FAQs about volunteering

1. What is a Volunteer Centre? 

Volunteer centres are local organisations that provide support and expertise within the local community, to potential volunteers, existing volunteers and organisations that involve volunteers. The Volunteer Centre Bromley is part of a national network of volunteer development agencies.

You can search for local volunteering opportunities using our volunteer recruitment portal.

 

2. Why should I volunteer? 

People have different reasons for volunteering. Some of these reasons include:

  • To have fun, meet new people and make friends
  • To help my community and/or give something back
  • Gain experience to help get work or to put on my CV
  • To try working in a different environment e.g. working with children/elderly
  • To provide a structure to my week
  • To help people going through something I've experienced
  • Feeling that I'm doing something worthwhile
  • To have training for new skills

 

3. What can I do as a volunteer?

There are a number of volunteering opportunities on offer, it is up to you to decide whether you prefer doing something that is already familiar to you, or if you want to try something completely new.  Here are a few examples:

  • Become a trustee and get involved in the running of a charity.
  • Befriend an isolated older person
  • Mentor a young person
  • Help in a charity shop
  • Help organisations with their social media and marketing.
  • Muck in and help at local green spaces

 

4. Will volunteering affect my benefits? 

People are allowed to volunteer while claiming state benefits, including means-tested benefits such as universal credit, jobseeker’s allowance (JSA), incapacity benefit, income support, and employment and support allowance (ESA).

You can volunteer as many hours as you like while you’re getting benefits as long as you keep to the rules for getting them.  For more details, including the most recent ‘rules’ around volunteering and benefits, check out NCVO: Volunteering and Benefits.

 

5. How long will it take to start volunteering?

This may depend on several factors.  Some organisations may be able to let you start straight away.  However, if you are required to be interviewed, provide references, get a Disclosure and Barring check (DBS), and go through an introductory training.  It may be weeks, and sometimes months before you can start.

 

6. Will I be reimbursed for any out-of-pocket expenses?

Most volunteer-involving organisations will reimburse out of pocket expenses that volunteers incur while volunteering.  This typically includes the cost of travelling to and from volunteering, and meals eaten whilst volunteering.  Be aware that there may be a few organisations who are unable to offer expense (this is usually due to lack of funding).  It is a good idea to ask organisation if they pay expense before you start.