week, the Department  published a six-page information leaflet to support the community response to Coronavirus: “You, Your Community and COVID-19” focuses on our public health duties and gives advice on to groups and to individuals about volunteering.


The leaflet advised people they could volunteer through the Department-supported network of volunteer offices.

It noted that some volunteers may need to be Garda vetted and that this process would be speeded up and people volunteering in connection with Covid-19 would be prioritised.

The document was emailed out as part of a pack covering public health advice, do’s and don’ts of sensible volunteering, advice specifically for community groups, and tips on guarding against fraud and generating trust.

Resources cover:

– ‘How can I volunteer?’

– ‘Sensible volunteering – Do’s and Don’ts’

– ‘Advice for local community groups – how can we get volunteers?’

– ‘Advice for vulnerable people who need supports’

– ‘How to guard against fraud and generate trust’

(Links to follow – in the meantime, we recommend you visit where there is advice for both formal and informal volunteering initiatives and volunteering during an emergency).

The Department of Rural and Community Development has also opened a dedicated helpdesk contactable by email to assist community groups seeking advice or with queries. The email helpdesk is open 7 days a week. It is: c&

The Department reminds everyone that the HSE website is the key source for health advice:



On the public health response to Covid-19, a digital pack has been issued and it can be downloaded at:

As part of the national response to Covid-19, the Department of Health, the Department of Rural and Community Development and the HSE are working closely to support stakeholders and community groups. The latest updates include the following:

More updates are planned for early next week. Meanwhile, the Covid-19 Health Communications Stakeholder Support says that it will respond to urgent concerns. It says: “We would be grateful if you would let us know if your organisation has any specific requests or urgent needs in relation to Coronavirus COVID-19 public health information materials. If you do, please email us at to let us know.”