City : Volunteering Avenue : Why Volunteer
What is Volunteering?
Volunteering covers any activity that you do where you spend time doing unpaid work with the aim of benefiting people or an environment.
There are so many varied opportunities and projects available to choose from and there is loads more information on floors two and three.
Why Should I Volunteer?
- Develop skills
- Do something really rewarding
- Give back to your community and help other people
- Get some great experience for your CV
- Get references
- Makes you more employable
- It can increase your confidence in the working environment
- A chance to meet new people and make new friends
- Gain recognition (vInspired offers Awards for people who volunteer for a certain number of hours)
- The chance to contribute to a project or a cause that really matters to you
Can I volunteer while on Job Seekers Allowance?
As long as you are paid no more than your expenses and you still fulfil the criteria for claiming benefits, you can still claim unemployment benefit whilst you are volunteering.
If you are given a subsistence allowance (this equates to more than just expenses) or you are doing a job that someone would normally be paid for then you cannot claim benefits.
If you are on JSA and you are volunteering, you can volunteer with any kind of organisation as long as you are not working for a family member and you aren’t being paid (apart from reasonable expenses).
You can volunteer for as many hours as you like as long as you can show that you are actively seeking employment and are available for work.
There is an online information pack available at DWP, but if you are in doubt then you should always check with your Job Centre Plus advisor.
Your Job Centre Plus adviser can help to direct you to some volunteering opportunities on the Work Together programme.
Can I set up my own project?
Yes there is excellent advice and guidance on how to start up your own project, along with more information about the role of O2 Think Big on the fourth floor.
What do I need to be able to volunteer?
Firstly you will need some free time. This could be anything from one hour a week to a longer period of a few months free, depending on the project that you want to participate in.
Some positions may require you to have a DBS check (police criminal record check). Having a criminal record does not mean that you can’t volunteer; it just means it will be taken into consideration when you are applying. Only positions working with children or vulnerable adults will ask for this.
Depending on the project you may need some basic training which is likely to be provided by the organisation running the volunteer project.
Most importantly, you will need some enthusiasm for the volunteer project you are applying for!