Volunteering FAQs

If you have a question about volunteering with us, please take a look at the FAQs below as you may find the answer youre looking for. 

I don’t have much time, can I still volunteer?

Yes. The volunteer roles we offer are flexible and whilst some roles may ask that you volunteer for a certain number of hours per week, there will be flexibility around when you complete these hours as we understand you’ll have other commitments.

For volunteering roles that involve supporting someone living with mental illness, we ask that you try to make a commitment for a minimum six months so you and the person you’re supporting can get the most out of the experience.

What will I do as a volunteer?

There are many ways you can volunteer with us, these include:

  • Directly supporting people living with mental illness, either one-to-one or in a group.
  • Becoming a media volunteer and sharing your story to help raise awareness of mental health issues and challenge attitudes.
  • Tell us about your skills and experience, so we can match you to an opportunity.

How old do I need to be to volunteer?

To provide one-to-one support to a person living with mental illness, you will need to be 18 or over. For other roles, you will need to be 16 or over. People under 18 will need consent from their parent or guardian. There is no upper age limit for our volunteers.

Will I need a DBS (criminal record check) check?

A DBS check is a Disclosure and Barring Service check and looks at whether you have a criminal record. Not all volunteer roles need a DBS check however, if your role requires one, we will discuss it with you.

DBS checks are free for volunteers and you’ll also be able to register your certificate on the online Update Service for free.

I have a criminal record – can I still volunteer?

Yes, but if the volunteer role you have applied for requires a DBS check, you will need to tell us about your criminal record once you have been offered a volunteer role with us. If you have a criminal record, we’ll make a case-by-case decision about whether you can volunteer in a certain role. We may also consider alternative suitable roles for you.

Will volunteering affect my benefits?

Volunteering shouldn’t affect your benefits however, we suggest you seek advice from your Job Centre or employment advisor.

Will volunteering cost me anything?

No. We’ll reimburse you for reasonable and agreed out-of-pocket expenses whilst volunteering with us (e.g. travel / meals / other relevant costs).

Will I have to attend an interview?

Most of the volunteer roles we offer will require you to attend an informal discussion as it’s an opportunity for the Volunteer Manager to find out more about you and your interests but it’s also an opportunity for you to ask questions and to find if it’s the right volunteer role for you.

Will I need to give references?

No, we do not request references for volunteers.

Will you provide me with a reference when I have finished volunteering with you?

Yes. You can ask for a reference when you stop volunteering, or sooner if you need one. We will confirm the dates you volunteered and what your role involved.

How long does it usually take from applying to starting a volunteering role?

We aim for volunteers to start their role within four weeks. However, if your role requires a DBS check, it might take longer. We will keep you updated on progress throughout your onboarding.

What training will I get as a volunteer?

You’ll get an induction in your local area with the team you’re volunteering with and depending on your role, you may also receive extra training, which will be discussed with you.

What support will I get?

You will receive details of your Volunteer Manager who will provide you with support and guidance. Your Volunteer Manager will also complete regular supervisions with you which will enable you to discuss how you’re doing and if you would like any additional support.

If you still can’t find the information you need, please get in touch with our Volunteering Team on recruitment@rethink.org or call 0121 552 7000. They’d love to hear from you.