Q: How old do I have to be to volunteer?
A: Demelza has volunteers between the ages of 16-80+ and from all walks of life. Only volunteers 16 and over can work in our Shops. Volunteers under 16 can work in our hospice buildings in admin areas only (9am-5:00pm, Monday to Friday) where all employees and volunteers they come into contact with will be CRB checked. In Fundraising, it is possible for under 16’s to assist with some areas. However, we positively encourage under 16’s to Fundraise for Demelza under the supervision of a community group such as a school, youth club, or leisure club. [Click here to find out more]
Q: What is involved in the Application Process to become a registered volunteer?
A: On receiving a completed Application Form, a staff member will contact you to arrange an informal chat/interview, which we call ‘Informal Questions’. These questions help us to ensure your skills are matched to the best area of work for you and Demelza.
Following the Informal Questions, we send for 2 character references. The details of your references are provided by you on your Application Form.
Hospice Volunteers* are then invited to an ‘Induction’ session, where a member of Voluntary Services will give a virtual tour of the hospice, informing you of Demelza’s services and facilities, and a brief history of the charity. We also cover Manual Handling, Fire Safety and Child Safeguarding at the Induction, and talk you through the Volunteer Agreement.
*Shop Volunteers can be posted an Induction Pack to work through at home. The necessary paperwork from the pack will need to be signed, torn out of the booklet and returned to Voluntary Services using the Freepost envelope provided.
Once we have received 2 satisfactory references back, and you have completed an Induction, you are registered as a Demelza volunteer. We then pass your contact telephone number to the department manager of where you have chosen to volunteer, and they contact you to arrange your shifts.
For volunteers at either of our hospice sites, a CRB check is also required.
<Please see CRB section below for further information>
Q: Do I have to visit the hospice for my Induction?
A: Volunteers who will be helping in one of our Charity shops do have the option to work through and Induction booklet at home and return the necessary signed agreement and training materials by post.
Volunteers who are going to help on one of our hospice sites are expected to attend a face-to-face Induction, to better prepare them for the hospice environment and so that any questions about the hospice can be more readily answered by a member of staff.
Q: How long does an Application take?
A: It is very difficult to say exactly how long an application will take to process. If we are able to contact you easily to arrange your Informal Questions and you are able to attend one of the upcoming Induction Sessions, this obviously helps to speed up the process.
References are sent out to contacts provided by you on your application form, and we are reliant on the references being sent back to us in good time.
For those volunteering at the hospice sites, a CRB check is required. Once sent off, these can take up to 2-8 weeks to be returned to us from the Criminal Records Bureau. We try to send you CRB form off to be checked as early on in your application as possible to speed up the return of the CRB Disclosure.
Q: Do I need a CRB check to volunteer at the hospice?
A: Yes. Some of our volunteering roles involve contact with vulnerable children and adults. The safety of the children and families that use our hospices are paramount, and so CRB checks are one precaution that we take in order to ensure that we don’t have any volunteers that are unsuitable for the hospice environment. Every staff member and every volunteer that work on the hospice sites are CRB checked.
Q: I have a past Criminal record. Can I volunteer?
A: We do consider any conviction in relation to the voluntary position.
We also ask on the Application Form that you provide us with any details of unspent convictions as defined by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. A conviction will not necessarily exclude you from volunteering. We are legally obliged to ask.
Q: How long will it take?
A: Once you have completed your CRB form accurately and we have photocopied the necessary ID documents, we send the form to the Criminal Records Bureau so they can run their checks. These usually take between 6-8 weeks to be returned, but can sometimes be quicker.
Q: Does it cost the charity any money?
A: CRB checks for volunteers are free of charge.
Q: Do I need a CRB to volunteer at the shop?
A: We don’t currently carry out CRB checks on our Charity Shop volunteers. However if this changes we will notify you.
Q: I have already had CRB check with another organisation. Do I need to have another one for Demelza?
A: Yes, at the moment, CRB checks are not transferable from one organisation to another, and so we always carry out our own.
Q: Is there a different Application Process for Care Volunteers?
A: Yes. Volunteers who wish to help on the Care team begin by registering through the usual application process outlined above.
Following this, there is an interview with a member of the Care Team and a member of Voluntary Services. This interview covers some scenario-based questions and is a chance for the Care Team to begin to assess whether you are suitable or not to attend the Care Volunteer training. This is also done to ensure we can make good use of the skills you are offering.
If you are suitable, you are then booked into 2 sessions of Care Volunteers training hosted by a member of our Family Support Services and our Head of Clinical Education. The training is very interactive, includes lots of open discussion and covers topics such as Child Safeguarding, Listening Skills and more information about the kind of illnesses and conditions that are common amongst the children and young people that use the hospice.
It is after this training that the training providers assess which of the volunteers that attended are suitable to go on to volunteer with the Care Team.
Q: I am a nursing student. Can I have a placement with the Care Team?
A: The Care Team do take 2nd year nursing students, but places are limited to ensure we can offer the necessary supervision and support required to make your placement a positive learning envrionment. For more information on nursing placements please contact Voluntary Services who will pass on your query to the Care Team.
Q: Who do I tell about my holidays?
A: Once you have started volunteering, all volunteering duties will be arranged with your department manager, and any holidays you have booked should also be communicated with your department manager.
Q: Who should I tell if I am not enjoying my volunteering role?
A: Please tell a member of Voluntary Services if you find that the volunteering role you have taken on isn’t for you anymore. It is just as important to us that you are enjoying what you are doing as a Demelza volunteer, and we would be more than happy to look at an alternative role, or to try to resolve any issues that might be preventing you from enjoying your time with Demelza.
Q: How do I find out about Volunteer events and news at the hospice?
A: As a registered volunteer you will receive ‘Volunteer News’, our 6 weekly newsletter for Demelza volunteers. This will be either posted to you or sent by email, whichever method is preferred. You will also receive a Fundraising Events list, so you can get involved with any fundraising activity in your area if you wish.
Q: I want to volunteer as a team with my company employees/colleagues, is this possible?
A: Yes, we have a number of projects you can get involved with, click here to find out more.
Q: A member of my family uses Demelza’s services, can I still volunteer?
A: We do have volunteers who are family members of service users or have been service users. We do look at everything individually, but it may not always be advisable for people to volunteer in the hospice environment if they have been on the receiving end of our services or have suffered a loss recently. We would fully encourage people who may be in this position to volunteer perhaps in one of our Charity Shops, as a Fundraising volunteer or an Ambassador. Please contact us if this applies to you.
Q: Do my references have to be from a previous employer?
A: No, references can be provided by a friend or a colleague, as long as they have known you for more than 3 years, provided that they are not related to you.
Q: Can a letter from a referee to be used as a reference?
A: We send out our own standard letter and form to all referees. Any other documents will be added to your file, but not accepted as your references. We also carry out random reference checks, asking referees to verify the reference they have provided.
Q: I have a skill in a particular area and would like to offer it to Demelza. Is this possible?
A: Yes, but this depends on what your skill is! We currently have volunteers who assist with marketing, data protection, computer maintenance, and car maintenance, to name but a few! These volunteers have all gone through the usual application process, and once registered have been placed in the area most appropriate to their given skill.
Our priority is always to meet the needs of the charity, and so if there was not an opportunity for you to put your skill to good use, we would try and find another area of the charity to suit you. This is the purpose of our Informal Questions at the start of the process.
Q: I am a parent and can only volunteer during school hours, is this possible?
A: We understand that everyone has commitments and responsibilities outside of their voluntary role. Please discuss these with your department manager, and we will try and accommodate your needs so that your role as a volunteer is as enjoyable and rewarding as possible.
Q: I am a qualified Therapist/ Counsellor and would like to give my services for free to Demelza. How do I apply to do this?
A: To start your Application Process as a voluntary Therapist or Counsellor, please email Willis Atherley-James, Head of Psychosocial And Support Services at email@example.com.
Q: How can I find out what current volunteer vacancies are available?
A: You can look at the vacancies on our website by clicking here. If you would like to speak to us about the volunteer opportunities that are available please contact Voluntary Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: Do you take Work Experience Students?
A: We do take Work Experience Students in our Admin offices, in Maintenance and with the Fundraising team. However, this is always assessed at the time of receiving an application and is subject to availability.
Q: Can I do Work Experience with the Care Team?
A: Unfortunately Work Experience placements are not available with the Care Team.