Humanists UK Community Response is our way of encouraging humanists to coordinate their volunteering, key worker services, and other efforts to support those affected by the coronavirus epidemic.
Humanists are here to help
Humanists are already helping in many ways and Humanists UK is directing its large member and supporter database and local groups to a range of national voluntary efforts to play their part, including the national Covid-19 Mutual Aid support network.
Volunteering with a Covid-19 Mutual Aid group can mean carrying groceries to a vulnerable person in the community or helping with other important tasks, such as delivering prescriptions, so long as it is safe for all parties to do so. Humanists UK is also directing its supporters to join the British Red Cross reserve volunteer scheme and the Age UK telephone befriending scheme.
Volunteering and civic activism
Local volunteering is one of the most impactful ways to support others during the pandemic, but there also a number of other approaches that humanists can take to contribute to the national effort. We have been recommending that our members:
Funerals and pastoral care
Humanists UK funeral celebrants and pastoral carers in hospitals and prisons are designated key workers, operating at the frontlines of the national coronavirus response. In response to the crisis, our celebrants have at the forefront of changing industry best practice, including through web meetings and even live-streamed funerals, issuing new sector-wide guidelines and working with the government and other death professionals on its sectoral response.
As well as providing support in hospitals and prisons through the Non-Religious Pastoral Support Network, humanists have been taking part in weekly broadcasts of hope and inspiration through the National Prison Radio service.
Our priority remains helping people deal with difficult times and for our celebrants in particular, we are very focused on helping people manage grief at a time when normal grieving rituals are disrupted.
Challenging fake news and pseudoscience
Across our communications platforms, we have been working to challenge the spread of dangerous fake news, conspiracy theories, and other pseudoscience about the coronavirus pandemic that, if believed, could have serious consequences for public health and the wellbeing of individuals.
Humanists volunteering and giving
Humanists have long been known for their commitment to volunteer work and civic activism, and the statistics show that, contrary to some stereotypes, non-religious people in general make an equal contribution to charities and non-profit work to religious people. Often this is done through the UK voluntary sector, the majority of which is secular in character, but sometimes takes place within local church-run schemes as well.
In the video below, a Red Cross official speaks in a personal capacity about the link between humanism, charity, and volunteer work more generally.