How do I get started?

Frequently asked questions

I’m interested. How do I get started as a volunteer?
How much time do I need to commit?
How old do I need to be?
Can I volunteer if I’m deafblind or disabled?
What does it cost?
What training and support will I get?
Can my Sense volunteering count towards my Duke of Edinburgh Award?
You aren’t recruiting volunteers in my area at the moment. What can I do?
I’d like to offer a particular skill which I think would benefit Sense.
What happens when I want to stop volunteering?

I’m interested. How do I get started as a volunteer?

A female volunteer reads through a brochure with a deafblind girl in a wheelchair

If you are interested in joining us as a volunteer, please get in touch with us. We’ll get back to you to let you know the opportunities we currently have which match your interests in the area where you’re based.

Applying for a volunteer role at Sense will usually involve an application form and a meeting with Sense staff face-to-face – either for a one to one discussion about the role or as part of a training or information event.

For roles supporting deafblind children or vulnerable adults directly, our recruitment and safeguarding procedures include completing an Enhanced DBS Disclosure and two references for all potential volunteers.

Please ask if you require application information or forms in an alternative format or if there is any support we can offer during the application process.

How much time do I need to commit?

We offer a range of volunteering roles and the time commitment varies for each. Come and cheer on our London Marathon runners in April and we’ll ask for just a day of your time; take a full week out of your summer schedule to offer support to one of our Sense Holidays; or make a more regular weekly commitment in your local area. The role description for each opportunity will let you know more about what’s needed.

How old do I need to be?

Volunteers in Sense shops, offices and in community fundraising roles need to be sixteen to volunteer. For roles in Sense services and on Sense holidays, we are able to accept applications from people who are eighteen and older. We can occasionally accept applications for holidays roles from people who are aged seventeen and have relevant experience and skills. There is no upper age restriction on volunteering.

Can I volunteer if I’m deafblind or disabled?

We strongly welcome applications from deafblind and disabled volunteers and, as with all our volunteers, will work with you to identify a suitable role to match your interests, skills and experience. We are able to provide information in an alternative format where required, to arrange communication support, and to discuss adjustments to roles or additional support where these may be appropriate.

We are committed to developing new volunteering roles in collaboration with deafblind people and their families and would love to hear from individuals and families about how volunteers could contribute more to Sense and its work.

What does it cost?

Sense will reimburse agreed travel and subsistence costs for volunteers. You’ll find out more about how to do this during your induction. We want to ensure volunteering is inclusive and accessible and that potential volunteers are not prevented from getting involved for financial reasons.

What training and support will I get?

For all roles, we’ll make sure you receive the information and support you need to carry out your role effectively. This will include an induction to the role and written information to support the induction and any training you need to complete. You’ll be introduced to the staff, volunteers and deafblind people involved in the service or activity you’re volunteering with and will always have a named member of staff who is directly responsible for you and who will offer ongoing support.

We’ll also highlight opportunities to meet other volunteers, attend further training where appropriate, and keep you in touch with news and developments at Sense more widely.

Can my Sense volunteering count towards my Duke of Edinburgh Award?

Yes it can. We’re very happy to support volunteers working towards accredited awards and certificates. Let us know when you apply that this is part of your motivation for volunteering for Sense and once you’re underway in your role, we’ll make sure we identify the right person to sign off any required evidence or records for your particular scheme.

You aren’t recruiting volunteers in my area at the moment. What can I do?

We are very fortunate to receive a high level of interest from potential volunteers across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. However, where we don’t run Sense services in a local area or aren’t actively recruiting volunteers at the time you get in touch, we know it can be disappointing to find out that we aren’t able to include you in a volunteering role close to home.

Our community fundraising and e-campaigning activities welcome interest from volunteers and Sense supporters throughout the year and are not limited to a particular areas. Our residential holidays activities take place in locations across England and Wales during July and August.

We’d also encourage you to sign up for our twice yearly volunteer newsletter so that we can let you know directly when new roles and projects are available.

I’d like to offer a particular skill which I think would benefit Sense.

Use the volunteer enquiry form page to contact the Holidays and Volunteering team to let us know more - we’re always open to discussing new ideas for including volunteers in our work. If we are able to take up your offer, we’ll work with you to arrange this and to and prepare you appropriately. If we’re not able to take advantage of your offer at this time, we’ll give you clear feedback about this and help to identify how else you might be able to volunteer with Sense or what other organisations might benefit from your skills and time.

What happens when I want to stop volunteering?

We welcome the contribution volunteers make to Sense whether that contribution is over days, weeks, months or many years.

When it’s time for you to stop volunteering with Sense, we ask that you give us reasonable notice of this decision wherever possible to help us make alternative arrangements and to make sure we have opportunity to thank you properly for you time and contribution.

If your circumstances have changed or you are unhappy with an element of your volunteering and you would like to discuss this before making the decision to stop, we’d strongly encourage you to do this with the staff member who supports your volunteering, or directly with the Holidays and Volunteering team.

First published: Monday 3 February 2014
Updated: Tuesday 22 December 2015