Frequently Asked Questions

How much time do I need to give?

Some volunteering requires many hours a week, some only a few each month. Organisations should make it clear how much time is required. Even if you work full-time and have a busy lifestyle you should still be able to find something that suits you.

How long will I have to commit for?

As a volunteer you are free to leave whenever you like. If things don't work out, or your circumstances change, it's good to talk it through with the person in charge and give them some notice if possible.

What skills will I need?

That depends on the opportunity. Many don't require any particular skills, while others might make use of specific training, for example in accountancy.

Will I get my expenses paid?

Most organisations will pay any costs you have, such as transport or meal expenses.

What can I expect once I have offered my time?

You should hear back from the organisation within ten working days. They should confirm that they have received your details and be able to answer any further questions.

What can I expect as a volunteer?

Once you start volunteering you should usually expect payment of out-of pocket expenses (eg travel), a clear idea of what your role will be and appropriate training and support.

If you aren't clear about anything, or feel in any way uncomfortable about what you have been asked to do don't be afraid to ask someone. If you need further assistance or more information, ask at your local Volunteer Centre.

Can I claim benefits while volunteering?

Yes. The benefits regulations are clear that you can volunteer. You can find all the latest information about volunteering and benefits, including Jobseekers Allowance and Incapacity Benefit from your local Volunteer Centre.

I am not a British national, can I volunteer in the UK?

There are no restrictions on volunteering by EU nationals. The same goes for nationals of Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein. People with refugee status (or who have exceptional leave to remain) and family members can do any type of work including volunteering.

Asylum seekers and family members may volunteer - including whilst they are appealing against a decision to refuse them asylum.

You can find the latest information about volunteering by non-EU nationals, and more details about volunteering by refugees and asylum seekers from your local Volunteer Centre.

Can I volunteer if I have a disability?

Yes. There are disabled volunteers in all kinds of roles. If you have particular concerns, or are unable to find an opportunity, contact your local Volunteer Centre.

Can I volunteer if I'm under 16?

Some organisations say that they cannot insure volunteers under 16. If you have problems finding an opportunity, ask at your local Volunteer Centre.

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We want to hear from you

We have links to the national Volunteering database,

Have you got a question?

Contact your local Volunteer Centre (below) to recruit new volunteers