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Volunteer FAQs

Here you will find answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) related to volunteering in general as well as specific questions related to Team Kinetic.

If your question does not appear here then please feel free to get in touch with us via the Contact Us page.

 

Many people have come forward to support people affected by Covid-19. We still need volunteers to help with a whole range of activities.

Go on our volunteering platform and search for ‘Covid-19’ to see current roles.

Informal volunteering groups

If you are part of an informal volunteering group/mutual aid group please see our advice on how to volunteer safely. Please get in touch if you need support.

In Kingston, the council has set up a service to support people with different needs. Please go to this link to find out more: https://www.kingston.gov.uk/COVID-19_NeedHelp

If they live in a different borough, we suggest getting in touch with their local’s council’s COVID-19 Central Hub.

There are ways you may be able to volunteer from home.

On our volunteering platform, search on our website for ‘from home’ roles, or get in touch with us for specialised advice.

Volunteering from home and volunteering when you cannot do so from home are permitted in all tiers.

Check the local restrictions on gov.uk website for advice at the current time. If the advice says that you should work from home where possible, then you should only volunteer outside of your home if you cannot volunteer from home.

The organisation you volunteer for should discuss with you whether you need to volunteer outside of the home, and the precautions they are taking to keep you and others safe. If you are volunteering in a COVID secure environment – this means that the organisation you are volunteering for has carried out a risk assessment and put measures in place to ensure safe social distancing – the tier 1, 2 and 3 restrictions will not apply but please speak to your voluntary organisation about this first.

No one should ever feel pressured to volunteer.

Contact us if you need any further advice.

99.9% of volunteers are honest and absolutely want to do the right thing – sadly there is a handful of people who may exploit the situation. To minimise the risk by asking a neighbour or relative for help. If you ask for help from a Neighbourhood Volunteer Initiative, please be careful about the personal information you share and do not let anyone inside your home.

Volunteers also need to be careful about the situations they are putting themselves in, for example not going into people’s home alone, please read our guidance on staying safe while helping others.

Charities have procedures in place like criminal records checks (DBS) and references to prevent people from being able to take advantage. Anyone who needs support with collecting prescriptions, or support in their homes, should make a request through the council. These teams will be carrying out the appropriate background check on volunteers.

You can volunteer without having a DBS check, however, there may be some roles you are prohibited from doing until you have completed a DBS check. This depends on whether the activity is regulated or unregulated. DBS checks for volunteers are free of charge and the organisation you volunteer with should cover any administrative fees.

It is against the law for an organisation to recruit a barred volunteer into a regulated role. If you yourself know you are barred from certain activities (you will have been informed by DBS if you are), it is an offence to volunteer in regulated activities.

If you do have a criminal record, there are still roles you can carry out. These are called unregulated activities. Basic support tasks for people who are self-isolating such as shopping and dog walking does not amount to regulated activity, so, therefore, would not require a DBS. Organisations should risk assess volunteer roles to determine whether the role is eligible for a DBS check. You can use the DBS eligibility calculator to find out if the volunteer role you want to undertake requires a DBS check.

Volunteers are making a valuable contribution to the lives of people who are self-isolating and need help at the moment, and we want to encourage people to continue to volunteer to support their communities. However, the reason we are volunteering is to keep people safe and to prevent the spread of the virus. The last thing we want is to infect someone who is vulnerable or at risk.

The good news is that there are lots of precautions you can take if you are considering volunteering right now to make you as safe as possible; please see our advice on how to stay safe while volunteering.

Keep up to date with NHS advice and local restrictions, which is being updated regularly, on how to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Discuss with the organisation you are volunteering with how best to keep yourself and others safe and what precautions they have put in place.

Yes. You should be able to claim Job Seekers Allowance as long as you remain available for and are actively seeking work. Income Support, Incapacity Benefit and Disability Living Allowance should all remain unaffected.

For more information about volunteering whilst claiming benefits, please visit the gov.uk website.

Most organisations pay reasonable ‘out of pocket’ expenses, these cover travelling costs and possibly lunch if you volunteer for a full day. Not all organisations are in a position to pay expenses so it is important to confirm this with the organisation before you commence your volunteer placement.

For more information about expenses, please visit the gov.uk website.

It depends on the kind of volunteering role you are doing. If your volunteering brings you into close contact with young people under 18 or vulnerable adults (older people or people with physical or mental disabilities) then you will require a DBS check. It is the responsibility of the organisation you are volunteering with to apply for a DBS check for you and they will let you know if it is required or not.

The service is free for volunteers.

DBS checks are used in the voluntary sector to make safer recruitment decisions by identifying candidates who may be unsuitable for certain work that involves children or vulnerable adults.

No. Your existing CRB is still valid. If you ever go onto volunteer at a new organisation in a role that requires a DBS certificate, you will acquire a DBS certificate that will then be portable.

For full information about DBS checks please visit the gov.uk website.

We support volunteers from the point of initial interest, and help you find the right volunteer opportunity and placement, ensuring your experience is a positive one. We are an inclusive service and encourage people with all types of abilities to register.

Our team offers over 20 years experience in working in the voluntary sector and with volunteers in communities in London. We offer specialist skills enabling us to support volunteers, organisations, businesses and the public sector.

We are a member of NCVO and the Greater London Volunteering Network so align our practices with the industry standard and are up-to-date with new policy and legislation.