Frequently Asked Questions

This page is for volunteers, and anyone who would like to volunteer. Here you will find answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) related to volunteering generally. If you have questions about the Volunteer Connect, the database we use to post opportunities on, please see our Volunteer Connect FAQs.

If you cannot find the answer to a question you have about volunteering, send us an email at enquiry@volunteeringhounslow.org.uk or give us a call on 0300 365 9930.

Yes. You should be able to claim Job Seekers Allowance as long as you remain available for and are actively seeking work. Income Support, Incapacity Benefit and Disability Living Allowance should all remain unaffected.

For more information about volunteering whilst claiming benefits, please visit the gov.uk website.

Most organisations pay reasonable 'out of pocket' expenses, these cover travelling costs and possibly lunch if you volunteer for a full day. Not all organisations are in a position to pay expenses so it is important to confirm this with the organisation before you commence your volunteer placement.

For more information about expenses, please visit the gov.uk website.

What is the difference between a CRB and a DBS check?

The main difference is that a DBS check is tranferrable so volunteers will not have to apply for a new check every time they volunteer with a new organisation in a role that requires a DBS check.

On 1st December 2012, the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority merged to become the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). The new system will replace the old CRB checking service and will launch in the next few months.

Do I need a DBS check to volunteer?

It depends on the kind of volunteering role you are doing. If you volunteering brings you into close contact with young people under 18 or vulnerable adults (older people or people with physical or mental disabilities) then you will require a DBS check. It is the responsibility of the organisation you are volunteering with to apply for a DBS check for you and they will let you know if it is required or not.

Why do I need a DBS check?

DBS checks are used in the voluntary sector to make safer recruitment decisions by identifying candidates who may be unsuitable for certain work that involves children or vulnerable adults.

The CRB was established under of the Police Act 1997 and was launched in March 2002, following public concern about the safety of children, young people and vulnerable adults.

Does it cost anything to get a DBS certificate?

The service is free for volunteers.

I have an exisiting CRB check, do I need to do anything?

No. Your existing CRB is still valid. If you ever go onto volunteer at a new organisation in a role that requires a DBS certificate, you will acquire a DBS certificate that will then be portable.

For full information about DBS checks please visit the gov.uk website.

How can I register for group volunteering?
You can come and meet the team at an outreach session, call or email us. You will be asked to complete our online registration form. This will let us know the size of your group, availability, interests, skills and budget possibilities so that we can advise you on suitable opportunities.
 
What form do I need to complete?
You need to complete this online registration form – Registration Here.
 
What support will you receive?
You can select an opportunity from the list on our website (click here).  After you have chosen your opportunity we will introduce you to the organisation so that you can make arrangements for the volunteering day. We will keep in touch in the lead up to your volunteering day and can promote it on social media if you like.
 
What are the benefits?
- Develop useful skills
- Satisfaction of making a valuable impact to charities in their local area
- Team building
- Develop stronger and more effective communication skills
 
Is your Service free?
Yes, our service is free. However please note that some organisations may need support with funding the volunteering day, this may be needed for equipment etc. If this is to be the case, the organisation will draw attention to the price in their role description.
 
What kind of opportunities do you have?
It’s always changing. The most common opportunities are helping with gardening/DIY/painting. Please check the list for a full list of current opportunities.
  
Is there a minimum age requirement?
It depends on the kind of volunteering role you are doing. There are more opportunities that are available for over 18s, however, we try to develop opportunities for young people as well.
 
What size of group is ideal for group volunteering?
Although most of the opportunities are ideal for 10-15 people, we support small and large group as well.
 
We are just a group of friends. Can we participate in group volunteering too?
Yes, of course. Any group can participate in group volunteering.
 
When will the opportunity take place?
It’s up to you and the organisation. After you’ve chosen the opportunity in which you would like to take part, we will introduce you to the representative of the organisation to discuss further details and book the date. Some opportunities are only available on selected dates. Please note the gardening and maintenance work is usually available during weekdays however the big events (e.g. races, festivals) are at weekends.
 
How many hours will our group be volunteering?
The organisations usually offers half day or one day events. Sometimes there are some opportunities that required regular support from volunteer groups (e.g. once a month).
 
Do we need any special qualification?
Usually you will not need any. You just need to be enthusiastic, motivated and open.  However many tasks involve basic gardening, painting or DIY skills.
 
Is a DBS check required for every member of the group?
It depends on the kind of volunteering role you are doing. If your volunteering opportunity brings your group into close contact with young people under 18 or vulnerable adults then you may require a DBS check. It is the responsibility of the organisation you are volunteering with to apply for a DBS check for you and they will let you know if it is required or not.

All information correct at time of publication.