Everyone has different reasons to volunteer. You might want to gain new skills and experience, add interest to your CV and build a reference. You might want to “give something back” or help a cause that is close to your heart.

Volunteering requires some time commitment but it is a great way to meet new people, do something different and quite often have fun!

This is entirely up to you. Volunteering can take anything from an hour a month to a few days a week or be a one-time commitment.

It is worth thinking about how much time and how frequently you’d like to volunteer before you start looking for a role.

Even if you work full time or you have a busy lifestyle, you could still find an opportunity that suits.

Volunteering should not cost you anything.

Most organisations will pay ‘out of pocket’ expenses including reasonable travel costs – you can check this before applying.

You can browse volunteering opportunities on our website and express an interest immediately by registering online.

However, if you are not sure about the type of role you want to do, or you prefer not to do things online, then you are welcome to contact the VARB team for an informal, confidential chat.

We are happy to meet at our office in Redhill to discuss suitable volunteering roles, or we can chat on the phone. Please get in touch on 01737 762115 or volunteer@varb.org.uk.

Volunteering shouldn’t affect your right to benefits as long as the only money you receive is to cover your volunteering expenses, such as travel.

There are very few limits on the amount of time you can volunteer for, as long as you continue to meet the conditions of the benefit or tax credit you are receiving.

A comprehensive article on volunteering and benefits can be found here.

For many of the volunteer roles we cover you would need to be at least 18 years of age. However, there are a growing number of organisations that offer volunteering to people aged 16 and over and in some cases even younger.

There are upper age restrictions for a few volunteer roles; for example some driving roles can have an upper limit due to insurance. However there is still plenty of choice of volunteer roles for the over 65s. Many organisations value the skills and experience an older person can bring to the role.

Yes, there is a wide variety of roles available to people interested in volunteering.

We would be happy to talk to you about the different roles available and any additional support you may need.

Yes there are volunteer roles suitable for ex-offenders. However, having a criminal record/police caution may limit the type of volunteering you do.

If asked, you will need to declare any unspent criminal convictions to the organisation that you wish to volunteer with.

If the role involves young people or vulnerable adults, you would be asked to complete a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check which will inform the organisation of your criminal record.

Further guidance on disclosing your criminal record can be provided by NACRO via their helpline 0300 123 1999 or helpline@nacro.org.uk.

It is good practice for all voluntary organisations to request references from potential volunteers. However, these do not need to be employment related. They could be character references from your school, a club or someone outside your family who has known you for a few years.

A growing number of companies offer their staff volunteering leave. This can support staff development and build links with local communities. There are plenty of opportunities that don’t require a regular commitment such as events and fundraising challenges. If you have a bit more time, trustee roles offer an opportunity to develop and use your professional skills in a new context.

If you wish to volunteer with your colleagues as a team then VARB can provide a separate listing of one off team challenges or try searching our online database selecting “employee volunteering” in the activities box.

Yes! Voluntary organisations often look for ‘one off’ help especially for fund raising and sporting events.

Try searching our online database, selecting “one off activity/events” in the activities box; or get in touch with us and ask about our “Events Team”.

Why not browse our database, selecting from the list of activities and interests to help focus your thoughts.

If there is just too much choice, then please contact VARB by phone or email and we can help you identify roles that would be suitable for you.

If you are not enjoying your volunteer role it is always best to talk to the organisation to try to resolve any issues. If you prefer, you can talk to VARB and we can try to assist through mediation. Most organisations do not want to lose volunteers and will try to resolve any issues.

Some organisations may ask for a minimum time commitment – however this is mainly when the organisation is investing up front in significant training for the volunteers. Ultimately however, as a volunteer you are always free to walk away from a voluntary role.

There are no restrictions on volunteering for EEA and EU nationals. Refugees and Asylum seekers are also permitted to volunteer. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/583192/Permission-to-work-v7.pdf

The general rule is that non-EU/EEA nationals need a work permit to take up “employment paid or unpaid”, which includes volunteering. However there are a range of exceptions to this. If you have any queries contact the Volunteer Support Team at The Charity for Civil Servants – email: volunteer.support@foryoubyyou.org.uk or call 020 8240 2441/2403.

VARB Big Thank You Roadshow 2017