Volunteering FAQs

Your questions answered

We've answered a few common questions below, but if you can't find the answer to your question feel free to get in touch with our volunteering team who will be able to help in more detail.

Q: What volunteer opportunities do you have?

We rely on the support of volunteers across all departments. From covering reception to befriending, serving refreshments to patients and helping in our shops, our volunteers enable us to raise funds and deliver our services. You can find available opportunities on our vacancies page.

Opportunities include:

  • administration
  • befriending
  • retail
  • bereavement support
  • catering/housekeeping
  • complementary therapies
  • creative art activities
  • driving
  • events and fundraising
  • flower arranging and gardening
  • healthcare support
  • maintenance/decorating
  • public speaking/ambassador
  • reception
  • telephone support

Q: Where can I volunteer?

We have neurological centres and hospices along with over 450 shops and several regional offices across England, Scotland and Wales. Search for roles local to you or let us know where you're based and we’ll tell you about the voluntary roles in your area.

Q: How much time do I need to give?

If a role requires a specific commitment, we’ll always let you know first. Otherwise you can give us as much or as little time as you like.

It's best for us if you can give four hours at a time - that's a half day. It makes it easier for us to plan. But if you only have an hour to spare, we'll be just as grateful.

Q: What is the minimum age for volunteering?

You can volunteer in Sue Ryder shops from the age of 14. Most roles that involve contact with service users in our neurological centres and hospices have a minimum age of 18.

Q: With prior agreement will I get paid?

No. When you sign up to volunteer, you're giving us your time and skills for no financial payment. With prior agreement from your manager we'll reimburse your reasonable local travel expenses if you're with us for a shift of over four hours. But we do ask that you show receipts for any claims you make.

Q: Can I volunteer with a team from my company?

Our hospice and neurological centre teams have offered engaging and challenging activities for corporate teams for many years. If you're interested in volunteering in a group as part of your company's corporate social responsibility programme, please contact us.

Q: How do I apply for a role?

You can apply for roles in various ways:

  • call or email the Sue Ryder contact named on the role description
  • apply directly online
  • go direct to your local Sue Ryder shop or centre
  • Email our volunteering team on volunteering@sueryder.org
  • call us on 0808 164 4572.

Q: What will I get out of volunteering?

Volunteering with Sue Ryder is a great way to:

  • boost your CV
  • learn new skills and put existing talents to use
  • get involved in your local community
  • make a difference to someone's quality of life
  • increase your confidence and self-esteem
  • meet new people

We’ll do our best to let you get involved as much as you'd like, and hope you have fun along the way.

Q: Can I get any qualifications through volunteering?

With our college partner we are able to offer NVQ units in Retail Skills, Customer Service and Team Leadership. There are eligibility criteria which determine whether the NVQ is free or whether a loan is available. Contact your local Sue Ryder manager for more information.

Q: Can I still apply if I don’t have any previous work experience?

Yes. We can train you for most of our roles. Volunteering can be a great way to develop your skills while boosting your CV.

Q: Do my referees have to be previous employers?

No. Previous employers can vouch for your ability at work, but we can also accept references from friends, colleagues and clients.

Q: I have a criminal record, can I volunteer with Sue Ryder?

Having a criminal record is not necessarily a barrier to volunteering with Sue Ryder. We ask that you disclose your offence to your manager in a confidential setting.

We work with probation trusts across the country and are also proud to work with currently serving offenders through our Prison Volunteer Programme.

Q: I am looking for work and am on benefits, does that mean I can only volunteer 16 hours?

No. You will not be paid, and will only be reimbursed expenses, so your income will not be affected.

You can volunteer for as many hours you want as long as you:

  • are still actively looking for a full-time paid job
  • are available for work
  • are still able to go to an interview at 48 hours' notice
  • are still able to start a job at one week's notice
  • let your Jobcentre Plus Advisor know before you start, and tell them about any expenses you may get

Q: Does Sue Ryder engage with people on back-to-work schemes?

Read: Sue Ryder position statement on the Department for Work and Pensions' back-to-work schemes (pdf) commonly known as Workfare.