Furlonteer: From zero to hero in less than a week

As the pandemic progresses and lockdowns continue, recent estimates suggest that more than 9 million people across the UK will be furloughed under the government’s job retention scheme.

Whilst this offers businesses a way to cope financially during the crisis, it also means that there are many skilled people who are now without work and are stuck at home.

Yorkshire based Sam Tasker-Grindley, alongside Hamish and Rosie Shephard, came up with a novel way to help. Passionate about preventing all those skills going to waste and wanting to do something that they could be proud of, over a virtual curry earlier this month, the trio came up with a plan and a name – Furlonteer. They decided to set up a completely non-profit project to connect charities and good causes with skilled and willing people during the crisis. Within a week, the team, with the help of a group of tech savvy Furlonteers, had got the concept off the ground, with a brand, website, marketing campaign and a list of charities to work with.

I spoke to co-founder Sam about Furlonteer and their plans moving forward. Sam explained that although the project has only been going for a week, Furlonteer has already matched over 1000 Furlonteers with over 50 charities in need of their skills. This, he explained, was only possible thanks to the help of all the early Furlonteers who helped to get things off the ground. The charities are diverse, located all over the country and offer an array of Furlonteering opportunities, from fruit picking or cooking to social media management and website design.

Sam explained that although Furlonteer is a national project, he has also been keeping his Yorkshire connections strong, working with Volunteer Action Leeds and Leeds Community Foundation to help them partner Furlonteers with charities. However, the Furlonteer team are keen to work with more Leeds and Yorkshire based charities.

Furlonteering is an incredible initiative that will not only help to prevent charities from going under during the crisis, but will also give people who are out of work the opportunity to do something incredible.

If you have been furloughed and would like to find out how you can become a Furlonteer or if you are a charity in need of more (wo)man power then head to furlonteer.com or check out their social media channels @furlonteer to get connected.

If you have not been furloughed but want to help, of course you can! Furlonteer is keen to ensure charities have all the volunteers they need and so is happy to help place people, whether they have been furloughed or not. You can also help by sharing the message of Furlonteering to the millions of people who have been furloughed

Photograph provided by Sam Tasker-Grindley.

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