What can I do?
The choice of volunteering roles is vast, we are bound to have things that you haven’t even thought of. You might want to do administration, befriending, DIY, sports coaching, events, sit on management committees, youth work and support, amongst a host of other areas.
How do I choose what to do?
Choose something you like doing, or you want to learn to do.
Think about what you might be able to give others and what you might get out of volunteering yourself.
Choose to work with people, an issue, or organisation you care about or are interested in.
Think about what you are good at?
Think about what you would like to do with your time.
Talk to someone who volunteers already - what do they do?
Do I need qualifications?
Usually you don´t. Some very skilled work may require qualifications, but usually organisations offer training to enable you to undertake your role.
How much time do I need to volunteer for?
This is up to you, many people volunteer for a couple of hours a week, however you might want something that requires less time, or you might want to do something intensive that is for a short period. Or help out at a one off event.
You can volunteer at any time of the week, day or night. While much volunteering takes place in office hours, you can volunteer at evenings and weekends too, again depending on what you want to do.
Volunteering out of office hours includes befriending, sports and some opportunities that can be done from home.
I'm working full-time. Will I still be able to volunteer?
Yes, some opportunities are available at weekends, or evenings, such as befriending, or joining committees.
But do check what time the organisation needs their volunteers.
And speak to your employer, many will encourage volunteering and might offer some time off to do it, or flexible working time.
How can I find out about volunteering opportunities that are available?
At Volunteer Centre Sefton we are able to help you find your ideal volunteering role in a number of ways:
Telephone: 01704 501024 ext 212 to book an appointment to see one of our trained volunteer advisors. They will assist you to complete the registration forms and think about what you want to get from volunteering. Sessions are held at our offices in Southport and Waterloo.
If you require additional support to attend an appointment please let us know.
Email: complete our registration form and we will then search our database and send you a selection of opportunities that match your interests.
Online search: go to do-it here you will be able to search by area and your interests and apply directly to us.
What happens next?
At your one-to-one appointment you will be able to look at volunteering roles, and be given the contact details of the organisations that you are most interested in. You then contact the organisation and arrange to see them.
By email: we will send you some volunteering opportunities that best match your interests. You then contact the organisation and arrange to see them.
By Internet: we will send you the information on the specific opportunities that you have enquired about. You then contact the organisation and arrange to see them.
Are the appointments confidential?
Our one-to-one appointments are held in confidential meeting rooms at our offices in Southport and Waterloo.
Is my information kept confidential?
All of your information is kept on our database. Only staff and certain volunteers at VCS can access this. Any paper registration forms will be destroyed after 2 years, and will not be shared with anyone.
We only give your information to the groups that you have requested to find out more about.
What can I expect from the organisation that I want to volunteer with?
Some organisations will ask you to complete a registration form providing your contact details; what you want to do, how long for etc.
Most organisations will ask you to provide details for references, these may be personal, professional or a combination of both.
To disclose any police record. This should only be necessary if you will be working closely with children or vulnerable people & even then only under certain circumstances.
Many organisations will want to have an interview or an informal chat with you. This enables them to find out about what you want from volunteering and gives you a chance to find out about them. Do not be put off by this, it usually is not as formal as a job interview.
Will I get training?
There are some volunteer roles that require training. You may be asked to attend a training or induction course, An induction should provide you with all of the information that you need to have about the organisation.
You might also have training relating to your voluntary work.
Don´t be put off by the word ‘training’ you get to meet other volunteers, staff and find out what happens in other organisations or other parts your own organisation.
What should I expect as a volunteer?
The very least that you can expect is;
- A clear role description and outline of your tasks
- A contact person if you have any problems
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Adequate insurance cover for the work you are doing
- A reference after a certain length of time
- Recognition and thanks.
- Fun, challenge and social contact
What if my circumstances change?
Many organisations are very flexible and will look into whether you will still be able to volunteer with them. If not contact us and we will try to find you something else.
What if I just don’t like what I’m doing?
We would suggest that you discuss it with the organisation, perhaps they can find you something else. If not, contact us and we can help you find you something more suitable.
Will I get paid my expenses?
Most organisations will pay any reasonable out of pocket expenses, this usually covers transport, sometimes lunch, however there are some that do not have the finances to cover this, so do check with them.
Will Volunteer Centre Sefton ask me for references or check up on me?
Volunteer Centre Sefton do not select, interview or carry out checks on volunteers. When you decide what voluntary opportunities you are interested in the organisation may have a screening process. This should depend on your role within the organisation. In some cases a ´Criminal Records Bureau Disclosure´ Check will be undertaken on you if you are to be working closely with children or vulnerable adults.
I have a criminal record, does this mean I cannot do voluntary work?
No. There are many things that need to be considered with regards to criminal records, including what the crime was, does that bear any relation to the work that you would be doing and how long ago the conviction was. Please do talk to us about this if you are concerned.