Students painting a mural on a street corner

Volunteering: Frequently asked questions

What is volunteering?

Volunteering is about giving your time to a good cause. You get the chance to use your talents, develop new skills, build your confidence and start building networks. You can also experience the pleasure that comes from making a real difference to other people's lives, which can help improve your own mental health.

Who can do it?

Anyone. Whatever your age, background or work experience, you will have a skill that someone needs. No matter how busy you are, there will be something that you can do.

What can I do?

A whole variety of activities, as there are a huge amount of different volunteer roles available for you to get involved in via UWE Volunteering, The Students’ Union at UWE, or in the local community. You might be interested in working with people, animals, the environment, or 'behind the scenes' in an office role; either way, there’s something for everyone.

Do I need previous experience or skills?

Most projects simply ask for enthusiasm and commitment. However some organisations might ask for previous skills or experience. For example some require fluency in English due to the role.

What do I get out of it?

Whilst you’ll want to make a real difference when you volunteer, it’s not just about what you can do for others. Volunteers get a lot out of the experience too. At UWE Volunteering we believe that good volunteering is rewarding for everyone involved.

Have a look at our 'Why Volunteer?' page to find out what volunteering can do for you.

Find out what it’s like from students who’ve already done it by reading our volunteer case studies.

When can I do it?

All year round! Volunteering is really flexible. You can volunteer on a one-off occasion for just a few hours, once a week for an afternoon, or for a week on a summer camp. Whatever your availability there will be something you can get involved in.

How do I get involved?

You can view a summary of the various volunteering opportunities available to see how you can get involved.

Details of all of the available opportunities are advertised on InfoHub. Go to ‘Search Vacancies’ at the top of the page and under ‘Type of Work’ select ‘Volunteering – International’ or ‘Volunteering – UK’. You can refine your search by adding specific search words relating to the type of role you are looking for, and the location.

If you would like advice or support on getting involved please contact UWE Bristol Volunteering.

Does volunteering to count towards a UWE Bristol module?

There are ways that volunteering can support your module. Please read our information on confirming your placement to get it approved for your course.

I’m an international student on a visa with restricted work allowance. Can I still volunteer?

As an international student on a visa you can undertake volunteering whilst you are studying, but it may count towards your work allowance. See our guidance for international students for more details.

How long will it take until I can start volunteering?

This depends on the role. For some volunteering opportunities you can get started straight away. For others you may need to complete training and a DBS (Criminal Record) check. Each one is different so you should ask the organisation when you get in touch.

I didn't sign up in Term One. Can I still volunteer?

Yes. We have volunteering opportunities available all year round. Search on InfoHub or contact UWE Bristol Volunteering for advice and support.

Will it cost anything?

No. All of your out-of-pocket expenses, including travel, should be refunded by the organisation that you volunteer with, so make sure you ask them how to reclaim your expenses. If an organisation is unable to meet your expenses, then we can help. Contact the volunteering team to find out more.

What if I don't like my volunteering role?

Volunteering is a two-way process. If you are not happy in your role, it is important to talk to the organisation you are volunteering at, or contact us. It might be that they can help to make it a better experience for you. Although you are expected to show commitment, you do not have to keep doing something that you don't enjoy.

Can I take a break from volunteering during university vacations?

The organisations understand that students need to take breaks for holidays and during exam periods. The most important thing is to tell them in advance so that organisations can plan around you. Our UWE Volunteering Projects and Schools Programme stop over the vacations.

I'm looking for part time paid work, can you help?

Volunteering can help you develop skills for your future career and looks great on your CV but you will not be paid.

How do I contact UWE Bristol Volunteering?

There are a number of different ways that you can get in touch.

You can visit the Vacancy Plus desk in E-Zone on Frenchay Campus for more information about volunteering. We are open:

  • Term time: Monday to Friday 09:00–13:00 and 14:00–17:00 (16:30 on Friday)
  • Vacation: Monday to Friday 09:00–13:00 and 14:00–16:30 (16:00 on Friday).

Alternatively, you can ask a question through 'My Questions' on InfoHub or call us on +44 (0)117 32 85353.

View further information about our contact details, including office hours.

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Visit our Facebook and Twitter profiles to view the latest photos and updates from voluntary projects.

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