Frequently asked questions about volunteering

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 shops and regional offices across England, Scotland and Wales. We also have a range of online roles that can be carried out from your own home. Although, due to the current Government coronavirus restrictions and limited visitor access across our hospices, we currently have a more limited number of roles available.

You can still search for volunteering roles in your local area and register your interest or find your nearest Sue Ryder charity shop.

Need help finding a suitable role? Email our Volunteering team and we can let you know about the volunteering opportunities available 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.

I am not always regularly available, is it still okay to apply?

Yes, as we appreciate any time given if supportive. Many of our roles can be flexible to suit you.

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.

Can I try out the opportunity before signing up?

Yes, we offer taster sessions that give you a chance to meet the team and try out the role before agreeing to volunteer with us.

I have an illness/disability, can you make adjustments for me?

We value the contribution of every potential volunteer. Before you start we will carry out a risk assessment and make all the reasonable adjustments we can to make it possible for you thrive in your preferred role. We will:

  • Have an attitude of acceptance and understanding
  • Communicate effectively, discussing the situation with the you
  • Be flexible, finding other ways to do a job whenever possible
  • Use common sense to find what is practical and will work
  • Carry out regular reviews/appraisals of the situation and of any adjustments

Where reasonable adjustments to the role are not sufficient to make it safe, we will support you to find an alternative role that meets your needs and ours.

I am receiving benefits and looking for work, can I still volunteer?

Yes you can. 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

Can I volunteer from my workplace or company?

Our palliative and neurological centre teams have offered engaging and challenging activities for corporate teams for many years, and from time to time we have opportunities for groups to support our charity shops too.

If you're interested in volunteering in a group as part of your company's corporate social responsibility programme, please email us on or call 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. We also offer a range of online learning courses relevant to your role.

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

Yes. Some of our roles in healthcare require previous training or experience, but we can offer you all the training you need for most of our roles.

Volunteering can be a great way to develop your skills and boost your 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 Community Plus Programme.

Do my referees need 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 happy to help.