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Questions and answers about community volunteering

How do I become a volunteer?

Will I need references or to attend an interview?

None of our volunteering opportunities require references or for you to attend an interview at this time. On some occasions, we may meet you for an informal chat about the role/work you would like to support.

Is there much paperwork involved?

To start off volunteers are requested to fill in a volunteer registration form which can be completed online or via a downloadable hard copy (available on request). Before volunteers begin their projects they agree to a Volunteer agreement, to read relevant risk assessments and will be briefed on the activity to be undertaken by council staff or existing volunteers.

Support is available for anyone who would require assistance in completing the form.

How do I apply?

Fill in a volunteer registration form, ticking the volunteering areas you are interested in, and we will be in touch with further details (see Community Volunteering main page for the online registration form).

What do I do about training, equipment etc?

Will I get any training I need?

Training will be offered for any of those volunteer opportunities that require it. This could be a formal setting (for use of tools/machinery) or more casual in nature, led by the event leader at the start of an event/task.

What will be provided?

Any equipment and additional protective clothing will be provided by the event leaders. With some volunteering opportunities you will be able to access supplies of certain items and request additional items as and when you need them.

What will I get out of it?

Will I get paid?

All of our volunteering opportunities are unpaid. However we will provide necessary tools to aid the completion of volunteer tasks.

What are the benefits of volunteering?

As a volunteer, you are contributing to the community but you can also benefit personally. Some of the many benefits of volunteering can include:

  • Increased personal satisfaction
  • Meeting like minded people
  • Learning new skills or maintaining existing ones
  • Gaining work experience
  • Becoming more active in the community
  • Enjoying the great outdoors
  • Improved health and wellbeing

How much of my time do I need to give?

How many hours do I have to do?

With all volunteering opportunities you can give as little or as much time as you like. Some opportunities are event based but volunteers do not need to stay for a minimum amount of time.

Can I volunteer short term?

Yes, all of our volunteering opportunities are very flexible. So, if you are in between jobs, on a college break, or just have a bit of spare time at the weekend we will have something to suit you.

What if the task if not for me?

What happens if I don’t like the role?

That's fine. Please contact us to discuss, we can look at ways to adapt the roles to suit, or help volunteers to find alternative volunteering opportunities.

What happens if I can’t do the tasks?

If you have any issues or difficulties with the task, equipment, hours please get in touch or talk to the council's Events and Community Engagement Officer or event leader.

What if i have an accident whilst volunteering?

Please report any accidents or near misses to the event leader.

Am I insured whilst volunteering?

All Bedford Borough Council volunteering opportunities are covered by the Council's Public Liability Insurance. Volunteers will be required to sign in on arrival and this activates your insurance cover whilst in the process of volunteering at that event/session. When work is unsupervised, volunteers will be required to adhere to their Volunteer Agreement and risk assessments regarding use of equipment and behaviour, in accordance with our insurance requirements.

What if personal circumstances affect my volunteering?

Can I claim benefits if I’m volunteering?

If you are in receipt of benefits, you should check with the Department of Work and Pensions whether there are any restrictions on the type and quantity of voluntary work you can be involved in.

Do I get expenses?

Out of pocket expenses may be available and should be discussed with the event co-ordinator or session leader.

What happens if I’m sick?

If your volunteer contact is expecting your attendance, please let them know if you are unable to attend due to sickness. In the case of long-term sickness please advise the Event and Community Engagement Officer that you won't be able to continue for a prolonged period of time.

What do I need to be a volunteer?

Do I need a car to volunteer?

No. You may be sent information on volunteering opportunities out of your local area, but you don't have to take up any opportunities that are too far away.

Can I volunteer if I have a criminal conviction?

We do not ask our volunteers to declare any criminal convictions. If you want to discuss this further please email

I have disabilities, can I still volunteer?

Yes. Some of our volunteering opportunities may have restrictions due to the nature of the site or equipment required, but we aim to ensure there is an opportunity for everyone to volunteer. Please contact us to discuss any individual needs.

I am not a UK citizen, can I still volunteer?

Yes, you are welcome to volunteer at any of our events.

I’m looking for paid work, will volunteering help?

Volunteering is a great way of learning new skills, networking, gaining experience and confidence. All of which will be advantageous when applying for work.

Do I have to live in Bedford Borough?

No, but you must be willing to travel into the Borough to undertake volunteering. Most areas have Volunteer Centres that can direct you to local volunteering opportunities.

Do I need any special skills/experience?

No, we offer training or support to carry out all of our volunteering opportunities.

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