Volunteer FAQs

❤️ Together We Improve Lives ❤️

Who can Volunteer?

Anyone! Skills and experience are useful – but not essential – you just need to have an interest and enthusiasm for becoming involved in your chosen voluntary role. Some volunteer roles may have specific requirements – for example – a driving licence and your transport for a Volunteer Driver role. If this is the case, the organisation will list it on their listing. There is a volunteer role out there for everyone, and if you are struggling to find it – we can help.

 

Is there an age limit?

There may be. Organisations will have different policies regarding lower age limits and will include any age restrictions in the advert. All volunteers under the age of 18 must have permission to volunteer from their parents or guardians, and there may be some limits on what tasks young people can do. Some organisations may be able to offer opportunities for under-18s as they have staff to supervise – others may request that a parent/guardian volunteers alongside them to supervise, but many have good arrangements for accepting young people whether individuals or in groups. If you are under 18 and struggling to find a volunteering role, then please do contact us and we can help. There are not usually any upper age limits – and even if you are not very active – there are fewer physical volunteering opportunities.

 

What can I get involved in?

Everyone has a different reason for wanting to volunteer, as well as having different interests, passions, skills and time commitments. It is therefore important to us that you find something you want to do. There are so many different volunteering opportunities – from working in a charity shop to community gardens, transport services, befriending, volunteering at a local charity run – the list is endless! Our volunteering database enables you to browse through the available roles, or if you prefer, you can contact our Volunteer Centre Coordinator to discuss your requirements in more detail.

 

I’m not sure how much time I can spare each week

If you do not have much time to spare, or you have a varied schedule, that doesn’t mean you cannot volunteer, just an hour of your time can make a difference. Some people volunteer for several days a week, others for a couple of hours every week, and some for just the odd hour here and there. Some volunteer roles will require a minimum number of hours, but these will be detailed in the advert and will be discussed with you on an individual basis. If you are interested in a particular role, and you are not sure if it would work with the time you have – contact the organisation – volunteering with them may still be possible.

 

Do I have to make a long-term commitment?

No. Some volunteers will stay with the same organisation for several years, but it is always recognised that your interests may develop and change, and you may want to search for new volunteering opportunities. Your home or work circumstances may also change, which may stop you from volunteering. Organisations will welcome whatever contribution you can make, even if it is only for a short time.

 

What about short-term/one-off volunteering?

Many organisations arrange volunteer days and run project days to complete certain tasks. You can become involved in these without committing to longer-term volunteering. There are also one-off events – such as festivals, shows, charity runs, and events within the community that need volunteers for just a day, a few days or a week. For volunteers of any age, there might be working holidays during which you can volunteer to give your time and expertise.

 

Can I talk to someone about volunteering?

Yes! If you are not sure what you would like to do or want to talk to someone about your concerns about volunteering, please contact us. We can answer any questions you may have, in confidence, either by phone, email or in person. Please get in touch with Carolyn Herrington, our Volunteer Centre Coordinator on 0115 969 9060 or fill out our contact form.

 

Do I need to have experience or qualifications to volunteer?

Different Volunteer roles will have different requirements, but the majority of organisations are looking for someone with a willingness to help and learn, and any life experience you have can also be invaluable. If specific skills are required, this will be listed in the advert. Many organisations will also help you with training, and personal development during your volunteering as well.

 

Will I need to go for an interview?

This will very much depend upon the organisation’s recruitment procedures. Most organisations will want to meet a volunteer before they start volunteering, but it will usually be for an informal chat about the role, rather than a formal interview. You may also be asked to complete an application form or provide references, but this will be explained when you enquire about the role. If you are volunteering as part of a group, it is more likely that the organisation will speak to the group leader only.

 

Can volunteering help me to get a job?

Volunteering can look great on your CV. It can show the skills that you have developed in your volunteering role and also shows transferable skills, which are vital in most jobs, such as teamwork, reliability, communication, and good timekeeping. On some occasions, volunteering with an organisation can lead to paid employment within that organisation, however, this is never guaranteed.

 

What is the difference between volunteering and work experience?

Volunteering is giving your time for free, without expecting to be paid for it. Work experience, job trials and internships may be paid or unpaid, but are different to volunteering and have different regulations. Unless it is one of these, you should not be told you need to volunteer to secure a paid position within the same company.

 

Can I do more than one volunteer role?

Yes, you can. Each organisation will have its recruitment, training, and support – but there is nothing to stop you from volunteering with more than one organisation.

 

Will my expenses be covered?

Organisations are allowed to pay out-of-pocket expenses such as travel costs for volunteers. However not all organisations will be able to reimburse expenses, so it is always best to ask before assuming that it is the case. The organisation should also provide tools, PPE and training wherever needed.

 

Will my benefits be affected?

The government recognises the value of volunteering for both the person volunteering and the community, and in most cases, you can still claim benefits while you are volunteering, as long as you continue to meet the conditions of the benefit you get. However, if you receive any benefits, we strongly advise you to check with an advisor, or for the latest information on volunteering whilst claiming welfare benefits, please see the government website: Volunteering and claiming benefits – www.gov.uk

 

Do I need to have a police or criminal records check?

This will very much depend upon what your role entails. If you are going to work with vulnerable adults or children, then the organisation may ask you to complete a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. You will not need to pay for this as you are a volunteer. The information you give will be confidential. Even if you have a criminal record, it may not necessarily prevent you from being a volunteer.

If you want further information, please get in touch with Carolyn Herrington, our Volunteer Centre Coordinator on 0115 969 9060 or fill out our contact form.

Current Volunteering Opportunities

Become a telephone befriender and help us protect more people from loneliness and isolation. Through regular calls and chats, this enjoyable and rewarding role provides reassurance, improves wellbeing and helps our phone companions to reconnect with their community.

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