How will I know the best role for me?
Volunteering can be about many things – whether you want to give something back to your community or gain new skills; it isn’t all about what you can do for others, it’s also about what others can do for you!
Think about how much time you have available, what you care about or what you’re looking to gain.
Perhaps, you love gardening or what to improve your admin skills?
We have a database full of opportunities where you can search for your interests or the type of activity you would like to do and see what comes up!
Alternatively, you can call 0208 8960 3722 & book an appointment with one of our volunteer advisors. Our advisors are available Tuesday’s & Thursday from 10am – 3pm and are on hand to talk through your interests and help find your perfect volunteering opportunity.
What happens once I have found something I am interested in?
When you find an opportunity you’re interested in, you can register or call 0208 8960 3722 and we’ll provide you with the relevant details for the organisation you’re wanting to volunteer with.
You’ll then be able to get in touch directly with them and organise a meeting to find out more.
How long will it take before I can get started?
Organisations have different ways of recruiting their volunteers.
If the role involves working with vulnerable people (disabled, elderly, young people etc) you will need to complete a DBS check, the organisation you’re volunteering for will usually arrange this for you and it may take a few weeks to come through which means you won’t be able to start volunteering immediately.
If the role doesn’t involve working with vulnerable people and no DBS check is required, you may find yourself volunteering within 24 hours!
Click here to find out more about DBS checks.
How much time will volunteering take?
Volunteering can take as much or as little time as you have available.
Whether it’s a few hours a week or you’re looking for a more long term placement, you can find opportunities here.
What skills do I need?
- Skills will vary depending on the role – the most important thing is the willingness to get involved!
- Some positions may require a certain amount of experience, if so, this will all be provided within the volunteer role description
- Volunteering is a great way to gain skills and experience to help you when applying for paid employment – some organisations also offer trainings which can be carried out alongside your role
Check out our training for volunteers page to see what we have to offer!
Can I get paid?
As a volunteer you will not be paid for your time, but the majority of organisations they will contribute towards your travel and lunch expenses, you just need to keep your receipts!
Will volunteering affect my benefits?
Job Seeker’s Allowance
People on JSA can do as much voluntary work as they like as long as they remain available for and are actively seeking work. This will mean that they will have to show that they are looking for work and applying for jobs where appropriate.
If you are volunteering, you’re entitled to 48 hours’ notice if you’re asked to attend an interview as well as a week’s notice before starting work.
Volunteering will not affect your Income Support as long as you’re not receiving money other than the reimbursement of your volunteer expenses.
People often worry that starting to volunteer will automatically trigger an investigation into their need to claim Incapacity Benefit, but this very rarely happens. If you are in receipt of Incapacity Benefit you can still volunteer for as long as you want.
Disability Living Allowance
Volunteering will not affect your right to receive disability living allowance.
Informing Benefits Advisers
When starting a volunteer role you should inform your benefits advisor and keep them up to date with your placement. Your volunteer manager will be able to provide further information to your advisor if required.
What questions will I get asked in my interview?
Questions will vary depending on the organisation and the role you’re applying for.
The below are some typical examples that you could expect to be asked:
- Why you are interested in volunteering?
- What particular skills or experience you have?
- What skills would you like to learn or develop on your placement?
- How much time you have to offer?
Some questions you may want to think about asking during your interview:
- Will my expenses be refunded?
- Are there any training opportunities?
- What will the role entail?