What will I do as a volunteer for Mencap?

There are many different roles you can do as a volunteer with Mencap, such as:

  • 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 anything else!

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 or guardian.

There is no upper age limit for our volunteers.

Can I get support to volunteer if I have a disability?       


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 means you need 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.

Will volunteering affect my benefits?

Volunteering should not affect your benefits, but we suggest you ask for advice from the Job Centre or your employment advisor.

Will volunteering cost me anything?


Mencap will pay agreed out-of-pocket expenses that you may have whilst volunteering (e.g. for travel, meals or activity costs whilst volunteering). 

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 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?

Depending on your role, volunteers may be required to attend an online or in person induction . This would be delivered by your Volunteer Manager or Volunteer Services Coordinator.

Some roles will need extra training which will be discussed with you.

For one-off volunteering you will be briefed before your event.

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.

Search our volunteer vacancies

Visit our volunteering recruitment site to find out about the latest exciting opportunities in your area!

Search for vacancies now!
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Contact us

If you have any more questions or would like to discuss volunteering with us, please send an email to the volunteering team at Mencap.