The Volunteer Network Centre, Newham
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is the difference between voluntary work and unpaid work?
- Unpaid Work:
Forms of unpaid work include activities such as Community Service Orders and service placements required by schools. Although these often support the community, they have been ordered by an authority.
- Voluntary Work:
This work is often equated with unpaid work, but people contribute their time and energy freely to build a better community.
Volunteers come from all walks of life, representing all ages and demographics. They volunteer for many different reasons and offer vastly different types of skills and services.
- Accountants sitting on charity boards
- Grandmothers helping in childcare
- Ten year-olds taking pets to senior citizen homes for visits
- Visually impaired people working by phone
- Developmentally challenged people tending gardens
How can I benefit?
Volunteering is a two-way exchange of skills and experiences. By volunteering you are helping an organisation do something that they wouldn't have otherwise been able to do.
In return you can gain a whole host of things:
- Gain New Skills
- Builds Confidence And Self Esteem
- Put Time To Good Use
- Try Out New Areas Of Work
- Build Up Contacts To Help Find A Paid Job
- Get A Reference
- Meet New People
- Get Used To An Office Environment
- Help People
- Experience Different Cultures
- Have Fun!
How do I find the right voluntary opportunity for me?
- What you would like to do?
- What skills do you have?
- What additional skills or experience would you like to acquire?
- How many hours can you spare per week?
Will volunteering affect my Benefits?
- Job Seekers Allowance (JSA):
There is no limit to the maximum number of hours a person can volunteer but JSA claimants have to show that they are available for and actively seeking work and that they are available to attend an interview within 48 hours and start work within one week.
- Income Support:
Again there is no limit to the number of hours a person can volunteer.
- Incapacity Benefit, Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and Severe Disablement Allowance:
There is no limit to the number of hours a person can volunteer on these benefits. (There was a 16 hour rule, however, this was scrapped in 2000.) Volunteering should not call into question whether or not a person is fit for work but this is an area that can cause problems. Care should be taken when considering the type of volunteering they do, for example, a person who is unable to work due to back problems should avoid volunteering that involves heavy lifting, etc.
- Disability Living Allowance (DLA):
People on DLA should not be affected by volunteering.
Can I be paid for of out-of-pocket expenses?
VNC recommends all its host organisations to pay out of pocket expenses (against receipts).
Out of pocket expenses include:
- Travelling expenses (keep your tickets)
- Refreshments - Approx £3 for those who volunteer over four hour.
Unfortunately, not all organisations can afford to pay expenses. VNC staff will be able to check before you start whether the organisation will pay your expenses.
I have a criminal record - does that mean that I can't volunteer?
Even if you do have a criminal record, you can do voluntary work. It depends on the type of record you hold. Some types of criminal record will affect the types of work you can do or the people you can work with. This can be discussed when you register.
Areas we serve:
We serve the borough of Newham including:
- Canning Town
- East Ham
- Forest Gate
- Green Street
- Manor Park
- Upton Park