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Questions to ask

At any one time in Scotland there are around 10,000 formal volunteering opportunities available. These cover everything from puppy walking to Chairman/woman of the Board. To save a lot of time, it's worthwhile to ask a few questions before starting to look for a suitable volunteering opportunity to help a client back to work.

What does the client want from this volunteering opportunity?

Is it to get out of the house because they are feeling isolated /bored/lonely /frustrated?

The actual type of volunteering (what they do) is less important in this case. The importance is to be doing 'something' and building a work-like routine.

Is it to learn new skills?

The client has to be clear about what type of paid job they are looking for. They should be as precise as possible about the skills they are looking to develop to find an appropriate opportunity.

Is it to update existing skills?

The client must be clear about the type of skills they have and would like to update in order to find a relevant opportunity.

How far are they willing to travel?

Not all Volunteer-Involving Organisation's (VIO) can afford to pay travel expenses. Some volunteering opportunities may be in locations that are difficult to get to. Some may take place at times when there is little or no public transport.

How much time do they have to volunteer?

There are no restrictions on the number of hours that someone can volunteer even if they are on benefits. The only question is how much time is the client willing to volunteer? The average volunteering experience lasts about 3 hours a week. It is important to think about when they are free to volunteer, as volunteering opportunities don't just happen 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Who Else Needs to Know?

Volunteering may impact on others, particularly family so it is important that they are informed about what is going on. However, it is not a requirement to contact DWP/Jobcentre Plus as volunteering does not affect any benefits received however they must remain available to sign on and attend any job interviews..