Who can volunteer?
Almost anyone! Dove House is committed to ensuring equality of opportunity for everyone who would like to volunteer with us. Our volunteers are students, job seekers, retired workers and full-time employees.
Do I need particular skills to volunteer?
Most volunteering roles do not require special skills or qualifications with enthusiasm, good communication and a smile are the most important traits required. We do try to match the volunteering role to the volunteer’s skills however all the relevant training is provided. Some roles which do require certain skills/qualifications, this will be clearly stated in the Volunteer Task Profile.
How old do I need to be?
In our Retail shops, the minimum age for volunteering is 16 years old. However, the minimum age to volunteer in any patient-facing roles is 18 years old. All Volunteer Task Profiles state the minimum age.
Can I get a qualification by volunteering?
We can support volunteers to gain qualifications relevant to the role, such as a Retail Level 2 NVQ and a Level 2 in Food Safety & Hygiene for Catering. We also offer short courses in Warehousing & Customer Service after a qualifying period of volunteering hours. Using your spare time to become a volunteer could make you more employable as you gain valuable experience, skills and a reference.
Can I volunteer as part of my Duke of Edinburgh Award?
We have many students who choose to volunteer in our Retail shops as part of their D. of E. As a volunteer we ask for a commitment of a 3.5 hour shift per week in order to get the benefit of the training provided by our team.
Will I need to attend an interview?
Yes, all of our volunteer roles require a face to face informal chat with the manager of the team that you wish to be a part of. This gives the opportunity for both parties to ask any questions, see the environment where you will be volunteering and, of course, meet the team.
Do I need to provide a Reference when I apply?
Yes please! For roles within our Retail team you will need to provide just one name, address and email. If the role is patient-facing then we will need two. References should ideally be from people who know you in a professional capacity e.g. from somewhere you have worked, volunteered or studied. Referees should have known you for at least two years, and must not be related to you. Please speak to your Referees and let them know that we will be contacting them – this can speed up the recruitment process.
When can I start?
It can take a few weeks for your application to go through as we have to contact your Referees and also some roles require a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check to be completed. Once these have been received your first shift will be arranged.
What about my expenses?
We value our volunteers and want to ensure that nothing constricts our volunteers’ involvement. Reasonable travel and ‘out of pocket’ expenses will be reimbursed, if agreed in advance by the relevant manager – subject to any rules and restrictions imposed by HMRC, the Charity Commission or the hospice. We cannot pay childcare expenses.
I am receiving benefits - can I still volunteer?
Yes you can, volunteering is recognised as giving you a better chance of finding paid work. It is a good idea to discuss your volunteering with your contact at the benefit agency so they are in the picture. Many people start volunteering when they are unemployed as a way to learn new skills and gain experience to help them find a job.
I have a disability; can I volunteer with Dove House?
We welcome applications from anyone interested in volunteering with Dove House, including if you are living with a disability. We will discuss with you extra support that you might need.
I have a criminal record – can I volunteer?
You can and many people with criminal convictions do. If you have a criminal record and would like to volunteer in a role where a criminal records check is required, we will need to speak with you about this and a decision will be made on a case-by-case basis.
Will I be able to find a paid job after I volunteer?
There is no guarantee that volunteering will lead to paid employment. It is likely that you will benefit from volunteering by learning new skills and gaining experience and confidence, all of which can help with job prospects.
I would like to support patients at Dove House, however I have recently been bereaved - can I still volunteer?
Everyone is different, but if you have been recently bereaved you may find it difficult to be in an environment supporting individuals living with a terminal or incurable illness. This is something to consider before you apply and you can discuss this with the Volunteering Team. There are a range of roles available at Dove House and you may want to think about volunteering in a different environment initially.