Volunteering FAQs

Answers to frequently asked questions about volunteering with Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council can be found here.

What to consider when choosing a volunteering opportunity?

When trying to find that a role, you want to make sure that it is something you will enjoy and can do. Make sure when you are searching for your next volunteering opportunity you consider the following:

  • What skills can you bring to a volunteer role and what do you think you will be good at?
  • What community initiatives are important to you and is there a cause you are passionate about?
  • How much time can you commit to a role? - This will determine the types of roles you may consider applying for.
  • Do you prefer a more hands on practical role or behind the scenes? - Again, this will determine the types of roles you may consider applying for.

What are the benefits of volunteering? 

Meeting new people - By dedicating your time to being a volunteer, you can:

  • expand your network, make new friends and boost your social skills.
  • strengthen your ties to your community and increase your sense of belonging. It can also increase your knowledge making it easier to find resources and activities for you and your family.
  • meet likeminded people with similar interests.

Staying happy and healthy - Volunteering can help to:

  • make you feel better and happier.
  • provide a sense of direction and purpose in your life by keeping you mentally stimulated, so you can take your mind of other worries.
  • combat stress and help boost mental health by providing you with meaningful connections and a good support system.
  • gain a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction by giving you a sense of pride and increasing your self-confidence.

Having fun - A volunteering role should be both fun and fulfilling, so consider what opportunities might best suit you.  By volunteering you can:

  • spend time doing activities you are genuinely interested in and support.
  • meet new people and expand your social network.
  • do something outside of work or family life which can help to relieve stress.

Improving your career prospects - By participating in volunteering, you can:

  • gain a wide range of new skills or advance skills you already have which can help to advance your career.
  • use the volunteering activities as good examples for job interviews.
  • show that you have interests outside of your degree, education, or job - this can help to set you apart from other candidates by having different interview answer examples.
  • try out new career option and gain experience in a new field.

How do I apply to volunteer?

The expression of interest form will be available for you to complete, the process may vary according to the type of volunteering you want to do, who it is with and how long term it will be e.g. if you are applying to volunteer with older people – visiting them in their own homes, the selection process will need to be very different than if you asking to volunteer in the countryside. 

Will volunteering help me get a job?

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) and an opportunity to try out different types of work if you’re considering a career change.

What can I offer?

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.  

So, if you think you are reliable, honest, have good timekeeping, are able to make regular commitment, have the ability to work with other people, can maintain confidentiality, happy to attend ongoing training and support, and have good communication skills, then please contact us.

What do I need to think about before I decide to volunteer?

To state the obvious, you are more likely to get more out of your volunteering experience if you enjoy it! So when choosing a volunteering 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, the environment, supporting your community etc. 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)

What is a DBS?

If you’re volunteering with vulnerable adults, children or young people you’ll need to have a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. This will be carried out as part of your recruitment process, and we will guide you through the process of completing the form and explaining the required identification needed to do the check, as a volunteer it 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, we encourage you to be open and honest. Having these won’t necessarily stop you from volunteering, as each case will be assessed on an individual basis.

How much time do I need to volunteer for?

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.

Can I still volunteer if I work full-time?

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.

Do I have to work the same hours every week?

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.

What do I need to become a volunteer?

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.

Will get paid if I volunteer? 

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.

Will I get any training if I volunteer?

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.

Can I leave if I don't like it?

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, such as your Volunteer Supervisor. 

You can discuss with them why you feel unhappy and what you feel would improve your time as a volunteer. 

Can I volunteer if I'm claiming benefits?

You can volunteer and claim benefits if the only money you get from volunteering is to cover expenses, like travel costs, plus, you continue to meet the conditions of the benefit you get – before you volunteer with us. 

 If you are in receipt of state benefits you should contact their Job Centre Plus Advisor, to ensure that they are not adversely affected by the duties to be undertaken. 

Can I get a qualification or an award?

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.

Do I need qualifications to volunteer?

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.