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FAQ's

I don't really know what I want to do.

We invite you to come to the Volunteer Centre, in either Towcester or Brackley, where you will have the chance to find out more about volunteering in general and we can try to learn what type of placement would best fit in with your current life style.

You can either drop in during our opening times or call and make an appointment.

We post most of our opportunities on the National Volunnteering database (www.do-it.org).  Here you will be able to search for opportunities near you and you can also enter special criteria like what interests you or the sort of things that you would like to do.

 

I want to volunteer but don't want to be sucked in to giving more time than I feel able to.

You can volunteer to do as much or as little as you wish. Some places want volunteers at regular times and for regular hours but often this can be arranged at times that suit you.

Other organisations have one off opportunities and others still would be happy to take you just as it suits you. Remember you are the volunteer; you have the right to say ”No”.

 

Will it cost me anything? I don't want to be out of pocket!

You should receive reasonable out of pocket expenses that will include travel at the least. If expenses are not paid, then some people will not be able to volunteer!

 

What will I be asked to do?

You should expect to be asked to do things that you feel comfortable with and which suit your interests and abilities. You should have regular access to a named person who ensures that you have adequate support. You need a clear idea of your task and responsibilities before you start.

 

Will I receive training? I am not very confident!

All volunteers will need training! This should include an initial introduction to the organisation, its aims and purpose and to the place of work. You may need specific training for the job you have come to do and you should have the option of further training. You should expect to be treated with respect and politeness, to be made welcome and thanked for your work!

 

Will I be insured as a volunteer?

Organisations which take volunteers should have appropriate insurance. You should be properly insured against any risks involved and should be provided with appropriate equipment/tools/materials to enable you to carry out your tasks. The organisation must make proper health and safety provision.

 

I am worried about how I might fit in with paid employees.

The relationship between paid employees and volunteers should be complementary and mutually beneficial. Paid workers should understand the area of work undertaken by volunteers and the difference between paid work and volunteering. Volunteers should not be used to replace paid workers. You should have the right to join a relevant Trade Union.

 

Can you send some volunteers to help clear a house/garden or someone to befriend and sit with my elderly mother?

Unfortunately not. We only recruit volunteers on behalf of organisations.  However we do run our own projects that use volunteers.  For example, our Garden Buddies project can help with simple gardening and our Brackley Area Volunteer Car Service provides a transport service for medical appointments.

 

I think my child/patient/client would benefit from volunteering – can I book an appointment for them to come and see you?


Volunteering can help many people but only if they want to volunteer. They also need to be able to make and keep appointments for meetings, volunteering sessions, etc. After many disappointments for charities, volunteers and ourselves, we have adopted a “no referrals policy”. Volunteers must contact us direct. A volunteer who is unable/unwilling to do this is most unlikely to succeed in a volunteer role.

It's fine to suggest contact with us (signposting)

 

Why doesn’t your site show closing dates for opportunities? Or when they were updated?

 

The “market” for volunteers is not like the paid jobs market in many ways:

  • Some roles are advertised for years – Larger charities needing a large number of volunteers are continually recruiting. Smaller charities sometimes have to wait months for that elusive volunteer treasurer to come forward.
  • For similar reasons, a “closing date” is unusual
  • We regularly contact the recruiters and promptly remove adverts for roles that are no longer recruiting
  • When we used to include dates such as “Updated 4th January 2016” potential volunteers were put off and assumed the role must be “gone” when in fact it wasn’t.

 

Do you have volunteering suitable for Duke of Edinburgh Award participants?

We do have opportunities suitable for young people (eg working with Cubs and Brownies).  Feel free to give us a call or check on do-it.org.

 

I'm on Benefits (JSA/ESA/PIP/etc.) Can I still volunteer?


Yes! There is NO "16 hour rule". There are very few restrictions and even some relaxation of the rules for some claimants who volunteer. Some tips:

We strongly advise you first look at this excellent detailed guidance from the NCVO.

Be aware that Jobcentre staff are not always well informed about volunteering and the regulations. However, you must tell the Jobcentre you are volunteering when receiving most benefits.

 

My workmates and I want to get out of the office and help a charity for a day?

That's wonderful! Please give us a call.  We are informed of projects suitable for a group.

 

Remember, volunteering should be a happy and rewarding experience. The organisation benefits from your time and skills but you should expect to benefit yourself, perhaps by meeting new people and learning new skills, as well as having the personal reward of knowing you are doing some good for others


Find a volunteering opportunity now!!



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