We answer some of the common questions that you may have about volunteering for FoWSART

If you can't find the answer you are looking for then please contact the Volunteering team via email friends@fowsart.org.uk. Our team is always on hand to answer questions you may have.

Q) What skills and experience do I need 

A) For most of our volunteer roles you don’t need any specific skills or experience, just enthusiasm to get involved and a willingness to support people living with a terminal illness. If specific skills, experience or qualifications are needed (e.g. volunteer Complementary Therapy or Driver roles) we will provide details on the role description. 

Q) How old do you need to be?

A) Generally, the minimum age for volunteering at FoWSART is 14 but that does vary from role to role. Other roles may not be suitable for people under 16 or 18 depending on the activities involved. All our role descriptions will say what the minimum age is, so you’ll know before applying. There’s no maximum age limit for volunteering at FoWSART

 Q) How time do I have to give?

A) Whether you can donate two hours a week or two hours a year there is a role for you! Some roles include regular volunteering, while others can be one-off for a specific period of time. We have a range of opportunities across the country during daytimes, evenings and weekends – there’s something for everyone!

Q) Will I need references?

A) Yes, we will ask you to provide details of two referees. Referees can be friends, colleagues or neighbours but not a family member, FoWSART staff or another FoWSART volunteers. They must be at least 18 years old and should have known you for at least six months. Each referee should be willing to provide us with a reference and know that we will be contacting them.

Q) Will I get training?

A) Yes! All roles require an element of training, including an induction to get you settled into your role. The amount of training you’ll need depends on the role, for example if you’ll be volunteering directly with individuals and families living with a terminal illness in one of our hospices or in the community, the training can take a bit longer to complete.

Q) Will I get expenses reimbursed?

A) We believe you should never be out of pocket if you volunteer with us, so we'll pay for all of your reasonable out-of-pocket expenses, including travel. If you volunteer for four hours or more, there’s a small lunch allowance. However, we cannot pay childcare expenses.

Q) Will you do a criminal records check?

A) It depends on the role. We are required to carry out criminal records checks for some roles where you’ll be volunteering with patients. In Scotland this is done through the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme. In Northern Ireland it’s done through Access NI. England and Wales use the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). If we need to carry out a criminal records check, we'll provide you with full information and guidance.

Q) I have a criminal record - can I volunteer?

 A) A criminal conviction doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t volunteer with us. We do not ask about any spent or unspent convictions for most of our volunteer roles - only those where a criminal records check is required. If you have a criminal record and would like to volunteer in a role where a criminal records check is required, we will need to speak to you about this and a decision will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Q) Will you provide me with a reference?

A) Once you’ve been volunteering with us for three months, we’d be happy to provide you with a character reference. And we’ll even provide you with a reference for up to three years after you leave.