Volunteering FAQs

Find out the answers to some of the frequently asked questions about volunteering.

Is there a minimum or maximum age for volunteering?

At present, we welcome hospice based volunteers from age 16.  Some of our roles have other minimum age requirements, for example, patient drivers must be aged 25 or over. There is no maximum age limit.

We do have a lower age limit for fundraising events volunteers, this varies for each event, please look at the fundraising volunteering pages for more information.

I am currently receiving benefits. Can I still volunteer?

Yes. Volunteering does not affect the benefit payments you receive. However, it is important to let your benefits adviser know you’re volunteering. People claiming Job Seekers’ Allowance (JSA) can volunteer as long as they remain available for work and are actively seeking paid employment.

Do you pay expenses?

Volunteers are not paid for their time but are entitled to be reimbursed for their travel and other legitimate expenses via a completed expense claim form.

Do I need references?

Yes. We require the contact details of two referees on your application form that we can contact to provide written references.  These must have known you for at least two years and not be family members.  They do not have to be ‘professional’ i.e. employers, they can be friends and neighbours.

Is there a minimum time commitment?

This depends on the role.  Some are completely flexible, for others; there is a set day and time required (for example, our volunteer drivers transporting patients to day therapy or volunteers helping in the ward areas). We also have one-off opportunities such as marshalling a fun run or longer-term regular weekly/monthly opportunities.

For hospice-based roles, we ask for our volunteers to commit to a minimum of 12 months. The weekly time commitment will vary depending on the role.

I have a criminal record, can I volunteer?

Some roles require a DBS (formally called CRB) check.  If you are applying for a role that requires this check we will discuss this with you and make a decision on a case-by-case basis.

Can I volunteer if I have recently been bereaved?

We appreciate that ‘giving something back’ in the right role following a bereavement can be very positive. Please contact us to explore available opportunities.

Do I need to have any particular skills to be a volunteer?

Some roles do require a professional qualification or skill in a certain area; however for many roles what is needed is enthusiasm and an interest in people, a sympathetic and caring approach and good listening skills.

Can I still volunteer if I am not a British national?

If you are a resident of one of the member states within the European Union (EU), there are no restrictions on volunteering. If you are from outside of the EU (including refugees and asylum seekers), you will need to ensure you have an appropriate visa or provide confirmation that you are able to work within the UK, even though volunteering is not paid employment.

What is the application process?

All volunteers should first complete an application form, which you can do online for both hospice and shops roles.

You can then expect to attend an interview with the manager of the area you wish to volunteer in. You will need to provide details of two satisfactory references for us to contact. Depending on the role, a DBS (Disclosure & Barring Service) check will be carried out before you start your volunteering.  Our retail volunteer roles do not require a DBS check.

Will I be insured?

The hospice’s Liability Insurance covers all volunteers.

However, the insurance policy does not cover volunteers aged under 16 for personal assault when undertaking cash handling activities such as using a till, bucket collections or manning a tombola. This means that you would not be covered for any injury caused to you in the unlikely event of a robbery. Therefore, for your protection, you cannot undertake cash handling activities if you are under 16.

For some volunteer roles, such as complementary therapy volunteering, we may ask you to arrange your own professional indemnity insurance.

When can I start?

It can take a few weeks for your application to go through the recruitment process as we have to contact your referees and also some roles require a Disclosure and Barring Service check to be completed and these can take up to 12 weeks although most take significantly less. Once these have been received, you will be contacted by the manager of the relevant department.

Can I volunteer if I have a disability?

We welcome everyone. If you have a disability or additional needs that you think may affect your volunteering then please contact us and we will be glad to advise you.