Frequently asked questions about volunteering

Answers to some common questions about volunteering with Sue Ryder.

We've answered some common questions below about volunteering with Sue Ryder.

Where can I volunteer?

We have hospices, palliative care hubs and neurological centres, along with over 450 shops and several regional offices across England, Scotland and Wales.

Search for roles in your local area online.

Need help finding a suitable role? Email our Volunteering team and we can let you know about the voluntary roles in your area.

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.

Ideally, volunteering for four hours at a time, or half a day, is best for us as it makes it easier for us to plan how our opportunities work. But if you only have an hour to spare, we'll be just as grateful.

What is the minimum age for volunteering?

You can volunteer in our charity shops from the age of 17.

Most roles that involve contact with service users in our palliative or neurological centres have a minimum age of 18.

Will I get paid for volunteering?

No. When you sign up to volunteer, you're giving us your time and skills for no financial reward.

But 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.

I'm receiveing benefits and am looking for work, does this mean I can volunteer for 16 hours a week?

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 Work Coach know before you start and tell them about any expenses you may get.

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

We don't participate in any mandatory back-to-work scheme or have any national or local relationship with schemes which affect people’s benefits. 

Read our position statement on the Department for Work and Pensions' back-to-work schemes, commonly known as Workfare, to find out more.

Can I volunteer with a team from my company or workplace?

Our palliative 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.

How do I apply for a volunteering opportunity?

The easiest way is to apply directly online.

Have questions about the opportunity?

You can call or email the Sue Ryder contact named on the description.

You can also pop into your local Sue Ryder shop or centre to speak to a member of the team.

Alternatively, email our volunteering team on or call us on 0808 164 4572.

Can I gain 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 that determine whether the NVQ is free or whether a loan is available. Contact your local Sue Ryder manager for more information.

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.

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.

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.

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.