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Volunteering - your FAQs

Are you interested in volunteering with Mencap?

We have captured the most frequently asked questions and the answers about volunteering at Mencap below.

Don't worry if your question isn't answered below, just get in touch with the Volunteering team, and we'll be happy to you through the options. 


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What will I do as a volunteer for Mencap?

There are many different roles you can do as a volunteer with Mencap. Some of our volunteers work directly with people with a learning disability or you can support Mencap to raise awareness of learning disability through events.

How old do I need to be to volunteer?

For some roles, you need to be over 16 years old and for others, you will need to be over 18 years old. Young 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.  For some roles Mencap will need a DBS check carried out but this will be discussed 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. If you are in England or Wales you will need to complete a DBS check, if you are in Northern Ireland you will need to take an Access NI check. We will make a case–by–case decision about whether or not you can volunteer in this role.

I don’t have much time – can I still volunteer?

Yes.  Some of our volunteering opportunities are for set amounts of time, but others are flexible. We look for at least 6 months commitment. Please contact your Regional Volunteer Coordinator for details.

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.

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?

  1. Online, using our online system – search our current opportunities
  2. Easy-read paper application – contact for an easy-read application form.

Will I have to do an interview?

Some roles will need an interview, and others may just need a chat about what you will be doing. 

Will I need to give references?

Some roles will need references and some won’t. 

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?

All volunteers will be able to attend a “Welcome to Mencap” day, and have an induction with the team they are volunteering with.  Some roles will need extra training and this will be discussed with you.

What support will I get?

In the team you are volunteering with, you will have a volunteer manager who you can go to for help, support and guidance. You will have regular contact with this manager.

Will you provide me with a reference when I have finished volunteering for you?

Yes. You may ask for a reference or certificate of achievement upon leaving, or sooner if you need one for a job or college application.

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