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Volunteering FAQs

Why do people volunteer?

Who can volunteer?

Do you offer training to volunteers?

What will I get out of volunteering?

How much time do I have to give as a volunteer?

What skills do I need to volunteer?

Will volunteering affect my benefits?

I’m an asylum seeker/refugee, can I volunteer?

Will it cost me anything to volunteer?

Disclosures and pre-registration checks

Applying from outside the UK    



Why do people volunteer?

There are many reasons why people choose to get involved. Here are just a few:

  • to make a difference to vulnerable young people
  • to do something inspiring
  • to learn skills and improve their CVs
  • to meet new people.

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Who can volunteer?

There's an opportunity for almost everyone who shares our values and vision! We are committed to ensuring equality of opportunity for everyone who volunteers with us. We have volunteers who are former service users, students, retired, unemployed, employed, disabled, non-disabled, old and young, from a variety of ethnic and religious backgrounds.

We aim to find a volunteering role to suit the individual, and we screen all our volunteers who will have contact with children.

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Do you offer training to volunteers?

We want to provide the best service we can to children and families. For those volunteers coming into contact with children we provide a high level of support and training. We also provide induction training to ensure that volunteers are able to carry out their tasks in a safe way.

We ensure there is someone available if you need additional help and there is often further training to help volunteers develop in their role. We also ensure that volunteers who raise money and campaign for us are fully supported in their important role.

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What will I get out of volunteering?

It depends on what motivates you. Volunteering with the NSPCC will mean you are making a difference (directly or indirectly) to the children and young people we work with. You could also benefit from helping or supporting other people, using existing skills or learning new ones, gaining confidence, being creative, responding to challenges, and being with other people. You may feel satisfaction from playing a positive role in someone else's life. If you're looking for work, you will gain valuable experience for your CV. Above all else we want our volunteers to have fun and enjoy their experience.

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How much time do I have to give?

As much as you want. You can tell us what you can do and when you can do it and we will help you find a volunteer role which is suitable.

Some roles, especially those working with vulnerable people need volunteers who will aim to be available on a long term basis.

Other roles have a minimum time commitment of a few hours per week. Some people volunteer for a couple of hours a week, others help out at one-off events or during school holidays.

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What skills do I need to volunteer?

This will depend on what you do. If you don't have the skills needed, where possible, we'll help you develop them. Often, enthusiasm, the ability to smile and encourage are the most important skills required.

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Will volunteering affect my benefits?

No. Volunteering does not affect the benefit payments you receive. Volunteers are not paid for their time but are entitled to be reimbursed for their travel and other legitimate expenses.

People claiming Job Seekers’ Allowance (JSA) can volunteer as long as they remain available for work and are actively seeking paid employment. 

People claiming Income Support and/or Disability Living Allowance can volunteer.

People claiming Incapacity Benefit can volunteer for as long as they want. The rule that people receiving Incapacity Benefit could only volunteer for 16 hours a week no longer exists. Volunteering does not affect your "permitted work".

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I’m an asylum seeker/refugee, can I volunteer?

People who have refugee status or have exceptional leave to remain are allowed to do any type of work, including voluntary work. You may have a letter saying that you must not engage in paid work - but this does not apply to roles that are voluntary and you are entitled to receive out-of-pocket expenses.

However, if you do want to help with a project for children, we will undertake a check with the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and if you are a recent arrival this can take some time.

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Will it cost me anything to volunteer?

Volunteers should not be out of pocket when they work with us, and we will reimburse expenses.

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Disclosures and pre-registration checks

To ensure we safeguard and protect the children we work with, we have a number of pre-registration checks before recruiting for some positions. The NSPCC is entitled to ask questions about a volunteer's entire criminal record because it is exempted from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

Having a criminal record does not necessarily bar someone from volunteering. It depends on the nature of the position applied for, and the circumstances and background of the offences.

We will ask for your consent to a clearance check. Any information supplied will be treated in confidence and in accordance with the Data Protection Act. You do not have to agree to these checks but objecting could affect your recruitment.

We seek information on criminal records in two ways. Firstly, the safeguarding form requires volunteers to supply written information on any convictions, cautions, reprimands or final warnings, both spent and unspent. Secondly, the volunteer will be asked to undergo a check via the Criminal Records Bureau (England and Wales) or POCVA (Northern Ireland); this will be either a Standard Disclosure or an Enhanced Disclosure depending on the nature of the volunteer role.

Standard Disclosure - would be needed for a role whose duties involve regular contact with children. A Standard Disclosure contains details of any spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings recorded by the police centrally. It will also indicate if there are no such matters on record.

Enhanced Disclosure - would be needed for a role whose duties involved regularly caring for, training, supervising or being in sole charge of children aged under 18. An Enhanced Disclosure will contain the same information as a Standard Disclosure but may also contain non-conviction information from local police records considered relevant.

We would also carry out checks against our own child protection database.
More information will be available when you visit the project and any queries you have about this process can be addressed then.

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Applying from outside the UK

We can only consider placements if they are supported by an official agency or government department in your own country. This is because volunteers may need support to find accommodation and also need funding for everyday expenses which we are unable to meet.

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ChildLine 0800 1111

Are you a child?

Do you need to talk? Call ChildLine on 0800 1111 or visit us online.

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