Here you'll find the most frequently asked questions and the answers about volunteering at Mencap.
Don't worry if your question isn't answered below, just get in touch with the Volunteering team, and we'll be happy to talk you through the options.
Visit our volunteering recruitment site to find out about the latest exciting opportunities in your area!
What will I do as a volunteer for Mencap?
There are many different roles you can do as a volunteer with Mencap:
- Volunteer directly with people with a learning disability one-to-one or in a group
- Support Mencap to raise awareness of learning disability through events or campaigning
- Volunteering in a Mencap charity shop
- Offer your skills - these could be admin, gardening or any other skills
How old do I need to be to volunteer?
To volunteer in a one-to-one role supporting someone with a learning disability you will need to be 18 or over.
For other roles you will need to be 16 or over. People under 18 will need consent from their parent / guardian.
There is no upper age limit for our volunteers.
Can I get support to volunteer if I have a disability?
Yes. Please get in touch so we can talk about what roles might suit your skills and any additional support or adjustments you may need.
Will I need a DBS check?
A DBS check is a Disclosure and Barring Service check and looks at whether you have a criminal record. DBS checks are free for volunteers.
Not all volunteer roles need a DBS check. If your role requires one, we will discuss it with you.
I have a criminal record – can I still volunteer?
Yes, but you need to tell us when you apply for a volunteer role. You may be asked to complete a DBS check if your role requires it.
If you have a criminal record we will make a case–by–case decision about whether or not you can volunteer in the role.
I don’t have much time – can I still volunteer?
Yes. Some of our volunteering opportunities are for one off events, some are for set amounts of time, but others are flexible.
For regular volunteering we ask for at least 6 months’ commitment so that you and the person you are supporting can get the most out of the experience.
Can I volunteer for more than one service / project with Mencap?
Yes. However, we recommend that volunteers do not volunteer in more than three roles at a time.
I’m a student. How can my university help Mencap?
Are you a member of your university’s RAG society? If so, we’d love you to choose us to be your university’s charity of the year. You can either nominate us to your RAG society or get in touch to let us know how we can apply.
Will volunteering affect my benefits?
Volunteering shouldn’t affect your benefits but we suggest you ask for advice from the Job Centre or your employment advisor.
Will volunteering cost me anything?
No. Mencap will pay agreed out-of-pocket expenses that you may have whilst volunteering (e.g. travel / meals / activity costs whilst volunteering).
How do I apply to be a volunteer?
- Please look online to search our current opportunities
(Please note you have the option to upload your CV but it’s not essential)
Will I have to do an interview?
If you’ll be volunteering directly with someone with a learning disability you will need an informal interview. For other roles, e.g. in an office or at an event, we may just need a chat about what you will be doing.
Will I need to give references?
If your volunteer role involves supporting people with a learning disability, we will ask you for references.
References are not needed if you are volunteering at a one-off event.
Will you provide me with a reference when I have finished volunteering for you?
Yes. You can ask for a reference or certificate of achievement upon leaving, or sooner if you need one for a job or college application.
How long will it be from when I apply to when I start volunteering?
We hope to have volunteers starting within 4 weeks of application, but sometimes DBS checks and references mean it can take longer.
What training will I get as a volunteer?
Volunteers will have an induction with the team they are volunteering with, and can attend a “Welcome to Mencap” day. Some roles will need extra training and this will be discussed with you.
What support will I get?
You will have a volunteer manager who you can go to for help, support and guidance. You will have regular contact with your volunteer manager.