Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
Have a read of some of the questions that we're frequently asked!
If you have any further queries, please don't hesitate to email: firstname.lastname@example.org
PLEASE NOTE: In-person volunteering may be restricted from time to time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can keep up-to-date here.
Did you know that you are a volunteer if you are any of the following within Queen’s?
- Club/Society Committee member
- Voluntary or Charitable Club/Society Member
- Peer Mentor
- International Buddy
- Student Rep
- Part-time Officer for the Students’ Union
- Homework Clubs volunteer
- Handy Helper
- Student Councillor
- Residential Assistant
- Green Impact Project Assistant / Auditor
- Helping out in a chaplaincy
- Active member of RAG
How do I get certificates to recognise my volunteering?
You can achieve 50, 100 and 200 hour awards through Millennium Volunteers (if aged 25 and under) or Prestige Volunteers (if aged 26+). To register and receive instructions, just email email@example.com telling us your name and whether you are 25 and under or 26+ and we’ll get back to with all the necessary information.
Your volunteering hours are the total of your time spent volunteering including, preparing for your voluntary role e.g. research from home, training to undertake your role and travelling to/from your role.
How do I find a volunteering opportunity?
You can tell us what you are looking for by completing this form. We will make some suitable suggestions and should you wish to proceed we will link you in with your chosen organisation. It’s ok if you’re not quite sure what you’d like to do, just tell us that and we will make a range of suggestions.
You can search for volunteering opportunities on MyFuture:
- Log in to MyFuture
- Select ‘Jobs’ from the top panel and click on 'Search Jobs' from the drop-down menu
- Refine your search by clicking ‘Advanced search’ and under the ‘Position type’ drop down box click ‘Voluntary’
- Select ‘Search’ and find your perfect volunteering role!
You can sign up to our newsletter so you can keep up to date on all the latest volunteering opportunities available.
I want to volunteer but I don’t have a lot of time.
Sounds like Handy Helpers could be right up your street. A variety of one-off volunteering initiatives to help the community and you just attend the sessions that suit you. Register and find out more here! Oh, and did we mention you can achieve Degree Plus / Graduate Plus / Researcher Plus by taking part?
Also, you may want to browse through our virtual volunteering opportunities, which also provide more flexibility than in-person volunteer roles.
How do I achieve Degree Plus/Graduate Plus/Researcher Plus through my volunteering?
Millennium/Prestige Volunteers: Provider Verified (Formerly Route A): Achieve 200 hours Millennium/Prestige Volunteers award during your studies and submit a 500 word essay on how volunteering has impacted your personal and professional development to firstname.lastname@example.org by 1 April or 1 November on your year of graduation.
Combined Experience (Formerly Route B): Participate in at least two extra-curricular activities (volunteering can be one of these) during your studies. Complete the Combined Experience application form, outlining your activities and the skills you have gained. Examples of eligible activities and the application form can be found here.
I sit on the committee of a club or society, is there any support available on managing volunteers?
Absolutely! We can give you lots of pointers and tips. Drop us an email on email@example.com to arrange a chat.
I want to set up a volunteering initiative, what do I need to do?
We are always happy to hear from students who have ideas for volunteering initiatives and can provide plenty of information to get you started! Drop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a chat.
What do you use my personal data for?
You can view our privacy statement here.
I signed up the Volunteer SU E-Newsletter but I haven’t received it.
This is a monthly newsletter, if you signed up more than a month ago please let us know on email@example.com and we will double check the sign-up was processed.
If you are using MS Outlook, please make sure you check your ‘Other’ inbox by clicking on the ‘Other’ tab at the top left corner of the main navigation menu. To add Volunteer SU newsletter to your ‘Focused’ inbox, right-click on any Volunteer SU newsletter in your inbox, then select ‘Move’ - ‘Focused inbox’. This way any future newsletters from Volunteer SU will automatically appear in your main inbox.
I no longer want to receive the Volunteer SU E-Newsletter.
Just drop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org and we will remove your email address from our mailing list.
I volunteer in a leadership role with significant responsibility. Is there any way I can further develop my skills?
You sure can! We offer training on Volunteer Governance, Fundraising, Communication, Team Collaboration, Innovation, Conflict Resolution and much more. Check out our upcoming sessions on Jump IN.
I am on a Tier 4 visa. Can I still volunteer?
Students who are a Non-EU/EEA/Swiss national must ensure that they are not working or completing voluntary work more than what their visa permits. For example, students who are studying at degree level or above on a Tier 4 Student visa cannot work more than 20 hours per week during term time (term time can vary depending on the level of study or research). Queen’s University applies this term time restriction throughout the academic year – any variation in policy will require the Tier 4 student to obtain written permission from International Student Support.
There is a difference between unpaid employment (voluntary work) and volunteering, and students should check with the organisation which offers them a volunteering opportunity, whether it can be regarded as unpaid employment. This is because time spent doing unpaid employment counts towards a students’ maximum number of hours of work a week. Students can volunteer only, providing it meets the definition outlined on pg.13 here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/810901/short-term-students-v10.0-ext.pdf
A breach of working conditions or work prohibition is treated very seriously by the Home Office and can result in a students’ visa being curtailed (cut short) and future applications being declined.
What should I expect from an organisation when I volunteer with them?
- Information about your role i.e. what tasks are you expected to undertake
- An induction to include a tour of the premises, Health and Safety information and essential/relevant policy/procedure information
- Specific training and regular support / supervision if you are undertaking a specialist role e.g. mentoring
- A named supervisor and their contact details who you can contact for support etc.
- Reimbursement of out of pocket expenses where the organisation has a budget to do so
- The necessary resources and materials to carry out your role
- Being kept up to date with changes which affect your role
- The organisation should have appropriate insurance in place to involve volunteers
- A reference if you are a regular volunteer
- Opportunities to input into the development of the volunteering or organisation
- Homework Clubs
How do I apply?
You can find out more information here. Please note applications are currently closed until Semester 1 (2021/22).
When do applications open/close?
Applications will re-open at the beginning of Semester 1 (2021/22).
I would like to become a volunteer with Homework Clubs, however can’t attend the online Induction Training, can I still apply?
If you cannot attend, unfortunately we would be unable to match you to a Homework Club. Don’t worry though as there will be another chance to apply and attend Induction Training at the beginning of each Semester.
What happens if I am late in joining the Homework Clubs online Induction Training?
We do understand that some students may have class/other commitments which may result in them being late to join the Induction Training. In such circumstances, we ask that students contact us to let us know on email@example.com. Students must attend Induction no later than 15 minutes after the start of training.
I volunteered with Homework Clubs last Semester and want to return to the same club, what do I need to do?
You are not required to reapply, however we do recommend that you join Induction Training, as sessions have been recently updated.
Please note, we are not allocating volunteers to in-person roles with clubs this academic year, due to safety concerns during the current Pandemic. Currently we are allocating volunteers only to clubs offering online support to children and young people. We would therefore ask you to contact us before you contact your club again on firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can discuss further.
We will also keep you up to date on recognition and training opportunities over the next academic year.
I volunteered with Homework Clubs last year, can I join a different club this semester?
You need to complete a new application so we can match you to a club which suits your availability and location. You may also be asked to undertake an Access NI (criminal record) Check by your newly allocated club.
We would also ask volunteers joining a new club to attend Induction Training again, as sessions have been recently updated.
I am currently volunteering with Homework Clubs but my club times no longer suit me, what can I do?
If your club holds sessions on other days during the week, you could ask your coordinator if it’s possible to switch. If this is not an option, please contact us on email@example.com to discuss other options.
How do I achieve Homework Clubs: Degree Plus/Graduate Plus/Researcher Plus?
To achieve Provider Verified (Formerly Route A) Degree/Graduate/Researcher Plus: Homework Clubs, volunteers must complete the following:
- Attend the Homework Clubs Induction Training organised by Volunteer SU
- Volunteer at a minimum of 5 sessions with your allocated Homework Club
- Participate in at least three specialised workshops
- Complete and submit a record book, which includes a 500-550 word reflective journal about your experience as a Homework Clubs volunteer, as well as a log of your hours spent on Homework Clubs volunteering.
The Homework Clubs team will contact you via your Queen’s email address to circulate the Degree/Graduate/Researcher Plus: Homework Clubs application, let you know when the specialised workshops are being held, and confirm the submission date for completed application.
I have a class on the day of a specialised workshop, can I come late?
If you wish to achieve Homework Clubs Degree Plus/Graduate Plus/Researcher Plus, we ask that you attend the whole session, so please register for 3 Workshops which you are available for. If you have class/other commitments which may result in late attendance, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org as we do allow a 15-minute (maximum) grace period at the start or end of the session.
I could only attend one workshop as I had class. I have had separate training in my own club, can I substitute this for attendance in the workshop?
Unfortunately not, in order to achieve Degree Plus/Graduate Plus/Researcher Plus, you must attend three workshops organized by Volunteer SU.
If my allocated club asks me to nominate two referees, who should I nominate?
The referees you nominate can be personal and/or professional and should know you well enough to be able to comment on your suitability to volunteer in this role e.g. past teacher, friend, employer, tutor, studies advisor, lecturer, colleague, housemate, neighbour, a peer from a club or society, a sports teammate or supervisor from a volunteering role. Remember to ask if they are happy to give you a reference before nominating them. Family members/relatives generally cannot be nominated as referees.
If my allocated club requires an Access NI check, what types of Identification will I need to produce?
As this role involves activity with children and young people, your allocated Homework Club may ask you to complete an Access NI (criminal record) check. As part of this process, you will be asked to show original identification (see page 2 to view acceptable ID) & copies.
Three documents must be provided in the name of the applicant; one from Group 1 and a further two from any Group. At least one document must show the applicant’s current address.
(If this is not possible, then four documents from Group 2a and 2b should be produced, one of which being a birth certificate issued after the time of birth. One document must show the applicant’s current address).
If you are having difficulty finding relevant identification, please show originals & copies of what you feel best meets the list and your allocated club co-ordinator will provide further guidance.
I have already completed an Access NI check with a different organisation, do I have to repeat the process?
Yes, if your allocated club requires an Access NI check, you must complete it again.
- Handy Helpers
I am interested in Handy Helpers, but I am unable to attend all activities. Can I still be part of the initiative?
Of course, that’s the beauty of Handy Helpers – you only attend the activities that suit your availability and interests.
I missed an activity. Am I allowed to come to the next one?
Absolutely! You can come to as many or as few activities you want to. Please note: If you are aiming to achieve Provider Verified (Formerly Route A) Degree Plus/Graduate Plus/Researcher Plus through Handy Helpers, you need to attend at least 7 Handy Helpers activities.
What does being a Handy Helper entail?
As a Handy Helper, you will have the opportunity to take part in a wide range of one-off volunteering activities, including anything from planting flowers in a community garden to making Valentine’s cards, to decorating a cats’ shelter. This will allow you to get a taste of different volunteering roles without making any long-term commitment. You will also have access to a number of relevant training sessions, which will help you further develop the skills you have gained through your volunteering as a Handy Helper.
How do I achieve Degree Plus/Graduate Plus/Researcher Plus through Handy Helpers?
Click here for full information on achieving Degree Plus/Graduate Plus/Researcher Plus through Handy Helpers.
How does the Loyalty card work and what rewards do I get?
At the first Handy Helpers event you attend, you will be given your very own loyalty card which will be stamped at every Handy Helpers activity in which you participate. At 3, 5 and 10 stamps you will be given a small reward for being an awesome volunteer. We don’t want to give away too much, but some of the rewards include vouchers, hoodies and travel mugs. But the best reward of all is that you will be making a positive, tangible difference in your local community
I have lost my loyalty card. Can I still get a reward?
No need to panic - we keep attendance records of all Handy Helpers activities. Please contact email@example.com as soon as you realise your card is missing. If you think you are due for reward, please bare with us as we check back through your records to verify the number of activities you have attended.
Do I need to prepare anything before I attend a Handy Helpers activity?
Prior to the activity, you will be sent a detailed itinerary, which will give you all the necessary information, including descriptions of the tasks you will be required to do during the activity. Any necessary equipment will be provided for you. However, it is your responsibility to ensure that you wear suitable and comfortable clothing/shoe wear for the weather conditions and tasks involved.
How do I find out about current Handy Helpers opportunities?
After you register as a Handy Helper you will start receiving our exclusive bi-monthly newsletter (different from the Volunteer SU newsletter) which will keep you informed about upcoming Handy Helpers volunteering activities and training sessions. All opportunities are also listed on our website, but you will only be able to register through the newsletter. If you have registered but not received our newsletter yet, make sure you let us know on firstname.lastname@example.org.
When does registration open?
Registration is on-going throughout the academic year (September-June), so you are welcome to join anytime. However, if you want to achieve Degree Plus/Graduate Plus/Researcher Plus through Handy Helpers, it is advisable to register early to allow yourself enough time to complete the required number of volunteering activities.
Where are Handy Helpers activities held?
Handy Helpers activities are held at different locations, many within walking distance from the main Queen’s campus. If a certain activity requires transport, it will be provided for you free of charge. When you register for an activity, you will receive full information about the location and transportation arrangements well in advance.
How long in advance do I need to register for an activity?
We aim to inform Handy Helpers about upcoming opportunities at least 2 weeks in advance, so you are welcome to join as soon as registration is open. Please be aware that the number of Handy Helpers participants for each activity is capped, depending on the nature of the tasks involved and health and safety regulations. The short answer is – if the Eventbrite for the activity is open, then you can still register. If the Eventbrite is closed, all spaces have been booked. If registration for an activity is closed, but you are still keen to participate, you can join the Eventbrite Waitlist or contact email@example.com and we can inform you if a space becomes available.