Frequently asked questions about volunteering

Popular questions if you want to support an individual, or even volunteer within an organisation e.g. local Volunteer Coordination Point (VCP).

To become a volunteer, visit and register today. In less than one minute, you will have an Ami account and can start applying for volunteering opportunities near you.

You may not realise it, but you already have a lot you could contribute, even if you have not previously volunteered. Many of our opportunities simply require a positive friendly attitude and a little bit of time, and they are also fantastic ways of gaining new skills and experience in an area that interests you.

To state the obvious, you are more likely to get more out of your volunteering experience if you enjoy it! So when choosing that project role you would like to get involved in, make sure you think about what you would most enjoy doing as well as what may be good for your personal development, world peace, saving the plant ect. some questions to ask yourself:

  • What do you want to do?
  • What opportunities are available?
  • What do you want to achieve?
  • What have you got to offer? (time, skills)

This varies depending on what type of volunteering you want to do, but we’ll aim for you to start within 6 weeks.

If you want to volunteer with children, young people or vulnerable adults this might take longer as you will need to have a DBS check before you can start, and can take up to 8 weeks.

For other roles it will depend on how many people are interested in the role, the workload of the manager, whether the start date is dependent on something else such as the opening of a new building, and your own commitments.

If you have applied for a role and have had no response, or are concerned about how long it has been since you heard something, please email

If you’re volunteering with vulnerable adults, children or young people you’ll need to have a Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) check. This will be carried out as part of your recruitment as a volunteer and won’t cost you anything. You won’t be able to start volunteering until your DBS certificate arrives. It’s important that you declare any criminal convictions or police cautions during your initial meeting to become a volunteer. Having these won’t necessarily stop you from volunteering, as each case will be assessed on an individual basis.

This is entirely up to you. Some roles may require certain time commitments, and others will be flexible and built around your availability. It’s important to be reliable if you commit to volunteering at a certain time, as it will cause problems if you don’t turn up
Of course. There’s no reason why you can’t volunteer if you’re in full-time employment, and we have a wide variety of opportunities that are out of office hours. We also have a register for people that can’t volunteer on a regular basis or only want to volunteer at one-off events.

Not always. However, if you’ve agreed to volunteer at the same time and place every week then it’s important that you keep your commitment (if you need to change you can discuss this with your volunteer manager). You can discuss with your volunteer manager if you wish to volunteer on a more flexible basis.

This depends on the role you volunteer to do. Each opportunity will have a role description, which will talk about what you need to have. For some roles this may be qualifications, for others experience or a particular interest, and those working with vulnerable adults, children or young people will need a DBS check.
No, you won’t get paid as a volunteer. You may be able to get your expenses refunded depending on the type of volunteering you’re doing.
This depends on the role. You’ll get an induction, which will include any training required to carry out the role. More training may be offered if it is linked to the role you’re doing.

Of course all you have to do is be in touch with us via email or completing the online contact form

It is a place in your community that is able to coordinate volunteers locally and match them to support needed by individuals and families who need some help. Volunteer Coordination Points provide a single point of contact through which to channel support, advice and communication.

VCPs can offer the following:

  • Act as a volunteer hub for those who have offered their support to be linked to local need and offer their ongoing support and guidance for your volunteering experience/journey
  • Able to link with other local support networks in their area to coordinate various support needed by local residents

Yes, of course.

You are under no obligation to keep volunteering if you don’t like it. But it is always worth talking to somebody before stopping. That could be your volunteer co-ordinator or team leader. You can discuss with them why you feel unhappy and what you feel would improve your time as a volunteer. 

Volunteering could help you by providing:

  • New skills and work experiences
  • Referees for job applications
  • A chance to show prospective employers that you are willing to work
  • Access to training and qualifications (in some circumstances)
  • An opportunity to try out different types of work if you’re considering a career change.

You can be any age to volunteer – but some opportunities do have age restrictions. That’s typically because of the type of opportunity, or because an organisation only has insurance in place for those aged 18 or over. There’s no upper age limit on volunteering, but anyone over 70 will need to follow public health advice on volunteering during coronavirus (COVID-19).

Yes you can, such as telephone befriending, although many of the tasks undertaken require some travel.

Yes, you can but there may be some limitations. Depending on the nature of your criminal record, you may not be able to take up some volunteering roles but a variety of others would still be open to you. It’s best to discuss this with us or your volunteer Coordination Point if you wish to volunteer.

You can volunteer and claim benefits if:

  • the only money you get from volunteering is to cover expenses, like travel costs
  • you continue to meet the conditions of the benefit you get
  • Not usually, no. If any particular qualifications are needed in order to take up a specific role it would be made clear in advance.

    Personal skills are more important, such as being able to get on with a wide variety of people, being reliable and being enthusiastic about a particular interest or cause – rather than academic qualifications.

Some training does have an attached qualification and we always publicise training by other providers which is available to volunteers and which may lead to a qualification. However, by volunteering you will gain valuable experience, develop your skills and be able to ask for a reference. You can ask us any time if you need a reference.