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Frequently asked questions about volunteering

If you have questions regarding volunteering, such as how to get involved and what volunteering entails, take a look at our most frequently asked questions. If there is anything else you would like to know, please get in touch.

Q: How much time to I have to give?
A: As little or as much as you wish, although some roles require set amounts of time.

Q: Do I need any specialist training?
A: No. Any training needed for the role will be provided by the Hospice.

Q: I am 13 years old. Can I volunteer with you?
A: We think it’s brilliant that you want to volunteer your time. We are happy to offer volunteering opportunities in our nine shops across West Suffolk and Thetford with the consent of a parent or guardian. We also require any young person under the age of 16 to apply for a work permit from their local council. The form can be downloaded here.

Q: Will you cover my bus fare?
A: Where a volunteer incurs expenses on Hospice business (not to or from a place of volunteering) expenses will be reimbursed on presentation of an expenses form.

Q: Will I have direct contact with patients?
A: There are only a few volunteer roles that have direct patient contact across the Hospice.

Q: What checks do I have to go through?
A: As a care provider we need to carry out pre-recruitment checks. This varies depending on the volunteer role but could include references, occupational health screening and Disclosure and Barring service (DBS).

Q: Do I need any qualifications?
A: No qualifications are needed but an aptitude for learning and a willingness to help others.

Q: I have recently been bereaved, can I volunteer?
A: We recognise that those who have suffered bereavement may want to give something back to the Hospice in recognition for the support they or a loved one has received. If you have such a situation we would like to talk to you about this before you start volunteering with us.

Q: I can only volunteer in the evening and at the weekend. Is that possible?
A: Our Hospice is open 365 days of the year, seven days a week so we always have a need for evening and weekend volunteers at our main site in Bury St Edmunds and at our 14 shops across West Suffolk & Thetford.

Q: My organisation is interested in helping for a day. Is this possible?
A: Please contact our H.R. team in the first instance, on 01284 715573, to discuss your enquiry.

Q: How long do I have to commit for?
A: This varies depending on the role you are interested in. Some roles look for longevity such as bereavement visitors and Hospice Neighbours.

Q: What kind of roles do you offer?
A: This list is not exhaustive but just a flavour of what happens here at the Hospice. Roles exist in support functions (e.g. catering, fundraising, finance, H.R. or facilities), clinical, administration and retail shops.

Q: What do I need to wear?
A: There is no set dress code when you volunteer and smart casual is acceptable unless you have direct patient care or are working in our kitchen, then a uniform will be provided.

Q: Do I have to undergo training?
A: There will be training upon joining that is appropriate to your role, and an expectation to take part in training relevant to your role on an annual basis or as required.

Q: Do you have an upper age limit?
A: We do not have an upper age limit except in our volunteer driving roles, which is 70 years.

Q: What if I don’t like my role, can I move to a different department?
A: We offer taster sessions for most of our volunteer roles so you can get an idea of what will be expected of you in your role as a volunteer. If, after the taster session, you decide that that role is not for you simply let the H.R. team know so they can discuss other volunteer opportunities with you.