Katherine Waterston and Jude Law Help SpareHand Deliver Half a Million Meals

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have been wide-reaching, and two Fantastic Beasts actors are among the celebrities working with SpareHand to volunteer. Katherine Waterston (Porpentina Goldstein) and Jude Law (Albus Dumbledore) have joined the new platform in its effort to provide meals to those in need amid the lockdown in the United Kingdom. That now includes the “UK’s largest volunteer-driven meal effort.”

SpareHand was set up over Zoom in March by a group of friends from various backgrounds, including former British Army officers, humanitarian workers, entrepreneurs, and museum curators. The platform, which helps charities match volunteers with tasks, has seen volunteers provide over 27,000 hours of their time over the last ten weeks. This includes the preparation and delivery of 500,000 meals, thanks to over 3,000 volunteers.

Waterston, who noted that she was hospitalized with COVID-19, is a founding member of SpareHand.

At the start of the pandemic, I got COVID-19 and was hospitalised here in London, where I received fantastic treatment from the NHS. While I was recuperating at home and considering how I might meaningfully give back, my friend Scott Liddle told me about his idea for SpareHand, and I immediately jumped on board. It’s been great to be part of SpareHand and to witness its phenomenal growth in just a couple of months. It’s been great to see how individuals and charities alike have taken to the service; to hear them rave about its ease of use is really encouraging. I have always suspected that there’s a large portion of the population who want to volunteer but are deterred from doing so because they don’t know how or where or like me, they have schedules that make it difficult to commit to regular service – SpareHand solves all these problems.

SpareHand emphasizes that its work isn’t only about the current pandemic.

SpareHand helps charities and community groups find and manage volunteers using a sophisticated algorithm to ensure high-quality matching of volunteers to those in need. The platforms puts community groups and charities in the driving seat – giving them the tools to find, manage and schedule volunteers, reliably and at scale.

Some of the charities that have partnered with SpareHand to make its meal effort possible include Bicester Pioneer Volunteers, South Central Ambulance Service, and Magic Breakfast.

You can find the press release from SpareHand below.

Press Release

UK’s largest volunteer-driven meal effort provides over 500,000 meals during COVID lockdown

  • Volunteers have given over 27,000 hours of time over the last 10 weeks through the SpareHand platform.
  • SpareHand was set up over Zoom in March, by a group of friends - with backgrounds as diverse as former British Army officers who served in Afghanistan, humanitarian workers who cut their teeth in Iraq and Libya, V&A curators, start-up entrepreneurs, and even film stars.
  • Katherine Waterston, star of the Fantastic Beasts and Alien franchises, became a founding member of the SpareHand team after contracting Covid-19 and being hospitalised in London.
  • Jude Law, Naomie Harris, Lashana Lynch, and Vanessa Kirby have volunteered with SpareHand in the last few weeks.

09 June 2020, London: SpareHand, a free platform that is helping charities to match volunteers to tasks in their neighbourhood, announces today that it has prepared and delivered half a million meals during the coronavirus lockdown.

Set up in March 2020, SpareHand helps charities and community groups find and manage volunteers using a sophisticated algorithm to ensure high-quality matching of volunteers to those in need. The platform puts community groups and charities in the driving seat - giving them the tools to find, manage and schedule volunteers, reliably and at scale.

Over 3,000 volunteers have signed up, giving 27,000 hours of their time over the last 10 weeks. Volunteers include Jude Law, Vanessa Kirby, Lashana Lynch, and Naomie Harris, who have played their part in preparing and delivering meals for those vulnerable to the virus.

SpareHand was developed in partnership with HireHand, a tech start-up that has built the platform and sophisticated matching algorithm powering this Covid-19 reponse [sic].

Tina Talbott, a volunteer with the Bicester Pioneers who has given over 127 hours of volunteer time, said: ”Everybody works together and supports each other to pack meals for the NHS workers. SpareHand sends you shifts, which makes it really easy to fit volunteering in around everything else. You will come along, make friends for life, it’ll help your mental health and of course, you’ll give something back!

“For such a diverse group of people we have come together for a common cause and I've been surprised by the warmth and friendship [that] has been given and received. It's more than I could ever have imagined and I truly feel blessed.”

Gus Alston, CEO of One Stone Grove, a food bank and community centre, that uses the SpareHand platform, said: “We’ve been using the SpareHand volunteering app, and it’s been really fantastic. Sometimes we’ve put jobs on literally the night before and they’ve filled. Every volunteer has been really efficient, really good at the social distancing and we’ve just been so impressed. We would encourage anyone else to sign up and use SpareHand.”

Katherine Waterston, actress and founding team member of SpareHand, said: “At the start of the pandemic, I got COVID-19 and was hospitalised here in London, where I received fantastic treatment from the NHS. While I was recuperating at home and considering how I might meaningfully give back, my friend Scott Liddle told me about his idea for SpareHand, and I immediately jumped on board. It’s been great to be part of SpareHand and to witness its phenomenal growth in just a couple of months. It’s been great to see how individuals and charities alike have taken to the service; to hear them rave about its ease of use is really encouraging. I have always suspected that there’s a large portion of the population who want to volunteer but are deterred from doing so because they don’t know how or where or like me, they have schedules that make it difficult to commit to regular service - SpareHand solves all these problems.”

Scott Liddle, founder of SpareHand, said: “When I invited some friends onto a Zoom call in mid-March, I never expected twelve weeks later that we would have played a part in preparing half a million meals across the UK.

“Volunteers are the last unsung heroes of this crisis: people up and down the country have been keeping local support services running. Through SpareHand alone, people have given 27,000 hours - and counting - of their time, not to mention hundreds of thousands of hours through Mutual Aid groups and other initiatives.

“It’s time we recognise - and get behind - the amazing unseen army of volunteers that are helping us through Covid-19, and building a stronger society in the process.”

Scott Erwin, founder and CEO of HireHand, which helped establish SpareHand: “We know from matching hundreds of thousands of flexible workers to shifts that chat groups or social media discussions become nightmarish when you need scale, speed or accurate matching. We wanted to ensure that charities addressing Covid-19 have ease and efficiency when organising their volunteers - so they can concentrate on delivering, not scheduling.”

For more information about SpareHand, visit its website. You can also follow the platform on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Mary W.

I am a Slytherin, a lifelong fan of Harry Potter, and a member of MuggleNet staff since 2014. In my Muggle life, I am passionate about human rights, and I love to travel around the world and meet new people.

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