Volunteer information

You can make a big difference to the lives of local families by donating your time.

Frequently asked questions

We’d love for you to come and volunteer with us. Everyone’s welcome, but there might be some restrictions depending on which volunteer role you’re interested in – More details below!

Can refugees or asylum seekers volunteer?!

Yes!

I have a criminal record – can I still volunteer?  

We ask you to disclose any unspent convictions when applying, doing so will not necessarily exclude you from becoming a volunteer. Still, it may exclude specific roles as outlined in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975. You may be asked to complete a standard or enhanced DBS check if your role requires it – this will be indicated on the role description. DBS checks for volunteers are free of charge, and we’re here to help you complete them. If you’re unsure, please contact the team to discuss your options before applying for a specific role.

Can I get support to volunteer if I have a disability?        

Yes. Please get in touch to talk about what roles will suit your skills and any additional support or adjustments you may need.

Can I be a volunteer if I have been recently bereaved?

Yes, you can. We don’t recommend some roles if you have recently been bereaved; however, we have lots of different opportunities available, so please get in touch if you would like to discuss your options.

I live outside the UK. Can I volunteer with you?

Yes! There’s no restrictions if you’re a citizen of the EU, EEA or Switzerland.

If you’re from outside these areas and require a visa to visit, study or work in the UK: you’ll need to check that you don’t have restrictions on your visa precluding from volunteering in the UK. To prevent volunteering from breaching your visa conditions, we recommend that you contact UK Visas and Immigration.

Please note that we’re not able to sponsor visa applications.

Do I have to be a certain age to volunteer?

Volunteers must be at least 16 years of age (or 15 years old if participating in the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme). Drivers who transport patients to and from the Hospice or in the community must be no older than 80. There is no upper age limit for all other roles.

How can I find a volunteer role?

We have lots of volunteer opportunities for you to choose from; you can start searching for a volunteer opportunity online now.

How can I apply for a role?

Once you have found an opportunity you like, you can apply quickly and easily online by completing the application form linked to the opportunity.

Can I apply in my local shop?

Yes indeed! We encourage you to pop into your local shop to say hello to our friendly team of staff and volunteers. They will tell you more about what’s involved and if you like what you hear, arrange some taster sessions for you in the shop!

Can I volunteer in more than one role?

Yes! Many volunteers help in more than one area, so if you are interested in volunteering in multiple roles, let us know when you apply. We will be more than happy to help you find your perfect roles.

You can let us know at any time during your volunteering if you want to do less or more!

I want to volunteer, but I can’t see a role advertised that is right for me?

We get lots of enquiries from people who want to volunteer but haven’t seen a role that matches their availability, skills and experience or what they are looking to gain from volunteering. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t worry, our Voluntary Services Advisors are here to help. Complete the enquiry form, and we will be in touch

Once you’ve signed up, one of our volunteer team will be in touch. Depending on what role you’ve applied for, you might be able to start right away, or there might be some more information and training required:

What checks will be carried out if I apply to volunteer?

To ensure the safety of our patients, staff and volunteers, we carry out certain checks, such as getting references for people applying to volunteer with us. Don’t worry if this is your first job or volunteering opportunity; you can ask a teacher, colleague or neighbour. If you’re not sure who to put as a referee, you can contact our voluntary Services Team 9link) for further help.

Some roles require a standard or enhanced DBS check. We ask all applicants to let us know if they have any unspent convictions to consider whether this is relevant to your volunteering. If a DBS check is required, it will be indicated in our role descriptions. DBS checks for volunteers are free of charge, and our Voluntary Services Team will help you complete them

Will I need to do training?

Training will be involved for most roles, which is free of charge and ensures you are safe and confident. Some roles require more than others, but this will be indicated in the role description.

Read our Handbook to find out more

We’ve got many flexible volunteering opportunities, from 2 hours ad hoc to a more regular commitment. Usually, we ask you to commit to a role for at least six months; we think that’s the minimum needed to receive training and achieve something from your volunteering.

Due to the amount of time it takes to process applications and train volunteers to work in the hospice, we are not able one-off opportunities at the House.

If you’re interested in more ad-hoc volunteering at our events or shops, take a look at our current opportunities.

Volunteering won’t affect your benefits. However, whilst volunteering you must continue to meet the conditions of the benefit(s) you receive. If you are unsure about volunteering and your benefits, we would advise contacting your local jobcentre or council for further advice.

We believe you should never be out of pocket when you volunteer with us, so we cover reasonable out-of-pocket expenses. We reimburse travel expenses, although we ask you to use the most cost-effective form of travel (usually public transport).

Yes. You can ask for a reference or certificate of achievement upon leaving, or sooner if you need one for a job or college application.

Image of a friendly volunteer on the reception desk

What our volunteers have to say:

The feeling of satisfaction I get each week from having made a contribution to Chestnut Tree House is priceless.

Make a difference

We depend on our volunteers to help at the hospice, in our charity shops and at our fundraising events.

Whether you can give a lot of time or only a few hours, there are so many ways that you can help us care for children with life-shortening conditions and their families.

Volunteering is also a great way of trying something new, gaining new skills and experience, meeting people and giving something back.

So, what’s stopping you?

Discover the volunteer role for you