Volunteering is popular among Brits, with 55% of Britons having volunteered in 2021 and 2022 and 34% volunteering once a month or more. In a country where people value community and come together with the “Blitz Spirit” when facing a crisis, it’s no surprise.

In addition to giving back to the community, volunteering can help you develop soft skills and hard skills you need to grow professionally in 2024.

Plus, having volunteer experience can help you write a CV and make a cover letter that show employers your job-relevant skills and experience, as your volunteering will make a valuable addition to your CV work experience section.

So here are some of the most popular volunteer opportunities near you and how to find them:

  1. Animal volunteer opportunities
  2. Hospital & healthcare volunteer opportunities
  3. Volunteer opportunities for teens and youths
  4. Opportunities for volunteering at schools & with children
  5. Mental health volunteering
  6. Volunteering with refugees opportunities
  7. Lab volunteer opportunities
  8. Environmental volunteering opportunities
  9. Opportunities for football volunteering
  10. History volunteering opportunities
  11. Music volunteering opportunities
  12. Volunteering in the Home Nations

1. Animal volunteer opportunities

One of the most popular volunteer options is working with dogs and other animals. These are some organisations that offer valuable ways to volunteer with animals:

The RSPCA

Volunteer with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) if you’d like to take on one of a myriad of roles, such as:

  • dog walking
  • transporting animals to RSPCA centres or veterinary practices
  • fostering animals temporarily

Find your perfect role volunteering at the RSPCA online using your postcode.

The RSPB

Volunteer for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), where you can perform a wide range of tasks, including:

  • bird care
  • signing up new members
  • designing graphics for campaigns

Discover the ideal RSPB volunteer opportunity for you by searching for roles with your postcode.

Bat Helpline

Batty about bats? Sign up to volunteer for the National Bat Helpline with a team dedicated to conserving bat roosts and helping members of the public care for injured bats.

Guide Dogs for the Blind

If you love pooches and want to help vulnerable members of society, consider volunteering for Guide Dogs for the Blind. A variety of roles are available, such as:

  • fostering future guide dogs
  • supporting people with visual impairments
  • raising awareness
  • organising events

Simply pop your postcode in on their site to find volunteer opportunities in your community.

2. Hospital & healthcare volunteer opportunities

Volunteering in health care allows the NHS to allocate more resources to patients in need, so any help you can give helps keep health care accessible for everyone.

Here are some ideas for health care volunteer opportunities near you:

The Red Cross & St John Ambulance

The Red Cross and St John Ambulance both offer opportunities to learn First Aid and work on an ambulance crew.

The Red Cross also has a network of charity shops where you can volunteer. And if you have foreign language skills you can volunteer as an interpreter.

Royal Voluntary Service

Volunteers in the Royal Voluntary Service primarily work in NHS hospitals. As a Royal Voluntary Service volunteer, you can fulfil myriad roles, including:

  • manning hospital shops and canteens
  • driving patients home
  • providing patients with a friendly conversation
  • greeting visitors and patients at the hospital entrance

The NHS

There are also opportunities to volunteer with the NHS that vary widely. Here are some ways you can volunteer:

  • Participating in youth volunteering (for 16- and 17-year-olds) to develop practical life skills
  • Joining the NHS Cadets (if you’re 14–18 years old) gives you a chance to gain some experience in the healthcare field
  • Volunteering with your local hospital or ambulance trust

3. Volunteer opportunities for teens and youths

If you’re a young person who wants to volunteer in your community, there are plenty of things you can do.

Also, voluntary work is a great addition when you make a CV because it shows employers that you have the skills they’re looking for. It can even put you ahead of other candidates who have similar qualifications when you’re applying for uni.

Here are some teen volunteer opportunities:

Duke of Edinburgh award

Volunteering is one of the four elements of the Duke of Edinburgh’s (DofE) award, and your DofE co-ordinator will even help you organise a volunteer placement.

Working with animals

If you’re interested in working with animals in the future, contact your local vet’s practice or animal shelter, such as the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in London.

Working in politics

If you’d like to change your community — and your country — consider running for the UK Youth Parliament.

As a candidate for the Youth Parliament, you’ll write a manifesto aimed at young people in your local area, run for election, and represent your community, campaigning for the issues you were elected on by meeting with government officials and your local (adult) representatives.

Members of the Youth Parliament (MYPs) also meet in the House of Commons chamber in Parliament to debate issues relevant to young people once per year.

Youth Hostel volunteering

If you enjoy socialising, consider volunteering at a local Youth Hostel. You’ll be able to choose from tasks including greeting guests, organising events, maintaining the garden and buildings, and preparing and serving meals. You can even find remote volunteering opportunities!

4. Opportunities for volunteering at schools & with children

If you’re passionate about helping children, there are plenty of opportunities to support healthy child development and education or charities that work to provide children with needed resources.

Be aware that you’ll be asked to complete a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) criminal background check by the organisation you’re volunteering for if you’ll be in close contact with children. However, for volunteer roles, DBS checks are usually free.

Coram Beanstalk

A great way to help children at school is by reading with them as a volunteer for Coram Beanstalk. Just sign up, go through an online training course, and you’ll be able to start helping young readers grow.

Childline

Childline (0800 1111) is a freefone phone service that children can call to discuss any problems they have, including family, relationships, school, drugs, or friendships. Most of the volunteers for Childline work as trained counsellors answering calls, online chat messages, and emails.

It’s a big commitment because of the amount of training involved, so you’ll have to undergo a DBS check and pledge to volunteer for Childline for at least 1 year, completing a 4-hour shift each week.

The NSPCC

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) is always looking for volunteers and has a huge range of roles you can find by entering your postcode. Opportunities range from helping out with craft lessons and organising poetry competitions to showing kids classic cars and setting up football matches for children.

If those don’t sound like a good fit, you can also volunteer for the NSPCC as a fundraiser, treasurer, social media champion, or board member.

Barnardo’s

Barnardo’s offers similar volunteer opportunities to the NSPCC. You can:

  • help young asylum seekers learn English
  • mentor a child one-on-one
  • run a youth group
  • help facilitate local play schemes

There are also plenty of office-based administrative positions if you’d prefer to play a supporting role. If you’re in school and 14 years old or over, you can also volunteer for Barnardo’s to meet Duke of Edinburgh award requirements.

Action Tutoring

Action Tutoring provides tutors at schools all across the UK, but especially in more disadvantaged communities. You’ll help pupils with learning and doing their homework. Currently, Action Tutoring is only looking for in-person tutors in:

 

  1. Birmingham
  2. Coventry
  3. Bristol
  4. Liverpool
  5. The Wirral
  6. Chester
  7. Southport
  8. London
  9. Newcastle-upon-Tyne
  10. Durham
  11. Nottingham
  12. Derby
  13. Sheffield
  14. Sussex

 

If you aren’t available for in-person tutoring due to your location or schedule, you can also volunteer with Action Tutoring to be an online tutor wherever you are in England and Wales.

5. Mental health volunteering

Volunteering to assist people with mental health conditions relieves a lot of pressure on the NHS, so you’ll have the thanks of doctors, nurses, and other NHS staff.

You’ll require a DBS check to work with vulnerable adults, so keep that in mind if you’re interested in such volunteer opportunities.

Mind

To support mental health locally, one option is to volunteer at a Mind shop.

Mind is dedicated to providing advice and support to those struggling with mental health issues and campaigning for greater awareness and service improvements.

Volunteering at a Mind shop can involve organising and pricing clothing, using your sales skills, or creating beautiful displays. All proceeds from Mind’s charity shops go to mental health services and supporting them. Not only does volunteering benefit the community, but there are also advantages for volunteers, including:

  • a 25% shop discount on donated items
  • a free membership
  • evidence for National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs)
  • retail experience

The Samaritans

Consider joining the Samaritans, who are dedicated to preventing suicide by providing support, guidance, and tools for people facing crises. The Samaritans offer a 24/7 freefone suicide hotline and also offer listening services for any other mental health crises.

You’ll undergo training if you’re ready to become a listening volunteer and will also have access to counselling if you need help coping with the problems you hear about.

Anxiety UK

Anxiety UK is an organisation dedicated to providing relief and rehabilitation for people struggling with serious anxiety disorders and seeks to promote greater awareness of anxiety.

If you choose to volunteer with Anxiety UK, you can:

  • Become a Helpline volunteer, supporting callers with anxiety (using your own phone or laptop)
  • Be a National Participation Group Member, accomplishing tasks such as product reviews, attending events, responding to media inquiries, or providing feedback for the organisation
  • Volunteer as a therapist if you’re qualified

As a volunteer you’ll benefit from discounted Anxiety UK membership and therapy sessions.

6. Volunteering with refugees opportunities

With an increase in the number of migrants crossing the Channel and the Russo–Ukrainian War in full swing, there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer with migrants. Here are some ideas:

Help Ukrainian refugees

If you’d like to help provide shelter for Ukrainian refugees, you can register with the government to offer a home or a spare room to migrants.

And if you already know a Ukrainian migrant to whom you’d like to offer housing, you can help sponsor their visa.

Help refugees from Afghanistan

Register with the government to support Afghan migrants by providing:

The Refugee Council

Volunteer with the Refugee Council. Their volunteering opportunities include:

  • helping refugees access government benefits
  • tutoring newcomers in English and other subjects
  • working with minority communities (LGBT+, women)

Welcome refugees to Glasgow

Are you in Glasgow or the surrounding areas of Scotland? Consider volunteering with Refuweegee.

Refuweegee volunteer duties include:

  • Preparing welcome packages for refugees in Glasgow, including essentials like bedding, nappies, and non-perishable food items
  • Stocking the shop
  • Giving tours to new arrivals
  • Providing childcare (for PVG-checked volunteers)
  • Writing ‘letters fae a local’ to welcome people to Scotland

Refugee Action

Refugee Action offers volunteer opportunities across the country to help refugees integrate into life in the UK. Some example roles include:

  • Mentoring job seekers to write a cover letter and CV and answer interview questions
  • Mentoring refugees through the job-seeking process, helping them set goals and find opportunities to gain relevant experience
  • Tutoring refugees with some basic skills like IT and English
  • Fundraising

Refugee Action offers both remote and face-to-face volunteer opportunities and requires you to commit to six months of volunteering.

7. Lab volunteer opportunities

Volunteering for lab research can help researchers make valuable strides in fields like disease prevention and treatment. If this is something you’re passionate about, here are some ways to get involved near you:

Anthony Nolan

Anthony Nolan, an organisation that performs research into blood cancer, is seeking volunteer lab assistants. As a volunteer, you’ll be working 4-hour shifts entering data from samples, so you’ll need good organisational skills and some basic IT skills.

Local universities

Get in touch with local universities, many of which are seeking lab volunteers. For example, the University of Bristol is seeking laboratory efficiency volunteers, while the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Forest Research is looking for research volunteers.

Each university is likely to have different needs for volunteers, so you’re likely to find any specific roles you’re seeking if you look hard enough.

8. Environmental volunteering opportunities

Passionate about conserving the environment? Many great environmental organisations in the UK have volunteer programmes you can join — and here are two examples:

The Conservation Volunteers

Since 1959, The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) have been connecting people and green spaces. If you volunteer with TCV, you could:

  • plant food gardens
  • clean hiking paths
  • plant trees and wildflowers

The Woodland Trust

If you’re looking to volunteer in nature in the UK, The Woodland Trust is a great option. The organisation works to save woodlands by planting trees and revitalising degraded sites. Volunteer opportunities include working in nature, recording wildlife sightings, and fundraising.

9. Opportunities for football volunteering

About 1½ million people volunteer for their local football teams in the UK. Here’s how you can join the excitement and get involved:

England Football

England Football volunteering opportunities are broken down by club or role. So if you’re a Darlington FC fan, you can find volunteer opportunities there, or if you want to be a coach, ref, or groundskeeper at any club, you can find everything you need on England Football.

Local clubs

If you’d rather just see volunteer opportunities at your own club, most clubs have their own volunteer pages, so whether you’re a Man City or Man United fan, or a Magpies, Gunners, or Wolves fan, there are always opportunities to get involved.

London FA

If you live in London, check the London FA database of volunteer roles to find opportunities across the capital.

10. History volunteering opportunities

Interested in history or just want to help preserve the UK’s wonderful national heritage? Here’s how:

English Heritage

If you live in England, you can volunteer for English Heritage. Type in your postcode to find suitable local roles near you. Positions can include:

  • guiding tours
  • greeting visitors
  • maintaining old buildings, including castles, churches, and cathedrals
  • fundraising

In return, you’ll receive free English Heritage membership and entry.

The National Trust

The National Trust and National Trust for Scotland offer various opportunities to volunteer. For example, you could help photograph and geocache the natural environment, become a volunteer beekeeper, or be a costumed greeter at a Roman fort.

Museums near you

If you love developing and sharing historical knowledge with others, reach out to local museums and galleries for unique volunteering opportunities.

For example, the British Museum seeks volunteers to catalogue items, give tours, and develop learning programmes for visitors.

11. Music volunteering opportunities

If you’re interested in volunteering in music, you have lots of options to choose from, including these:

Music in Hospitals and Care

Music in Hospitals and Care volunteers help put together or support music performances for young and old hospitalised patients and people in care.

Help Musicians

Volunteer with Help Musicians to visit and support older musicians or musicians with disabilities in their homes (you’ll need a DBS check before you can do this). You can also help out at festivals and music conferences.

Pubs and working men’s clubs near you

If you enjoy the nightlife scene, and your local pub or working men’s club has live music or a DJ night, give them a ring or pop round and ask if you can lend a hand.

12. Volunteering in the Home Nations

Each of the Home Nations catalogues and lists ways to volunteer:

If you’re in Scotland, check out Volunteer Scotland to see opportunities to give back across the country.

Volunteering in Wales is easy. Take a look at Volunteering Wales to see roles nationwide, including Welsh-language positions.

The Northern Ireland Government also provides a guide to getting involved in volunteering.

Travelling to the UK? You can volunteer for up to 30 days on a tourist visa. If you’d like to volunteer for longer, you’ll need to get the right to work in the UK.

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Written by

Aaron Case

Aaron Case is a CPRW & Senior Staff Writer at CV Genius with 8+ years of experience in writing and career resource spaces. Job seekers around the world and in various stages of their vocational journeys have landed fulfilling work thanks to his thoughtful career advice, which has also been showcased in publications like Forbes, MSN, CareerAddict, Ladders, Best Colleges, Ivy Exec, Capitalism.com, and vidIQ. Aaron has a BS in English & Communications from Liberty University bolstered by a professional credential from UC Berkeley. He’s collected practical experience while following various career paths, and he enjoys sharing the resulting insights with everyone. You can contact him through his LinkedIn profile or on Twitter. Please note, we don’t accept guest posts, and all such requests will be ignored.