Volunteering with Children

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Volunteering with children is great way to help educate and inspire future generations. There are vulnerable babies and children from all corners of the world whose health, education or general well-being is suffering. With the right time and energy, you have the opportunity to make a real difference to these children’s lives.

Being slightly older, you can bring useful knowledge and life experience to supportive roles within children’s charities and services.

You can choose whether you’d like to do volunteering with children directly or whether you prefer to work behind the scenes for a children’s service or charity. This is a fantastic opportunity to inspire and nurture future generations, and there are hundreds of ways to volunteer your time.

It is likely that you will need to undergo a DBS or disclosure check before you begin volunteering with children, to find out whether you have any previous criminal offences. But, the cost of this is usually covered by whoever is employing you as a volunteer.

What sort of roles are available?

Roles working directly with children

Teaching

Organisations such as Beanstalk enable volunteers to support children one-to-one with their literacy in Reading Helper roles. Training is provided and the role aims to give confidence to young children who may be due to start school, or who are school-age and struggling with reading. Teaching often requires you to commit to a minimum number of hours a week, for an agreed period to create a stable environment to unleash a child’s learning potential.

Helpline Volunteer

Here you will be answering calls and emails from vulnerable young people who need a listening ear, some kind words and/or further help and support. Charities such as NSPCC (Childline) answer calls 24 hours a day and by giving just 4 hours a week as a helpline volunteer, you could make a difference to so many children’s lives. Training is provided for sensitive roles like these, so you don’t need to worry about not knowing how to help a child at the other end of the phone.

Foster Carer

This role comes with a huge amount of responsibility but can be deeply rewarding. By becoming a foster carer, you could change and influence a child’s life for the better by giving them a safe, stable, loving environment while they await a permanent home. There are numerous agencies and charities who can assist you on your journey to becoming a foster parent, including The National Fostering Agency and UK Fostering. Give them a call to discuss your options, to help you decide if fostering is right for you.

Baby Buddy/Befriender

During this role, you will support and nurture vulnerable babies and young children, primarily through the act of cuddling. Human contact is important for babies with serious health conditions because it alleviates stress and aids early development. This role (and roles like this), are usually offered by hospitals such as Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children and typically require a minimum of one shift per week, to allow children to benefit from continuity.

Independent Visitor

As an Independent Visitor, you will befriend a young person in care and help them develop new hobbies, skills and interests. You’ll also accompany them on outings e.g. to the cinema, shopping, or to a museum. Independent Visitors are exactly that – they are completely independent of the care system, offering a young person time and care purely out of the goodness of their heart (as there’s no pay involved). The National Youth Advocacy Service is always looking for volunteers, as are local councils – contact yours today to find out more about available opportunities and how to apply.

Childcare/Home Help Volunteer

With Home Start, you can support parents and children to have happier, more fulfilled lives. You will help families who are struggling in some way with their home life due to things such as bereavement, mental health, or single parenting. In most circumstances, you’ll spend a few hours a week engaging a family in positive activities e.g. a trip to the park or a painting session, to strengthen the bond between parent or child and/or give parents a break from the usual stresses and strains of everyday life. You may also provide emotional support if needed. By volunteering your time to help a family in need, you could change their lives for the better.

School Services Volunteer

Are you an outgoing individual who is passionate about the welfare of children? Then consider volunteering your time in schools – giving assemblies and workshops that encourage children speak out against abuse. Charities such as NSPCC will equip you with all the information you need for the role, and you will usually deliver workshops and/or assemblies to at least two schools a month. Sign up today and you could make a huge difference to the lives of many children.

Additional roles supporting children’s charities and services

For more information on supporting children in ‘behind the scenes’ roles, please click through to our Charity Shop Work, Office & Admin and Fundraising pages or explore the range of charities below.

Where can I volunteer?

Charities
Save the Children, NSPCC, Barnardo’s, Plan International, Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, Teenage Cancer Trust, Children with Cancer UK, BBC Children in Need, Compassion UK, Beanstalk

Volunteering in your local community
If you’d like to focus your time on working with children in your local community, speak to your local primary schools, nurseries and  youth clubs to understand the types of opportunities available  and get information on how to apply.

Why volunteer later in life?

More and more people are finding satisfaction in Volunteering. Find out why you should become a volunteer and the benefits it can bring.

Find your purpose

Volunteer for a charity and you will be joining a mission to make the world a better place. Find a cause that inspires you and get started.

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