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Volunteering is both fun and rewarding

We get asked a lot of questions about how you can become a volunteer and what is involved, so we've tried to answer as many of these as we can in our frequently asked questions (FAQs) below.

general questions

We’ve got lots of volunteering opportunities for you to choose from. You can start searching online right now

Once you’ve found an opportunity you like, you can quickly and easily apply online by completing the application form linked to the opportunity you’re interested in.

Once you’ve applied, we’ll contact you with the next steps as quickly as we can and keep you updated throughout the process.   

If you’re selected, we'll want to get you started as quickly as possible but this will depend entirely on the role and what checks we need to do beforehand. If the role requires a criminal records check (we’ll highlight this in the details about the opportunity) the process can take significantly longer. 

We believe you should never be out of pocket if you volunteer with us, so we cover reasonable out-of-pocket expenses when you’re volunteering.

We reimburse travel expenses, although we ask you to always try to use the most cost-effective form of travel (usually public transport). Always check with your volunteer manager in advance so that you and they are clear on what expenses we can reimburse. 

We’ve got lots of flexible volunteering opportunities to fit around people’s different situations, so the suggested time commitment depends on the role. 

When you apply, please let us know how much time you have available, so we can discuss what might be the best option with you.  

No. Like a lot of other major international charities, we don’t send volunteers from the UK to any of our programmes in other countries. We work with local partners and staff who have the relevant skills, knowledge, and experience. 

If you are interested in volunteering overseas, try to find out about how you can support community initiatives that strengthen families. Have a look at the ReThinkOrphanges checklist which talks through how you can make sure your time abroad is spent making the most positive difference.

We don’t offer unpaid internships at Save the Children. But if you’re interested in volunteering, you can search our current opportunities

We advertise paid opportunities on our jobs website. We recommend signing up for job alerts so that you are amongst the first to know when new jobs are advertised. 

All currently available opportunities are advertised  here. If there’s something you think is missing or would like more information on possible future roles, email us at volunteersupport@savethechildren.org.uk  



Currently, all our volunteering roles - apart from our Youth Advisory Board - are for over 18s only.

We’re working on reintroducing other volunteering opportunities for those aged under 18.

Yes, you are very welcome to volunteer with us and it won’t affect your benefits. We reimburse volunteers for out-of-pocket expenses, but this doesn’t count as payment.

Depending on the type of benefits you receive, you might need to let your work coach, Jobcentre Plus or local council know about your volunteering. The Citizens Advice Bureau provides helpful guidance on making sure volunteering doesn’t affect your benefits.

No, unfortunately we’re not able to support individuals with visa applications as we do not have the relevant licenses. 

It depends, it’s your responsibility to make sure that the terms of your visa allow you to volunteer in the UK. In general, if you are an Irish citizen or an EU / EEA citizen with settled status, you can volunteer. In all cases though you should always check the conditions of your visa.  

For full guidance, visit the UK Visa and Immigration website.  

Yes, you are very welcome to volunteer with us!

Yes, you are very welcome to volunteer with us! However, if your final appeal is refused and you are denied leave to remain then you will have to stop.

Everyone applying to volunteer with us completes an online application.

There are two questions on there where you’ll need to answer with a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. They are:

  • Do you have any unspent criminal convictions or have any pending court cases? Please select ‘yes’ if you have any criminal convictions which are not yet spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. If you are not sure whether your convictions are spent, guidance can be found here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/rehabilitation-periods.  If you have an unspent conviction, it doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t volunteer with Save the Children UK but we’ll need to complete a risk assessment to see if we can progress your application. If you fail to disclose an unspent conviction, or provide false or misleading information, we will withdraw your volunteering opportunity.
  • Have you ever been in trouble with your workplace, or somewhere you have volunteered, for any views you have expressed about children, or for causing some form of physical or emotional harm to a child or adult?  

If you’ve answered yes to either or both of these questions, we’ll be in touch to find out a bit more through a confidential form. This will allow us to complete a risk assessment, which will take into account the role applied for and the circumstances and background of the offence(s). 

It's very important that you are aware and confident that making a disclosure will not mean automatically that you will be stopped from volunteering with us. We are committed to reviewing every disclosure on a case-by-case basis using our risk assessment process. Further advice and guidance on disclosing a criminal record can be obtained from Nacro’s website: nacro.org.uk.

If you’re an existing volunteer and something happens that means you have to answer ‘yes’ to either or both of these questions, then please contact the Volunteering Team (volunteersupport@savethechildren.org.uk) within five working days and we’ll send you a confidential form to complete. This will help us complete a risk assessment. 

If you’re unsure if you need to disclose something you can give us a call on 020 3763 0260.

It depends on which role you apply for. If references are needed, they’ll be asked for on your application form. Referees will be contacted once you’ve had a selection meeting – this might be a trial shift for a shop role or an in-person or phone meeting.

They need to be:

  • Over the age of 18
  • Not your relative or partner
  • Someone you have known for more than 6 months 

It makes gathering references much quicker if you can provide an email address for your referee if they have one.

If you don’t think you know enough people (e.g. two if the role requires two referees) who meet those criteria, then get in touch with us as in some cases we can make alternative arrangements. Email volunteersupport@savethechildren.org.uk or call us on 020 3763 0260.

If you are under 18, you’ll need to provide details of a parent/guardian/carer when you apply. We’ll collect consent if you are selected for the role. If you’re unsure who to put down do get in touch with us. Email volunteersupport@savethechildren.org.uk or call us on 020 3763 0260.

Got another question about Save the Children on a different topic? Visit our FAQs hub to see our most commonly asked questions across a range of topics.

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