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What can I do?

What you do depends on where your interests or talents lie but you may also prefer to take on a new challenge or work in an area that is different to your previous experience. You can volunteer on a one-to-one basis or in a team or group. You may need to consider practical aspects such as travel, expenses and disabled access.

Volunteering opportunities vary widely; mentoring and befriending, driving, practical work such as gardening or dog walking, fundraising, the list is almost endless! 


What type of training will I receive?

This depends on your placement as training is provided to meet the needs of the role. You may receive on-the-job training, shadow a colleague or complete online or classroom based training. 


What happens when I register my interest in volunteering?

When you register an interest in a volunteering opportunity through an online website or a referral via the Volunteer Centre, you will be contacted by the relevant organisation who will carry out their recruitment process. They may contact you by email or phone, send you an application form and details about the role, or invite you for an interview or visit. This is your opportunity to find out more about the role and decide whether you wish to take it further and for the organisation to see if you have the right skills, personality or potential for the position. 


How long will it take to start volunteering from registering?

This again depends on the placement you choose. Some are simple to set up and you can start straight away and others can take longer (sometimes several weeks) because the nature of the role requires training, references or a Disclosure and Barring Service (formerly CRB) check.


How much time will I be required to give?

Opportunities on our database range from jobs that will take an occasional hour to a regular weekly commitment of a half or whole day.


Will I be paid expenses?

Some organisations will pay your out of pocket travel expenses. You should agree this when you start volunteering. 


What are my chances of getting a job through volunteering?

Occasionally, volunteering leads to paid work because you gain experience so when a job becomes available you are ready to apply.

More often, volunteering is a useful stepping stone to paid work because you gain practical and transferable skills, such as communication, interpersonal and organisational skills; add to your CV; and have up-to-date references. All of these things impress potential employers.


Can volunteering count towards my education?

Volunteering can provide excellent experience for academic applications, such as colleges and universities.

Volunteering is also a great way to gain practical experience for vocational studies.


Can I volunteer if I am claiming benefits?

Yes, you can volunteer as long as you continue to meet the conditions of the benefits you receive. You should always inform the benefit office of your volunteering activities and out-of-pocket expenses you receive. For further information, When You Can Volunteer


Can I volunteer if I have a criminal record?

Yes, most people who have a criminal record will be able to find a volunteering placement.

Some volunteering placements do not require a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check because the activity is not regulated, for example, conservation roles.

Some volunteering placements are exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 which means that a DBS check is required, such as volunteering in a school or care home.

The type of volunteering you can do will depend on what the offence is, how long ago you were convicted and your current circumstances. For further information, see DBS Overview . Or for an informal, confidential discussion, contact the Volunteer Centre team on 01892 530330 or