NEWS3 November 2020

Universities launch Covid-19 and charities research

Charities Covid-19 News UK

UK – The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is funding a research project into the role of the voluntary sector during the Covid-19 pandemic.


The research, which is called Mobilising Voluntary Action in the four UK jurisdictions: Learning from today, prepared for tomorrow, has received £420,000 funding from the ESRC, which is part of UK Research and Innovation. Six universities and four charity sector representative bodies are involved in the project.

The project will examine the volunteering response during the pandemic in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The first stage of the research will focus on how well prepared each of the four nations were before the pandemic, and the role of voluntary organisations in those plans.

Covid-19’s impact on volunteers and volunteering will then be examined, particularly the affects of lockdown. The research recommendations will be presented to governments in all four UK nations.

Irene Hardill, professor of public policy at Northumbria University, is the principal investigator for the research project, alongside representatives from the University of East Anglia, University of Kent, University of Essex, University of Stirling and Aberystwyth University.

Representatives of England’s National Council for Voluntary Organisations, Volunteer Scotland, Wales Council for Voluntary Action and Northern Ireland’s Volunteer Now will also work on the project.

Hardill said: “During the pandemic we have seen voluntary action step in and step up as the first response to immediate need.

“We know we face an uncertain future but the delivery of social welfare, with the state working in partnership with the voluntary sector, is critical for us pulling through as a country.”