Volunteering

Are you thinking about volunteering? Let us help you.

We provide a volunteer service matching people who want to volunteer with charities and groups that need their time and skills. If you cannot find the information you need on our website, email volunteering@msva.org.uk

Frequently Asked Questions

Click on the relevant questions below.

Who can volunteer?

Anyone! You can volunteer whatever your age, job status or abilities. Some volunteering roles will have age restrictions or a requirement for specific skills or qualifications but this will be made clear in the role description.

Why volunteer?

Volunteering is good for you! It improves physical and mental wellbeing. It will build your confidence, help you gain new skills, improve your CV and find someone to give you a good reference. It can get you out of the house and help you meet new people and make friends. It will give you something positive to do in your spare time and benefit your community or a charity that’s close to your heart.

How much of my time will it take up?

This is entirely up to you. It can be anything from an hour a month to a few days a week or even just a one-off commitment such as helping at an event.

Will it cost me anything?

Volunteering should not cost you anything. Most organisations will pay ‘out of pocket’ expenses including reasonable travel costs – you can check this before applying.

How old do I have to be to volunteer?

There are no legal age restrictions for volunteering. If a role has any age restricting criteria than this should be specified within the role description.

Will volunteering affect my benefits?

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.

I work full time, but I’d like to volunteer, how can I get involved?

There are many opportunities which are available in the evenings or at weekends as well as roles which you can do from home, such as becoming a trustee, events’ helper or a telephone friend. Find an opportunity that works around you!

Many companies offer their staff volunteering leave. This can support staff development, increase engagement with local communities and improve employee morale. You may also wish to volunteer with your colleagues and take up a volunteering team project such as gardening, decorating or organising a fundraising event or a training course.

I’m interested in volunteering, what do I do now?

Find the right role: the best way to search for volunteering opportunities is through our website but if you need help, get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to assist you.

Get in touch with the organisation: click the ‘Register my Interest’ button under the role details on our website. This will put you in touch with the organisation so that you can find out more about the role and about how to apply for it. Make sure you are totally clear about what the role involves before you commit to it. Again, get in touch with us if you need any help!

I’ve applied for a role but haven’t heard anything back, what should I do now?

If you haven’t heard back within two weeks of registering your interest, you can either get in touch with the organisation and find out what happened or contact us and we will chase it up on your behalf.

What rights do I have as a volunteer?

  • To know what is expected of you
  • To know who to speak to about problems and difficulties
  • To receive appropriate training
  • To make mistakes
  • To say no
  • To receive regular constructive feedback
  • To be seen as part of the organisation
  • To be safe and insured in your role
  • To be taken seriously and valued by your paid colleagues
  • To develop and change in your role
  • Not to be exploited
  • To have choices
  • To be free from discrimination on the grounds of race, gender, sexuality, age, disability etc.

What will my responsibilities be, if I decide to volunteer?

  • To carry out an agreed task
  • To be reliable
  • To arrive on time
  • To notify the appropriate person if you are not available or are likely to be late
  • To be honest if there are problems
  • To respect confidentiality
  • To attend training and support sessions if they are required
  • To be safe and ensure the safety of others
  • To ask for support when it is needed
  • To give feedback