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Frequently asked questions

Q. Who can volunteer?

A. Almost anyone! There are some age limits in place depending on the nature of the volunteering role but Barnardo's Scotland is committed to ensuring equality of opportunity for everyone who wants to volunteer with us. We have volunteers who are former Barnardo's service users, students, retired, unemployed, employed, disabled, non-disabled, old and young, from LGBT backgrounds and from a variety of ethnic and religious backgrounds. All Barnardo's staff and volunteers are committed to our basis and values. We aim to find a volunteering role to suit the individual, and we screen all our volunteers who will have contact with children.

Q. Why do people volunteer with Barnardo's Scotland?

A. There are many reasons why people choose to get involved. Here are just a few:

  • to support our work as a charity
  • to do something inspiring and for a worthwhile cause
  • to meet new people
  • to learn new skills and improve their CVs.

Q. Do you offer training to volunteers?

A. We give our volunteers introductory training to make sure they are able to carry out their volunteering tasks. There may also be opportunities for further training depending on the location and nature of the role. Volunteering in one of our shops, offices or services offers ideal work experience that many employers look upon favourably.

Q. What will I get out of volunteering?

A. It depends on what motivates you. Volunteering with Barnardo's Scotland will mean you are making a difference to the children and young people we work with. You could also benefit from helping or supporting other people, using existing skills or learning new ones, gaining confidence, being creative and responding to challenges. You may gain satisfaction from playing a positive role in someone else's life. If you're looking for work, you will gain valuable work experience for your CV.

Q. How much time do I have to give as a volunteer?

A. As much as you want. We'll tell you what we're looking for and you can tell us what you can do and when you can do it. Some people volunteer for a couple of hours a week, others help out at one-off events or during school holidays.

Q. What skills do I need to volunteer?

A. This will depend on what you want to do. If you don't have the skills needed, where possible, we'll help you develop them. Often, enthusiasm, the ability to smile and encourage are the most important skills required.

Q. Will volunteering affect my benefits?

A. No. Volunteers are not paid for their time but are entitled to be reimbursed for their travel and other legitimate expenses. Please read about the rules for volunteers receiving one of the benefits below:

  • people claiming Job Seekers’ Allowance (JSA) can volunteer as long as they remain available for work and are actively seeking paid employment
  • people claiming Income Support and/or Disability Living Allowance can volunteer
  • people claiming Incapacity Benefit can volunteer for as long as they want. There used to be a rule that people receiving Incapacity Benefit could only volunteer for 16 hours a week but this rule no longer exists. Volunteering does not affect your ‘permitted work’.

Volunteering does not affect the benefit payments you receive. You should inform your benefits advisor when you begin volunteering.

Q. I’m an asylum seeker, can I volunteer?

A. Yes. Since April 2000, asylum seekers have been allowed to volunteer. You may receive or already have a letter saying that you must not engage in paid work - but this does not apply to roles that are clearly voluntary. You can volunteer in our shops or our offices, help with our fundraising work or in one of our projects for children. However, if you do want to help with a project for children, we will undertake a Protecting Vulnerable Groups check. Asylum seekers who volunteer are entitled to receive out-of-pocket expenses.

Q. I'm a refugee, can I volunteer?

A. People who have refugee status or have exceptional leave to remain are allowed to do any type of work, including voluntary work.

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