Some people who wish to volunteer may already know exactly what they want to do. For many, however, beginning to think about volunteering often involves asking, ‘What can I do?’ This guide has been created to help people in this situation understand some of the key types of volunteering roles out there; these are:
- Gardening and Grounds Maintenance
- Advice and Support
Many charitable organisations use volunteers to help with administrative work, enabling them to focus often limited resources on front line work. As well as being a rewarding way to help these organisations, administrative volunteering is also a great way to gain work experience in an office environment.
- Team and independent working • ICT e.g – MS Office and email
- Taking/making calls and messages •Organisation and time management
The Carers Support Centre is looking for volunteers to help with admin/mailing/telephone to support the valuable work they do for carers in Bristol and South Gloucestershire. The roles we can offer are varied depending on your skills or area of interest.
West of England MS Therapy Centre is looking for an Admin Assistant within the physiotherapy department: duties will include answering the phone, making calls, arranging appointments, inputting data, filing and assisting with weekly checking and cleaning of equipment.
The Bristol & Bath Group of the Motor Neurone Disease Association are looking for someone to help them with all things related to publicity. You will be responsible for publicising group events, keeping a list of and co-ordinating events organised by others, developing relationships with local media contacts and ensuring all publicity reflects the Association’s corporate identity.
Gardening and Grounds Maintenance
Volunteering outdoors can be a really fun, rewarding and sociable activity. As with all volunteering activities volunteering can help to improve mental health and wellbeing. This is doubly true for gardening activities which research also links to positive mental health.
Team and independent working • Following instructions
Horticulture related knowledge • Organisation and time management
The Tree Life Centre is a community tree nursery based at Grimsbury Farm in Kingswood. Volunteers are involved in propagating native British trees, shrubs and wildflowers. Jobs vary according to the season and can involve seed collecting and processing, mulching, formative pruning, planting, watering and other associated nursery tasks.
Leonard Cheshire Disability - Cossham Gardens is seeking Gardeners. We are looking for individuals who would be willing to regularly weed and prune the plants and keep the gardens looking neat and tidy.
Growing Support is looking for Social and Therapeutic Gardening Volunteers with an interest in gardening or nature to support their gardening sessions for older people and people with dementia.
Many people offer to volunteer their time to reach out to individuals through ‘befriending’ roles. ‘Befriending’ usually involves visiting a person in their home or hospital, or calling them on the phone. This will usually be done once or twice a week over a sustained period of time, building a relationship during this time. It is important to note that you are not expected to provide any medical care within these roles, simply to be a friend to sit and talk to, complete an activity with such as crochet or offer advice and support.
- Listening • Organisation and time management
Womankind is looking for Befrienders to support women with mental health needs, including depression and anxiety. We are looking for volunteers who are able to spend up to 3 hours each week supporting a woman.
The Royal Voluntary Service is looking for On-ward Befriending volunteers to give practical support for older people at a critical time when they need it in hospital.
Milestones Trust is seeking Befrienders and Activity Supporters to help support residents with activities within the home setting; such as cooking, arts and crafts, pampering sessions, and gardening.
Silver Line are in need of befrienders for their telephone service. By volunteering as a Telephone Friend for The Silver Line, we match you to a Silver Liner that you call once a week. This is a volunteer role that you can do from home or from work.
Advice and Support
Volunteers often help organisations to provide advice to people on a range of issues. This may be advice on how to eat healthily, use the internet, manage finances or find services in the local area. Advice and support volunteers will always be provided with appropriate training in order to deliver correct advice and support. This can be a great opportunity to increase your knowledge base and add to the skills and training section of your CV.
- Taking in and reiterating information • Team and independent working
- Organisation and time management
Age UK are seeking Information and Advice Service volunteers to visit older people in their homes to offer free confidential advice and information on welfare benefits and services for the over 50s.
The North Bristol Advice Centre and Kingsmeadow Community Flat are looking for volunteer Community Advice Champions. As a Community Advice Champion you will be offering a service on behalf of North Bristol Advice Centre to support people to complete welfare benefit forms and charity applications and refer or signpost them to other services they may need.
Volunteer fundraisers are a vital asset for many charitable organisations, helping them to raise funds to contribute to their work. As a fundraiser you may be responsible for organising events, distributing and collecting donation boxes from local shops and speaking to members of the public about the charities cause to help to inspire donations. Some fundraising roles may involve writing applications for ‘grant’ funding, where applications for funds are made to organisations rather than to the public.
- Events management • Organisation and time management
- Team and independent working • Written and verbal communication
Supporting Guide Dogs is looking for enthusiastic Fundraisers to join their local fundraising team in promoting and taking part in a variety of activities to raise money for Guide Dogs. You’ll have the chance to take part in various fundraising activities from street collections to taking part in local events.
Mavis Friendship Club is seeking Fundraising Assistance for maintaining the transport project. This is a door-to-door pick up service which is funded through grants. The role would suit a retired person with sales, marketing and fund-raising experience or students and job-seekers looking to move into this field as a career.
Southern Brooks Community Partnerships is seeking a Fundraising Events Leader. We are looking for a highly motivated and able Fundraising Volunteer who can help generate income as part of the Friends of Southern Brooks. The Friends Group give small amounts of money to community projects run through Southern Brooks.
Children and Young People
If you love being around kids then you may be interested in the range of different volunteering opportunities which involve working with children. Perhaps your own children are grown up now and you miss spending time with younger ones. Or perhaps you are looking to go into a children focused career, such as nursery nursing or teaching and want to gain experience before beginning training.
Organisation and time management • Team working Working with children
Kingsmeadow Flats is hoping to find a volunteer to help with the After School and Homework Club. Providing support to 8-11 year olds. Alongside helping the children with their homework the role involves helping to organise and run a range of activities including games and arts and craft.
1st Kingswood BP Scouts are looking for a Beaver Leader/ Instructor to work with other Leaders and Instructors to deliver an interesting and varied programme to Beavers aged 5 ½ to 8 yrs old (boys and girls) on a Monday evening plus occasional weekend outings.
South Gloucestershire Libraries is looking for friendly, enthusiastic and reliable Activities and Events Volunteers to work as part of the library team. Meet new people, learn new skills and inspire young people to read as part of Reading Hack, a new volunteer scheme for young people aged 13 to 24.
Cadbury Heath Nature Play is looking for a volunteer to Assist the Forest School Leader to deliver outdoor nature play activities to preschool aged children and their parents. Sessions take place on Tuesday mornings 9.30am – 11am during term time.
Some charitable organisations help to raise funds for their organisation through running a shop. Helping in these shops is another way to help a charity in their work. These roles are also ideal for anyone looking to get work experience to help with employment in the retail sector.
- Team and independent working • Organisation and time management • Customer Service • Merchandising and shop floor management
Life Charity Shop UK is seeking Volunteers for a new shop in Kingswood, to work on the shop floor selling items & helping customers, as well as help with logging new donated items and managing the storeroom. Boost your CV and improve your skills. We are also able to offer NVQ training.
Tenovus Cancer Care are seeking Retail Assistants at various shops across South West England. Tenovus Cancer Care works at the heart of the community to deliver a vision where fewer people get cancer and those that do will receive equal access to excellent treatment.
The Salvation Army Charity Shop has various roles in their busy Kingswood shop including: Customer Service, Craft and Jewellery, Ladies Fashion and Accessories Merchandiser, Recycling and Maintenance and Decorating.
The broad categories outlined above give a brief overview of some of the most common types of volunteering and are a useful way to gain an initial impression of what volunteering might involve and what opportunities are out there. Volunteering is however incredibly diverse. In order to demonstrate its breadth and depth a few of the less easily categorised roles are outlined below. See our website for the full range!
Alzheimer’s Society is looking for Singing for the Brain Volunteers throughout South Gloucestershire. Singing for the Brain is an innovative service for people affected by dementia and their carers to attend.
British Red Cross is seeking Fire & Emergency Support Volunteers. As a Fire and Emergency Support Service volunteer, you will be working as part of a team, providing much needed help to people who have suddenly found themselves homeless or in need of support, following fire or similar incident.
The Matthew Tree Project are looking for a Food Appeal Collection Volunteer to collect food from various supermarkets across the area.
National Trust Newark Park is seeking Volunteer Garden Guides. Would you like to research and share with visitors the stories, plants and people behind some of our historic landscapes? Then becoming a garden guide at Newark might just be for you.
Kingsmeadow Community Flat is looking for a Volunteer Treasurer to support the manager and board of trustees of this thriving community project.
Tools for Self-Reliance are looking for volunteers to refurbish hand tools and sewing machines before sending off to artisans in Africa. Volunteers will need to be able to operate basic machinery eg grinders and be technically literate! The group are based at Kingswood Heritage Museum in Warmley and meet on Tuesdays from 9.30 – 4.30pm