A platform aiming to connect people on furlough with volunteer opportunities is targeting staff in the travel industry.
Furlonteer.com has received more than 1,000 sign-ups in the first 48 hours and more than 50 charities have been matched with ‘furlonteers’ over the past week.
Seven in ten UK firms have furloughed staff and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme recently extended to the end of October.
Furlonteer matches the skills and expertise of furloughed people with charities that need help and encourages people to spend their time making a positive difference while maintaining a sense of
purpose, routine and focus during their extended period away from work.
‘Furlonteers’ are matched with volunteer roles for charities based on their skills, experience and amount of time they have available, which can range from a few hours a month to several hours a day, the majority based from their homes.
With major events such as the London Marathon postponed, charities are among the sectors hit by Covid-19 and many have been forced to use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme themselves in order to secure their long-term future plans.
Furlonteer.com allows charities to find volunteers in roles from digital marketing, fundraising and IT to bookkeeping, HR and business development.
It has also partnered with Champion Health to support wellbeing in offering free online mental health training to those who register.
Charities signed up so far include UN Women, Duty to Care, Nourish Britain, Meals for the NHS, The Big Give and UK Community Network, helping elderly and vulnerable people who are self-isolating.
The initiative was conceptualised over a lockdown takeaway curry on Zoom between Hamish Shephard, co-founder of Hello Fresh and founder of Bridebook, Rosie Shephard, founder of the Luxury Communications Council and Sam Tasker-Grindley, director at accounting firm RSM UK.
Tasker-Grindley said: “We’ve seen there are a lot of volunteers coming to us from the industries most impacted by the pandemic, such as the travel and hospitality industry and it’s clear that lots of people want to spend their time on furlough with a sense of purpose and routine, as well as helping those in need. And we’d urge others in the travel and hospitality industries to get in touch to find out more about the opportunities to help make a positive contribution.”
He added: “Furlonteer.com was born from a simple idea: we realised that so many causes need help, while at this time so many people want to help them, and have time to do so. We decided to bring them together. The novelty of being furloughed has worn off for many, and we’ve had an incredible response so far with a huge number of skilled and talented people willing to volunteer, either in charities or to help create the Furlonteer.com team.”