Garden

How to get started

Volunteering is a hugely rewarding experience because:

  • it’s fun
  • it improves your health and happiness
  • it gives you the opportunity to try something different
  • you meet new friends
  • you learn new skills and develop the skills you already have
  • it improves your employability
  • you get involved in your local community
  • you get to help local people, causes and services

 

What to think about before you start volunteering

To get the full-benefit of volunteering it’s important to find the right opportunity for you. Here’s our top tips to get you off to the right start:

  • work out what your personal reasons for volunteering are. It’s important to find an opportunity that matches your motivations
  • start small. Enquire about just two or three opportunities at a time to help you manage your search
  • don’t be shy. Know what you want and what you expect from a good volunteering opportunity and ask the organisation you’re thinking of getting involved with lots of questions
  • if you’re offered an interview for a volunteering opportunity do your best to attend or let them know if you can’t
  • don’t worry. Organisations want volunteers to have a good experience. Discuss any anxieties you have including any support you might need with the recruitment process. This way they can help you work out if the opportunity is right for you
  • know what you’re allowed to do. In a few circumstances there can be restrictions around volunteering

 

Volunteering as a way into paid work

Many people volunteer in order to improve their options in the world of work. For some it’s a route into work, for others it’s a way of exploring what other job areas might suit them.

Volunteering can help you gain and demonstrate the top skills that employers want from their staff:

  • team working
  • communication
  • motivation
  • enthusiasm
  • adaptability

Volunteering can also help you to gain references as well real life experiences you can talk about in an interview.

If you’d like more information about how volunteering can improve your employability, get in touch with us on volunteercentre@bhcommunityworks.org.uk or 01273 234826

To find paid work try searching Brighton and Hove Jobs, an online jobs board which advertises paid and volunteer roles in the Sussex area.

 

Volunteering whilst on welfare benefits

It should be possible to volunteer whilst your receiving welfare benefits, as volunteering doesn’t necessarily imply that you’re fit to also work. However, you should always discuss any volunteering you do or any interest in volunteering with your benefits adviser in order to ensure that it doesn’t have an impact on your benefits.

If you’re receiving benefits and want to or are volunteering, read this guidance on volunteering whilst receiving benefits.

If you’ve had a negative experience of volunteering whilst receiving benefits and you’re happy to share your experience with us, we’d love to hear from you. It will help the conversations we have with the local Job Centre, and our involvement in national campaigns aimed at helping people to volunteer whatever their situation.

To share your experience get in touch with us on volunteercentre@bhcommunityworks.org.uk or 01273 234826

More information on getting started

Read our guide (PDF) on the key things to think about when getting ready to volunteer.

If you’ve any questions about volunteering, get in touch with us on volunteercentre@bhcommunityworks.org.uk or 01273 234826