Volunteering – frequently asked questions
Can I claim for travelling expenses?
Yes, travelling expenses are refunded. If you are travelling by bus, your bus fares will be refunded. If you are travelling by car, the cost of the petrol is refunded at the rate of 24p per mile, for your return journey from home to the hospital. We also provide a parking permit.
Can I volunteer at the weekends?
Some volunteer roles are available at the weekends, such as helping on the wards or hospital radio. Other roles such as guiding are limited to Monday to Friday shifts.
Do I have to come for an interview and what will it involve?
Yes, all applicants for volunteer work are required to attend for an informal interview. The interview is very informal and will give us the chance to get to know you a little bit better. It will also give you the chance to get to know us and to ask any questions about volunteering. You will be able to discuss the various volunteer roles and we will help you decide what you would like to do.
Do I need a Work Permit to volunteer?
All volunteers require a work permit, even though volunteer work is unpaid. Students from overseas are allowed to volunteer during their vacation periods.
How do I apply to be a volunteer?
Please click on the relevant link:
Volunteering for Students and other young people under 25 years old
Volunteering for people aged 25 years and over
How long can I volunteer for?
Students and other young people aged under 25 years are offered 6
month placements. It may be possible to volunteer for longer, but this
depends on vacancies and cannot be guaranteed.
People aged 25 years and over can volunteer for as long as they wish, providing there is a suitable role available.
In all instances, we ask that our volunteers commit to a minimum of 6 months of their time.
How much time will I need to give and how often will I need to come?
Everyone has different personal commitments and we will try to find a role that fits in with your personal circumstances. Most volunteers give between 2-4 hours of their time, one day each week. Others come in two to three times each week. Some people come in once a month. How much time you give is really up to you.
I have a disability, can I still volunteer?
BTH welcomes people with disabilities. If you tell us about your disability, we will work together with you to find a role that suits you and your personal circumstances.
I have a paid job, can I still volunteer?
Yes. If you have a paid job, we will try our best to find a volunteer role that fits around your paid work.
I’m claiming job-seeker’s allowance, can I still volunteer?
When claiming job-seeker’s allowance, you must be able to prove to the authorities that you are available for work at all times. If you would like to volunteer, you must be willing to forfeit a volunteer shift if you are requested to attend interviews or appointments etc. at short notice. It is always advisable, however, to check with your job-seeker advisors, before undertaking volunteer work.
I’m not sure what I want to do, how will this be decided?
When you attend for interview, you will have the chance to discuss the various volunteer roles and what’s involved. It’s a good idea to jot down what you think you might like to do and what you enjoy doing as this will be a good starting point.
If I don’t like my volunteer role, can I change it?
It can take a little while to settle in, as in any new role. We do ask however, that you persevere for a few weeks – once you get to know everyone and can find your way around, it will be much more fun! If you don’t like the volunteer role you have chosen, or you are still finding finding it hard to settle in, this can be discussed and we will try to arrange more support or find you an alternative placement.
If I have to leave, can I come back later?
If you have to leave and then decide you would like to come back to volunteer at a later date, provided it is within twelve months of you leaving you will be able to return. All you will need to do is arrange to call in for a chat and we will arrange for your return. If it is over twelve months since you have left, then you will need to re-apply.
What is a CRB check and will I need to have one done?
A CRB check is a police check that looks into your past to see if you have a criminal record. It is performed by the Criminal Records Bureaux (CRB) and is required for most volunteer roles within a healthcare setting. Each person is considered on an individual basis so, if you are concerned about having a CRB check carried out, you can discuss this confidentially, with a member of the Voluntary Services team. You will need to provide three forms of Identification (ID). This usually includes a form of photo ID such as a passport or driving licence, and two other forms of address ID such a utility bill or bank statement. Don’t worry if you don’t have these documents, we will advise you of what alternatives can be used. You will not be charged for the CRB check.
What skills/qualifications will I need to be a volunteer?
Generally, volunteers need to have good communication skills and to have a genuine interest in volunteering and helping others. Good volunteers demonstrate kindness and compassion but it’s also essential to have a good sense of humour too! It will help a lot, if you are a little outgoing and have worked with people before, but, it’s not essential. So, if you are a little shy and reserved at first, don’t worry, we’ll soon help you to feel at home and gain more confidence. Most of all, we want you to enjoy your volunteer work and to feel part of the team!
What sort of volunteer roles are available?
There are a variety of volunteer roles available.
What support will I get?
Where possible, we will try to ‘buddy’ you up with an experienced volunteer to support you through your first few sessions. Staff on the wards and in the departments will also help you settle in. Everyone settles in at a different pace so, and some people require more support than others. This will be discussed with you before you start and then reviewed a few weeks after your first session. The Voluntary Services Department has an ‘open door’ policy, which means that you can call in if you have a problem or a query. You will also receive the necessary induction and training for your chosen volunteer role.
When can I start?
The screening process takes between six to eight weeks to complete, from when you submit your completed forms. Once all the checks have been carried out, a second appointment will be arranged with you to discuss when you will be able to start and where you will be working.
Will I receive an induction and any training?
You will receive all the necessary training for your role and you will be given a thorough induction.
Will I get paid for volunteer work?
No. There are no payments for volunteer work at BTH. You will, however, be able to claim travel expenses.
Will I have to wear a uniform?
At BTH, we consider our volunteers to be representatives of the Foundation Trust and therefore ask that our volunteers follow a dress code. This usually means that you are dressed smartly and look professional. Some volunteer roles, such as Tea-bar roles require you to wear protective aprons or tabards and these will be provided for you. Student volunteers are required to wear a polo shirt bearing an embroidered logo. For security reasons, all volunteers must wear an identification badge at all times and this will be provided for you.
Will I need a CV?
CV’s are a useful way of providing information about your studies and work history. However, they are not essential when applying for a volunteer role.
Will I need to have a medical?
All volunteers are required to complete a paper health screen form. The Occupational Health team will assess the information you have provided about your health, to determine if you are fit and well enough to carry out your chosen role. Sometimes, they advise minor changes to the role, which will make it more appropriate to a volunteer’s level of fitness. Where a volunteer is deemed not fit enough at all to carry out there chosen role, we will do our best to find an alternative role that will be more appropriate.
Will I need to provide references?
All volunteers need to provide the name and address of two people who can give a good character reference. It’s best to ask your intended referees first, before you put their names down.
Referees must not however, be related to you in any way.
Referees need to have known you (recently) for at least two years.
If you have been employed in the last five years, you must provide referee details of your current or previous employer.