Volunteering FAQs

Skye, Lochalsh, Wester Ross

Can volunteering lead to paid employment?
Volunteering can help you gain experience and develop skills that can help you get a job. Through volunteering you will:

  • Keep your skills fresh

  • Get new skills and experience

  • Transform your CV

  • Increase your confidence levels

  • Get references

  • Socialise

  • make connections,

  • improve core skills such as team work and communication

  • demonstrate commitment, 

 

Can I get a qualification through volunteering?

Some organisations offer formal qualifications through volunteering and in many roles you will gain valuable experience and skills, which you can include on your CV.  Volunteering can also provide you with a reference if you are applying for jobs.  ​

Soft skills are increasingly important in the workplace, especially for those starting out in their careers. volunteering is a great way to start developing these skills, including: 

  • Communication skills

  • Flexibility

  • Good time management

  • The ability to be a good leader

  • Problem-solving skills

  • Creativity

  • Being able to work well under pressure

  • Having the ability to make decisions 

  • Being a good team player

I’m on welfare benefits, can I volunteer?
Yes, you can volunteer as many hours as you want each week and your benefits won’t be affected. However, depending on the benefits you receive, there are a few things you should know before you start.

Tell the office that pays your benefits about any volunteering that you are planning to do before you start. Tell them:

  • how many hours a day you will be volunteering for

  • how many days a week you will be volunteering for

  • whether you will be volunteering for the same hours and days each week, or whether they change

  • what you will do in your volunteer role

  • whether you will get any expenses

  • about any money you get on top of expenses

  • anything else you are given – this may not be money

for more information visit UK Government Guidance on Volunteering and claiming benefits here

Do I need to have a Disclosure check?
If you are going to be in contact with children or supporting ‘vulnerable’ adults, the organisation you are looking to volunteer for  services may have a legal obligation to conduct a disclosures application on you. This is undertaken to ensure that you do not have any impediments or previous convictions that would make you unsuitable for working alongside children or vulnerable adults which could put them at risk. If you have a criminal record, this may not exclude you from volunteering. If you do disclose convictions you will likely be given a opportunity to explain the circumstances. Most convictions do not automatically exclude people from volunteering.

Find out more about Disclosure Checks here

Is there extra support available?
If you are not sure about what you would like to do, or require some extra support in your volunteering SLCVO can assist you in finding the right opportunity and take those first steps into a new volunteering role.

 

Contact info@slcvo.org.uk to see how we can help you.

Will I get expenses?
Most Third Sector will reimburse out-of-pocket expenses to volunteers  

What should I expect as a volunteer?
A volunteers experience will vary for every opportunity/role but, there are some basic support services you should expect:

  • An induction where you are introduced to the opportunity/role and the organisation, its procedures, and to colleagues. Also a health and safety brief, remit of your role, and how expenses are paid.

  • A named contact who you can go to with any problems or queries.

  • Initial training in order to be able to carry out your role. 

  • Ongoing support to provide you with development opportunities and to sustain your skills, motivation and interest in the organisation.

 

What if I have a problem?
If you have an issue, concern or problem first talk to the group you are volunteering for to give them a chance to investigate and do their best for their volunteers. If things are not resolved and you want to talk to another organisation Skye and Lochalsh CVO, may be able to intervene and help to suggest possible solutions to the issue or problem.

I’ve got a criminal conviction - can I volunteer?
You can, and many people with criminal convictions do. It all depends on the nature of your conviction, how recent it was, the kind of voluntary role you are interested in and the organisation where you wish to volunteer.  

How much time do I need to volunteer for?

This depends on you and the nature of the role you're interested in. You can find volunteering opportunities that are a one-off such as a beach clean, some can be as little as 1 hour every two weeks such as a telephone befriender and others can be more regular.

Volunteer opportunities can take place at any time of the week. You can volunteer at evenings and weekends in and out of office hours depending on what you want to do. If you would like help to find a position that suites your free time contact Samantha-Jo our Third Sector Development Officer at info@slcvo.org.uk who will  search our database for roles that match the time you have and will help you decide which might suit you best.

Can I leave if I don’t like it?

You are under no obligation to keep volunteering for an organisation if for any reason you do not want to. However, it is always worth talking to somebody before leaving to chat about the reasons why you wnt to leave and if there were any issues how these could be improved for volunteers

in the organisation.