Volunteering FAQs

Got any questions about Volunteering? You might find the answer here! If you can't find the answer to your question here please get in touch with us at volunteering@leedsbeckettsu.co.uk!


Why should I volunteer?

We encourage students to get involved in volunteering to experience the numerous benefits and to enhance the student journey. Volunteering will allow you to feel part of Leeds and allow you to give back, embrace new challenges and develop skills that will play a key role in your future career. It is hoped by engaging in volunteering, you will be inspired and take your experiences into your graduate journey.

Leeds Beckett Students’ Union is committed to local communities within Leeds, particularly those in which students reside, and through our community engagement aim to support local aspirations through the power of volunteering.


I am looking for international volunteering. How can I find out more?

Information about international volunteering can be found with our partners in the International Volunteering Department here.


Do I need any previous experience or skills?

Volunteering is accessible to everyone, most charities simply ask for enthusiasm and commitment. Some organisations, however, may ask for specific skills or previous experience. This should be stated in the role description.


I have to volunteer as part of my course. What can I do?

If you have to volunteer as part of your course we can help you to find a suitable opportunity. We advise you to get in touch with us as soon as possible to ensure we can offer you a volunteering opportunity.


How do I get started?

You can make a start by checking out the latest opportunities on the Students’ Union website here, Find out how we can support you into volunteering and search for volunteer opportunities via the “search opportunities” section. You can then apply via the website or email us at volunteering@leedsbeckettsu.co.uk.   


How do I search for volunteer opportunities?

You can search through all of our volunteering opportunities via the Students’ Union website here. On the right-hand side of the webpage, there is a box in which you can select different interests and options, narrowing down your selection. Click on an opportunity and you will be able to view a full role description and you can click the button at the bottom of the page to apply.

You can also view current opportunities through our Facebook and Twitter. If you would like to chat in person about volunteer opportunities you can email us at volunteering@leedsbeckettsu.co.uk to request a meeting or pop by during our drop-in sessions.


Do I have to be a university student to get involved?

For most of our volunteer opportunities, you do have to be a student or graduate at Leeds Beckett University to get involved. However, a large number of the opportunities on our website are available through the Doing Good Leeds website which is open to members of the public. It is worth checking with us before signing up if you are unsure.

You can also volunteer through us after you have graduated. You are still able to access the services and opportunities offered by the Students’ Union through signing up with the Graduate Network. Many students continue their volunteering long after graduation. Sign up with the Graduate Network here.


Do I have to fill in an application form?

All students who want to volunteer are required to sign up with the Volunteering Team. This can be done via the website or a paper-based application form, depending on how you initially get in touch with us. Your chosen charity may also ask you to complete a form as part of their application process.


Will I need to do any training?

This will vary from role to role. If training is required for your volunteering role the associated charity will often provide this. The Volunteering Team may also offer internal training depending on the role undertaken. Any training you will have to do will be made clear as you go through the application process.


How long will it take until I can start volunteering?

This can vary depending on the role applied for. If you apply for Event and One-Off Volunteering or Micro-Volunteering, you may be able to get involved very quickly. Other opportunities or projects may require a DBS check and/or training, which can take some time. Each one is different so it is worth asking in advance before signing up for an opportunity.


When does the volunteering take place?

This depends on the role you want to do. Volunteering opportunities with local charities often run all year round. Campus-based volunteering, such as Micro-Volunteering events and Student Led Projects, generally run throughout the academic year with breaks for university holidays.


Where will the volunteering be?

Our volunteer opportunities largely take place in Leeds or surrounding areas. Volunteering can take place in many different locations, from on campus to out in community spaces.


How will I get to my volunteering?

We aim to ensure our volunteer opportunities are accessible via public transport and we can help you to work out a route to and from your volunteering. For some projects we will organise transport and if this is the case we will let you know.

Some charities may offer to reimburse your travel costs so check with them before you start volunteering. In some cases we can also provide expenses if agreed in advance.


Will it cost anything?

Volunteering is free. You may incur some costs, such as paying for transport to get to your volunteering. If you keep your receipts the Volunteering Team may be able to reimburse these travel costs if this is agreed before you start volunteering.

Some charities may also offer to cover expenses for any volunteering you do with them so it’s worth asking them.


What can I do if I do not receive a response from my chosen charity?

If you experience a delay in communication from your chosen charity after you have applied, then please do let us know as we can check on the status of your application. It’s important to keep us in the loop as we can support communication with the charity.

Please be aware that charities can have very busy periods and may not be able to respond to you immediately, so don’t worry - they do appreciate your interest.


Can I take a break from volunteering during university holidays?

Yes. Many organisations are used to working with students and often understand that you may want to stop volunteering during university holidays. If you are going to be unable to volunteer for a period of time, let the charity know in advance so that they can plan around you.


Can I achieve an award for my volunteering?

Your commitment to volunteering should be recognised and celebrated. As volunteers, you will be encouraged to keep a log of your volunteering hours so you may benefit from the Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond Recognition Scheme. This scheme will award you with formal recognition of your commitment to volunteering.

Your achievements are also recognised through several organised events throughout the year, such as at our Volunteer Celebration and the annual SU Awards.

You can also get involved in the Beckett Award, an employability award that gives you recognition for your engagement in various extracurricular activities. This involves building a portfolio, including an activity log to track your hours and reflection on how your activities have developed key employability competencies. This will help you stand out to employers and will give you the skills to sell yourself in recruitment processes. Contact beckettaward@leedsbeckettsu.co.uk for more info.


What if I don’t like my volunteering?

If you find you are unhappy with your volunteering please do let us know. We will do what we can to address any issues and support you in finding a more suitable opportunity if needed.

Many charities have their own support systems in place, so you may have been assigned a supervisor or point of contact who you can chat with about any concerns regarding your volunteering.


What if I can no longer attend my volunteer opportunity?

If you find you cannot attend your volunteer opportunity for any reason, please contact your supervisor or point of contact at your chosen charity. This will ensure that they can plan accordingly. If you cannot get in touch with your charity contact the Volunteering Team.


Will I need a DBS for my volunteering?

For some volunteering roles you will be required to have a standard or enhanced DBS check and this will be made clear before you volunteer. A DBS check (previously called CRB check) involves doing a criminal record check on any prospective volunteer before starting their volunteering. This is typically needed for roles in which you will be working with children, young people, or vulnerable adults.


How do I get a DBS?

If you need a DBS for your volunteering your chosen charity may support you with applying for one. In some instances, the Volunteering Team may help you with applying for a DBS and this is assessed on a case by case basis. Applying for a DBS is free for volunteers.

If you need a DBS you will need to show three separate forms of evidence before you can apply. To see what evidence is accepted please read the guidance found on the Gov.UK website.

Also, remember that this evidence is a legal requirement, you will not be able to start your application without it. If you are unsure or need help with DBS evidence, please contact us.


What if I have a criminal record?

The organisation's application process may involve them asking you to disclose any criminal convictions. It is worth checking with the organsation around their policy on recruiting volunteers with convictions. Not all organisations automatically disregard a volunteer with a conviction and will often look at it on a case by case basis to determine whether they can offer you a voluntary position. It's worth having a quick chat with the volunteering team ahead of applying for a role.

Nacro provide some guidance on this issue here.

Can I chat to someone from the Volunteering Team?

Yes we run daily drop-in sessions during term time in which you can chat to a member of the Volunteering Team. The drop-ins are as follows:

Mondays & Fridays, 11:00 - 13:00, Volunteering Office (above the SU Bar), Campus Central Building, Headingley Campus

Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, 11:00 - 13:00, SU Offices, Portland Building Level 1, City Campus

If you cannot make these times you can also request an individual appointment by emailing volunteering@leedsbeckettsu.co.uk or message us on Facebook.


Where is the volunteering office?

Our office is at Headingley Campus above the The Hive at Headingley, Campus Central Building.

If you want to visit us at City you can find us at the SU Offices, Portland Building Level 1. Please note that City Campus isn’t our permanent home so it is advised to visit during our drop-in sessions or get in touch to let us know you are coming.


What do I do if I need help with the process or anything related to volunteering?

We are here to help you every step of the way. If you ever have any questions or concerns regarding volunteering you can get in touch with us at any time. You can contact us via email at volunteering@leedsbeckettsu.co.uk, or via social media on Facebook and Twitter. You can also chat to us in person by coming along during our drop-in sessions.


Can I volunteer with my friends, society or sports team?

Our Event and One-Off volunteering service is ideal for group volunteering. If you have signed up for an opportunity and you would like a friend or friends to get involved please let the Volunteering Team know. If you are a society or sports team interested in volunteering, get in touch and we can look into organising a volunteering experience for you.


I have an idea for a volunteer project. What can I do?

If you have your own idea for a volunteer project speak to us! A similar project may already exist that you could get involved in but, if not, we can help you to set up your own project as we have a dedicated Volunteer Coordinator who will support and mentor you. We can offer training, one to one support, and help with all aspects of getting your project off the ground. Email Ryan Frankland for help with this - r.frankland@leedsbeckett.ac.uk.


I am an international student. Can I volunteer?

There are no restrictions on volunteering for students from the European Union. If you are from outside the EU and have been granted a Tier 4 student visa the number of hours you can volunteer may be restricted. This will depend on the conditions of your Visa.

Have a read through this helpful guide produced by the National Union of Students for further information. You can find the guide here.


I’ve looked on the website and the opportunity for me doesn’t seem to exist.

Never fear! Get in touch - chances are we will have a contact for finding a tailored volunteering opportunity for you. Or alternatively, you could set up your own project through our Student Volunteering Led Projects.