Volunteering and 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can volunteer?
Anyone! You can volunteer whatever your age, job status or abilities. Just as with paid work, some volunteer opportunities require certain skills or qualifications but the role description will make this clear.
Everyone has different reasons to volunteer; you might want to find a way to gain new skills and experience, add to your CV, and build a reference, or you might want to meet new people, do something different, “give something back”, help a particular charity close to your heart or just have fun! Volunteering can give you all these and more.
How much of my time will it take up?
This is entirely up to you. Volunteering can take anything from an hour a month to a few days a week or be a one-time commitment. When deciding how often you would like to volunteer, think about how much time you could realistically commit.
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.
I’m interested in volunteering; what do I do from here?
You can search for opportunities online, or you can visit us at one of the Volunteer Centres in Basingstoke, Hart or Rushmoor. Each Volunteer Centre works differently:
Basingstoke: 1-2-1 appointments available at the Orchard, telephone 012556 423850 or email email@example.com. Drop in at the Discovery Centre in Basingstoke on the second, third, fourth and fifth Tuesday of each month 10:00 – 12midday for an informal chat with no commitment. Or simply call or email us for a chat, Monday to Thursday 9 – 3. Like us on Facebook www.facebook.com/basingstokevc
Hart: Our volunteer centre is based on the first floor of the Hart Shopping Centre, Fleet. We are open between 10am and 3pm Monday to Friday. You can simply pop along to see what’s on offer or alternatively contact us on 01252 627070 / firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are a digital whizz you can find us on twitter @Hart_Volunteers
Rushmoor: We are located on the first floor of the Ellis Hall Community Centre in Meudon Ave, Farnborough. We are open Monday – Friday between 9.00am and 4.00pm.
Contact us on email@example.com / 01252 540162
I work full time, but I’d like to volunteer; how can I get involved?
Most volunteering roles would ask for between 2 and 4 hours a week, although there are plenty that ask for just a few hours a month, or even just a one-off commitment. It is important to assess how much time you can reasonably give so that organisations can rely on you. Maybe you’d like to join a management committee to boost your leadership skills? How about mentoring a young person in employability skills? There are also opportunities to help at local events or to be a speaker for a charity as well as practical roles.
Check out the opportunities available in your area on this site or on the Volunteer Centres’ Facebook pages.
If you are particularly looking for skilled volunteer opportunities for employees contact your local Volunteer Centre for more details.
How can I use the volunteering leave offered by my employer?
Many companies offer their staff volunteering leave. This can support staff development, increase engagement with local communities and improve employee morale. There are plenty of opportunities that don’t require a regular commitment such as local events and fundraising. You may wish to volunteer with your colleagues as a team or offer your individual skills within a totally different arena to your everyday activity.
Basingstoke: offer a bi-monthly list of team and individual projects collated from local charities and community organisations, as well as an annual “Meet and Match” event to support partnership projects between business and community. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
I’m interested but I don’t know what type of volunteering to do
If you visit your local Volunteer Centre we can help you identify roles that would be suitable for you. Use our list of activities and interests to help focus your thoughts. If you are searching online, you can select your type of activity and your area of interest to make sure you only bring up relevant opportunities.
How old do I have to be to volunteer?
There are no age restrictions for volunteering although for many of the roles we cover you would need to be at least 18 years of age. However, there are still many organisations that offer volunteering to people aged 16 and over. If you are under 16, your local Volunteer Centre will be the best place to approach to find out about local organisations that can offer you an opportunity to contribute.
I’d like to volunteer, but don’t want to work all week.
You don’t have to! Most voluntary roles are for 2 – 4 hours per week. When you apply for roles make sure you know in advance when you would like to/not like to work as this can be negotiated with the organisation.
I want a placement relevant to a course I’m studying; who do I contact?
You would be best placed to visit your local Volunteer Centre to register and search for roles and companies to contact. Please remember that you can only volunteer with a charity or community organisation, if you are looking for a placement with a private company you should contact them directly.
Do you have 'one off' volunteer roles?
Yes! Often local voluntary organisations often look for ‘one off’ help especially for fund raising and sporting events – such as the a local Half Marathon, a sponsored event or a collection at a supermarket, plus many more. Your local volunteer centre will be best placed to advise on how to get involved.