Staff shortages in the social care sector have surfaced due to the coronavirus crisis – with care homes operating at a 10-40% deficit.  With up to 80% of the UK population projected to be infected by May 2021, extra users and staffing gaps caused by the illness will add even more strain to care services already stretched before the outbreak.

As a direct response to these skill shortages, Dr. Charles Armitage, an East Dulwich resident started the National Care Force, an app to help social care providers fill staffing gaps with volunteers during the coronavirus outbreak.

The free online platform, powered by health technology firm Florence, works by allowing volunteers to book shifts available across the social care sector. Shifts are posted directly by the care providers who have joined.

Charles said of launching the National Care Force: “There is a desperate desire across the country for people to be able to do something to help but people don’t know how to channel their efforts.”

“The National Care Force is a movement that will significantly impact the national effort against COVID-19 and allow everyone to play their part.”

Care England, the representative body for care services, has endorsed the use of the National Care Force.

Help support elderly and vulnerable people in the Dulwich community! Register to volunteer on the National Care Force website by clicking here.

How it works

Social care providers, healthcare workers and volunteers across the UK are able to register to use the platform now.

After going through compliance checks (including qualifications and criminal record), users update their profile with skills and experience. Care providers follow a similar process, adding details about their care setting and skills required. The platform’s algorithm will match relevant positions to users based on their preferences.

Users apply for preferred positions, and the care provider will select a candidate. Everything is managed for free through the platform, which also stores reminders of upcoming shifts, and allows for cancellations.

Who can join and what will they do?

 Care professionals who can join include doctors, nurses, care workers, support workers, physiotherapists and occupational therapists. They can apply for shifts covering clinical staff rota gaps in a variety of care settings.

Anyone can join as a volunteer, regardless of work background. They can apply for non-clinical work such as picking up shopping for those self-isolating, providing lifts to dr. appointments, helping prepare meals, companionship or providing in-home care such as cleaning and laundry.

Social care providers who can join include care homes, home care services and local authorities. They will be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

For more information on the National Care Force, visit or contact Bunie from Florence on: