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Below you will find the answers to some common questions about volunteering, including who can volunteer, why you might consider volunteering and what we can do to support you.

Why volunteer?

Volunteers are so important to Shelter and help us to support far more people experiencing homelessness or bad housing, from providing direct support to our clients to raising vital funds in out shops. We really value the contribution of volunteers, and want to ensure that volunteering is a positive experience for you as well! It can help you to meet new people and develop new skills, as well as being enjoyable. It can also improve your health - research has shown that volunteering can reduce your likelihood of getting a number of major health conditions. Finally, it can help you to get a new job -  80% of employers said they are more likely to hire someone who has volunteering experience on their CV.  

What support do volunteers receive?

If you’re volunteering with us, you will receive all of the training required to complete your role confidently and safely. You’ll also have regular contact with a member of staff who will help you identify goals you’d like to reach in your position.

There aren’t any roles on your website that I’m interested in– should I get in touch anyway?

You are welcome to get in touch, but we are unlikely to be recruiting for roles that aren’t on our website. We can advise when we are likely to be next recruiting and can add your name to our waiting list, but may not be able to give you any definite timescales.

Can I volunteer if I am claiming benefits?

Absolutely! The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) recognise that volunteering is a worthwhile experience for people either seeking work or experiencing ill health. You just need to make sure that your contact person at the DWP is aware of your volunteering activity.

Can I volunteer if I am an asylum seeker or refugee?

Yes! Asylum seekers and refugees are permitted to volunteer as long as it fulfils Home Office requirements, which all of our roles do. We may need you to complete certain vetting requirements such as references or Disclosure checks, but we will support you to try and overcome any issues that you might have with this.

Do I need to provide references?

We do not require references for any of our volunteer roles. Our volunteers told us that references could be a real barrier for some individuals to get involved, so we made the decision to remove them from our recruitment process. Instead, we take the time to get to know you ourselves through 1-1 chats and our interactive training.

Do I need to complete a criminal record check?

We might ask you to complete a Basic Disclosure if you will be interacting with our clients or accessing our IT systems as part of your role, and you will need to become a member of the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme if you are working directly with children or vulnerable adults. Don’t worry though! We will support you through the whole process and you will not be expected to pay for this yourself. We also have an inclusive approach to volunteering, and will still consider your application if you have convictions.

Will it cost me anything to volunteer?

No, absolutely not. We are delighted that volunteers give us their time and firmly believe that you shouldn’t be out of pocket for doing so. We offer reasonable travelling expenses which will be agreed with you before you start volunteering, and you are able to claim money for food if you are volunteering for long periods of time. Our approach to repaying expenses is flexible and we’ll make sure that you’re not out of pocket for long.