Information for Volunteers

Volunteering can be a great way to gain new skills and experience whilst on benefits. It can help you increase your employment prospects or explore a new career path.

What is volunteering

Volunteering is when you give your time to help an organisation, or an individual to whom you are not related. For example, if you have ever helped at a sports event, or a school fair, or taken part in a sponsored walk, you have been a volunteer.

Volunteering should never be something you are made to do and is not done for financial gain.  The rewards are about the satisfaction of putting something back into society, about gaining useful experience and skills, meeting new people, and hopefully having fun!

What should I expect as a volunteer?

  • A clear outline of what is expected of you. This is usually in the form of a written role description.
  • Training and guidance on your role.
  • Support or supervision from a paid member of staff, or in smaller organisations and groups from an experienced volunteer.
  • To be safe and covered by insurance to carry out the tasks you have been given.
  • To be made aware of the organisation’s policies and procedures, including who you should talk to if you are unhappy.
  • To feel valued by the organisation and able to contribute to its development.
  • Your travel expenses may be paid, and this should be made clear before you start your volunteering.

Why Volunteer

There are so many reasons to volunteer!  You can:

  • make a real difference to people's lives
  • learn new skills that could lead to a new job
  • transform your CV - see Louise Martin's story and her before and after CVs
  • work for a cause you care about
  • meet new people
  • have fun!

Volunteering has benefits for everyone:

It benefits local communities and it also benefits you as the volunteer.  You will have the satisfaction of making a difference to people’s lives. And, we also know that volunteering can help you to gain:

  • a greater sense of well-being
  • new experiences and skills
  • more confidence
  • opportunity to have a wider circle of friends

Can volunteering help me get a job?

Volunteering does not guarantee you a job, but it can greatly improve your chances.

94% of employers believe that volunteering can add to skills

73% of employers would employ a candidate with volunteering experience over one without

58% believe voluntary work experience can be more valuable than experience gained in paid employment

Through volunteering you can try out different kinds of work.  If you are already working, volunteering can help you change direction.


How long does it take to get started? 

Once you have registered and applied for roles through  County Durham Volunteering, the organisation you have appleid for should contact you within 10 working days. 

After the initial contact with the organisation, they will explain their recruitment process which may take a few weeks before you can get started.


Where can I go for extra support

At Durham Community Action we can offer support to access volunteering.       

Our friendly staff at the County Durham Volunteering Centre will be happy to offer you some practical help, including:

  • Arranging a confidential one to one interview with a trained volunteer adviser to find out what opportunities may be available
  • Providing you with information about volunteering and current opportunities
  • Helping you to fill out any paperwork that may be required

Find out more


Tel: 01388 742040


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