Over the last few year volunteering has lost the stigma surrounding it is a great way to gain experience to help you enter the work place. There’s also some great ways to gain it too both inside and outside of the UK! Here’s my handy little list!
In The UK Do-it.org
Do-it is an internet database of volunteering opportunities, and covers the whole UK. The database can be searched by postcode, type of volunteering activity and type of organisation. Website: http://www.do-it.org.uk
These are local organisations that provide support and expertise within the local community, to potential volunteers, existing volunteers and organisations that involve volunteers. They can tell you about local volunteering opportunities and put you in touch with local organisations. You can also discuss with them what you want to do and get further advice.
Skills-based Volunteering: Reach
Reach is a charity which recruits people of all ages and backgrounds throughout the UK with specific business, professional, managerial or technical career experience and finds them part time, expenses only opportunities, with voluntary organisations which need their expertise. For further information contact REACH on 020 7582 6543
V can advise you on finding volunteering opportunities if you are aged 16-25.
The GuideStar website contains information on approximately 168,000 registered charities in England and Wales, so can be used to find local groups in your area. Once you’ve identified the voluntary groups that you’d like to volunteer with, you can contact them directly to find out what sort of volunteering opportunities they have available.
BTCV (British Trust for Conservation Volunteers) BTCV is the country’s leading charity protecting the environment through practical action. The Natural Break programme of conservation working holidays enables volunteers to spend a week in spectacular settings learning new conservation skills.
- AGE: 16+ (overseas visitors, 18+)
- TIME: 2 days upwards
- COST: Prices start at around £60 per week, £40 for a weekend, and include food & accommodation.
- WORK: Various conservation tasks such as woodland management, pond clearance, dry stone walling and footpath construction. There is also the opportunity to make a longer- term commitment for 3-12 months at one of BTCV’s volunteer centres, and international opportunities in 20 countries.
- Accepts volunteers from overseas
CSV offers full time volunteer placements away from home at hundreds of social care projects nationwide.
- AGE: 16+
- TIME: 4-12 months full time
- COST: Free. Accommodation, food, out of pocket expenses, £30 per week pocket money provided.
- WORK: Supporting disabled people to be able to live independently, both in their own home or at university. Mentoring and befriending young people at risk of offending, enabling people with mixed disabilities to access leisure facilities and social activities, work in special schools, homeless hostels, residential and day care centres.
- QUALIFICATIONS: No experience or qualifications required
Independent Living Alternatives
Promotes the independence of people with disabilities who require physical support in every day life. It places volunteers, in the form of a partnership, to provide such support.
- AGE: 18+
- TIME: 4 months+
- COST: Board, lodging and pocket money provided. Travel expenses and all incidental expenses incurred whilst working for the project are paid.
- QUALIFICATIONS: None; all training will be provided. Driving license useful.
- Accepts volunteers from abroad if they can speak and write English.
Sense is a national voluntary organisation working with and for people who are deafblind and often with associated disabilities.
- AGE: 18 +
- TIME: 1 week
- COST: Sense provides full board and accommodation. Sense will also pay reasonable travel costs for students and unemployed volunteers.
- WORK: We need enthusiastic volunteers to help in our summer holiday programme for deafblind children and adults. The holiday programme starts at the end of July and finishes at the end of August.
Lee Abbey Community
Lee Abbey is a Christian holidays and conference centre run by a community working for the renewal and refreshment of the church. A branch in London is a hostel for international students.
- AGE: 18+
- TIME: Minimum 1 year
- COST: Board, lodging and pocket money provided.
- WORK: Volunteers must be committed Christians. Applicants are invited to write to Lee Abbey with information about themselves, their backgrounds and why they would like to join the community.
- QUALIFICATIONS: None
Thistle Camps (The National Trust For Scotland)
Volunteers help with conservation and management of countryside properties cared for by the National Trust for Scotland. Volunteers should be physically fit for outdoor work.
- AGE: 16+
- TIME: 1 – 3 weeks
- COST: Volunteers make a £65 – £150 contribution towards project costs, with reductions for people who are unwaged.
- WORK: Practical conservation work on NTS properties all over Scotland, including the remote islands.
- Overseas volunteers are welcome over 18 years old
The National Trust
The National Trust works for the preservation of places of historic interest or natural beauty in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Trust organises over 400 inexpensive working holidays.
- AGE: 18+ (but piloting a small number of 16+ holidays)
- TIME: 1 week or weekend.
- COST: From £60 per week (meals and accommodation).
- WORK: Volunteers on working holidays may be involved in countryside conservation, wildlife surveys or construction projects.
- Overseas applicants are welcome
The Trust also runs a long-term volunteer scheme for people who are looking for practical work experience, usually following a relevant course.
Vitalise is a leading UK charity providing essential breaks for disabled people and carers at six centres across the UK.
- AGE : 16+ No upper age limit
- TIME: Residential weeks, from 1 to 52!
- COST : Free
- WORK: Supporting adults and children with disabilities on holiday, in a fun and active environment along with other volunteers from all backgrounds and from all over the world. Loads of ‘theme weeks’ every year, from cricket to clubbing, cordon bleu, to Christmas shopping! Volunteers needed all year round, but especially in Spring and Autumn.
- Small groups and volunteers from overseas are welcome.
Volunteering Outside Of The UK
The Overseas Directory – http://www.intervol.org.uk/
Do-it – http://www.do-it.org.uk
United Nations Volunteers – http://www.unv.org
VSO UK – http://www.vso.org.uk/
World Wide Volunteering http://www.wwv.org.uk
Gap Year – www.gapyear.com
Gap Year for Grown Ups – http://goo.gl/vk9189
Year Out Group – http://www.yearoutgroup.org
Idealist.org – www.idealist.org
Working Abroad – www.workingabroad.com
Experience Development – http://goo.gl/a9sDjL