Volunteering – Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re thinking about volunteering with us, you may have some questions. Here are the answers to our most frequently asked questions about volunteering with Carers Matter Norfolk.
- How do I apply for a volunteering role with Carers Matter Norfolk?
- How old do I need to be to volunteer?
- How much time do I need to give?
- What will I get out of volunteering for Carers Matter Norfolk?
- Will there be an interview?
- What support will I get as a Carers Matter Norfolk volunteer?
- What skills and experience do I need to volunteer?
- What training is available to volunteers?
- Will my expenses be covered?
- Will I need references?
- Will you do a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check on me (formerly known as CRB)?
- Can I volunteer if I have a criminal record?
- Can I claim benefits while volunteering?
- Will you provide me with a reference?
- I am a disabled person. Can I volunteer with Carers Matter Norfolk?
How do I apply for a volunteering role with Carers Matter Norfolk?
You can download the volunteer application form from our website and send it to us following the the instructions in the guidance. If you would like some assistance with the application you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the Carers Matter Norfolk Advice Line on 0800 083 1148, open Monday to Friday 8am-8pm, Saturday 4pm-8pm and Sunday 8am-12pm.
How old do I need to be to volunteer?
The minimum age for volunteering at Carers Matter Norfolk is 16 but that does vary from role to role. Other roles may not be suitable for people under 18 depending on the activities involved. All our role descriptions will say what the minimum age is, so you’ll know before applying. There’s no maximum age limit for volunteering at Carers Matter Norfolk.
How much time do I need to give?
Whether you can donate two-hour hours a year there is a role for you! Some roles include regular volunteering, while others can be one-off for a specific period of time. We have a range of opportunities across the county during daytimes, evenings and weekends; there’s something for everyone! Some individual roles have a minimum time requirement; for example, we ask Carer Support Volunteers.
What will I get out of volunteering for Carers Matter Norfolk?
Volunteering is a fun way to make friends, meet new people and can help to build your confidence. You can learn new skills and develop existing ones, while gaining valuable work experience for your CV. Each volunteer gets something slightly different from the experience but for many it’s making a difference to the lives of carers and changing the way things work for the better which motivates to volunteer with us.
Will there be an interview?
Before starting in most roles, volunteers will be invited for an informal interview. This gives us an opportunity to tell you more about our work and role, and to learn about your interests and skills but also enables you to ensure that the volunteering opportunity meets your needs and interests.
What support will I get as a Carers Matter Norfolk volunteer?
All volunteers are fully supported and supervised throughout their involvement with us. When you first start you’ll get an induction to Carers Matter Norfolk and the area of our service where you’re volunteering. You’ll always have a member of staff who is directly responsible for you and who will offer on-going support. This support may take the form of telephone calls and/or one-to-one meetings. You will be given a copy of our volunteer handbook and introduced to other volunteers and staff.
We make sure that you are not put in situations that are beyond your abilities and will work with you to help ensure that you find volunteering with us both challenging and rewarding. As a volunteer you may also be able to attend volunteer meetings where you can meet other volunteers and staff and learn more about what else is happening at Carers Matter Norfolk
What skills and experience do I need to volunteer?
For many of our volunteer roles you don’t need any specific skills or experience; enthusiasm, passion and the ability to encourage others are the most important skills required. Any specific skills and experience which are needed depend on the role you’re interested in. If specific skills, experience or qualifications are needed we will provide details on the role description.
What training is available to volunteers?
We’ll provide training to support you to carry out your volunteer role. If you work directly with carers, you’ll be required to complete Adults Safeguarding and Child Protection training (depending on the ages of the carers). Carer Support Volunteers receive training on providing information & emotional support, confidentiality and data protection. Someone facilitating a Mental Health Carers Group would receive training on issues around Mental Health. We make training for paid staff available to volunteers where appropriate.
Will my expenses be covered?
At Carers Matter Norfolk, we believe you should never be out of pocket if you volunteer with us, so we’ll pay for all of your reasonable out-of-pocket expenses, including travel. You will be asked to complete an expenses claim form regularly.
Will I need references?
Yes, we will ask you to provide details of two referees. Referees can be friends, colleagues or neighbours but not a family member. Your referees must be at least 18 years old and should have known you for at least six months. Each referee should be willing to provide us with a reference and know that we will be contacting them.
Will you do a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check on me (formerly known as CRB)?
It will depend on the role but most involve working or coming into contact with carers so will be subject to a DBS. The cost of DBS checks will be met by Carers Matter Norfolk. You will be asked to complete a form and to provide some I.D.
Can I volunteer if I have a criminal record?
A criminal conviction doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t volunteer with us. If you have a criminal record and would like to volunteer in a role where a DBS check is required, we will need to speak to you about this and a decision will be made on a case-by-case basis.
Can I claim benefits while volunteering?
Volunteering does not affect benefit payments, as volunteers are not paid for their time. We would advise you to inform your benefit advisor or Job Centre Plus when you start volunteering. Volunteering with Carers Matter Norfolk will not affect jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) provided you:
- remain available for and are actively seeking a full time paid job
- take reasonable steps to find a job (e.g. answering adverts, signing up with an agency and taking other steps required by the Jobcentre Plus office)
- inform the Job Centre/ Jobcentre Plus office that you are volunteering
- can attend interview within 48 hours and take up work within one week.
There are some benefits that are not affected by volunteering and where the relevant agencies do not need to be informed that the person is volunteering. These include; state retirement pension, council tax benefit, housing benefit, statutory maternity pay, maternity allowance, war widow’s pension and widow’s pension.
Carers Matter Norfolk can help by providing you with a letter you can give to the Job Centre Plus which confirms the number of hours you volunteer for us, that these hours are unpaid, and that volunteering cannot be regarded as the same as paid work.
Will you provide me with a reference?
Yes, once you’ve been volunteering with us for three months, we will provide you with a character reference.
I am a disabled person. Can I volunteer with Carers Matter Norfolk?
We would like to hear from anyone interested in volunteering with Carers Matter Norfolk, including if you are living with an impairment or disabled person. We welcome applications from disabled people to all volunteer opportunities available at Carers Matter Norfolk. We work hard to ensure our volunteer opportunities are accessible and inclusive to disabled people.