Volunteering FAQs


Q4. What skills do I need to volunteer?

A. Enthusiasm and the ability to smile, encourage and listen are the most important skills required. We want every volunteer to develop to their full potential, and whilst we try to match the volunteering role to the volunteer’s skills, we can also offer further, relevant training and development opportunities.

Q5. Will volunteering affect my benefits?

A. Many people are concerned that volunteering might affect their benefits and with the move towards Universal Credit, there is bound to be some uncertainty. Speak to your benefits advisor if you have any concerns about volunteering affecting your claim.

Information about Universal Credit can be found on the following website: www.gov.uk/universal-credit

You will still be able to receive out-of-pocket expenses without affecting your benefits.

Q6. I am a refugee/asylum seeker, can I volunteer?

A. Asylum seekers, people who have refugee status or who have exceptional leave to remain in the UK, are all eligible to volunteer. Barnardo’s may be able to involve you as a volunteer, as long as you have your own accommodation in the UK and fulfil our screening criteria necessary for the volunteering opportunity, including DBS checks.

Q7. I live overseas, but will be visiting the UK for a while; while I’m in the UK, can I volunteer with Barnardo’s?

A. If you can fulfil the screening criteria necessary for the volunteering role, including police checks, we may be able to find a volunteering role for you, but we are unable to provide accommodation or living expenses. We also need to be satisfied that your visa or entry clearance conditions allow you to volunteer – we may request to see your visa or passport to check this. If you’re in any doubt about whether you are allowed to volunteer, please contact the UK Border Agency.

If you become resident in the UK, but have lived overseas for three months or more in the last five years, we will need to get police checks done in the country/ies where you were resident.

Q8. I’m under 16, can I still volunteer?

A. Barnardo’s welcomes the inclusion of young people as volunteers. The minimum age for volunteers is 10 years old due to insurance cover. Individual services will consider a suitable minimum age for volunteers in each of the roles they offer. For volunteer roles within one of our Retail shops there is a minimum age of 14 years this is due to safety and supervision requirements.

Whilst there are no legal restrictions governing hours of volunteering work for children aged 10-16 years old, it is Barnardo’s policy to comply as far as reasonably possible with the restrictions on paid employment for children and young people of school age.

Q9. I have a conviction. Can I still volunteer?

A. As an organisation working with children, Barnardo’s is required by law to carry out clearance checks on volunteers, referred to as ‘screening’. Screening is the process of carrying out checks to find out if a volunteer is suitable to work with children. This process includes interviewing, taking references and carrying out clearance checks.

Most convictions won’t stop you from volunteering, but we need to be told of any convictions you have if you will be volunteering in regulated work with children or vulnerable/protected adults.