Volunteering FAQs

Getting honey from a bee hive in the apple orchard at Erddig © David Burton

Getting honey from a bee hive in the apple orchard at Erddig

Who can volunteer? 

Do I have to be a member of the Trust?

  • No. Many of our volunteers aren’t National Trust members.

What age do I have to be?

  • In general (see exceptions below) there is no minimum or maximum age as long as you can make a useful and safe contribution, the activity is suitable for your age and won’t harm you in any way and there is no legal minimum age requirement for the task, for example driving.
  • If you are under 18, your parent or guardian must give permission for you to volunteer and you must be supervised by an adult and not left alone. We cannot always provide supervision so this may restrict younger people to volunteering with their parent or guardian.

The exceptions are:

  1. Overseas volunteers must be 18 or over and have a good command of spoken English.
  2. Full-time volunteers should be 18 or over, although some properties may be prepared to take 17 year olds.
  3. Working Holidays are divided into age bands but generally cover 17-70 years.

I am receiving benefits - am I allowed to volunteer?

  • Yes - but we’d suggest you tell your Job Centre about your volunteering.  See the Directgov website for full details.

I live outside the UK, can I volunteer with you?

  • EU/ EEA residents can volunteer in the UK and don’t require a visa to do so, although at the moment the situation is unclear for Romanian and Bulgarian nationals. If you are from Romania or Bulgaria you should ask the UK Border Agency whether you can volunteer in the UK.
  • Non EU/ EEA residents: If you have a visa to work or study in the UK you can volunteer as long as:
  1.  you are still undertaking the activity that is stated on your visa, and
  2. your visa allows you to undertake ‘unpaid work’ or volunteering.
  • Non EU/ EEA visitors: If you are visiting the UK from countries outside the EU/ EEA you should ensure you have the correct visa/ entry clearance to volunteer, if a visa or entry clearance is needed. To do this contact the UK Border Agency. If your visitor visa says you should not take up paid or unpaid work this means you can’t volunteer with us. 
  • Tier 5 charity workers: Unfortunately the Trust doesn’t hold a sponsorship licence so we can’t accept applications for volunteering with us from Tier 5 charity workers.

I’m a refugee/ asylum seeker, can I volunteer with you?

  • If you have refugee status or have exceptional leave to remain then you are very welcome to volunteer with us.
  • If you are an Asylum Seeker then you can also volunteer with us. If your final appeal is refused and you are denied leave to remain then you will have to stop volunteering with us.

Practicalities of volunteering with us

How much time do I need to give?

  • In general there is no minimum time you must give but some roles e.g. Room Guide do benefit from a regular involvement e.g. one shift a week. You can decide with your manager what arrangement works for you while also meeting the properties needs.
  • Many of our places also have opportunities for one off involvement whether that’s with your family or a group of work colleagues.

Will I be paid?

As a volunteer you will not be paid. We will though ensure you don’t lose out financially through volunteering so will cover your agreed out-of-pocket expenses, such as travel between your home and where you volunteer.

Will I be trained?

Yes, but what this training looks like will be different for different roles. A volunteer in a countryside ranger role might receive formal chain saw training while for a Room Guide you’ll probably learn most by talking to other volunteers.

You will receive a thorough induction to your role so that you are confident in what we are asking you to do.

Once I start volunteering with you how I will be kept in touch with what’s going on?

Most of our places use word of mouth, for example a start of shift briefing or one to one chats to keep volunteers informed of what is happening where they volunteer. Many places also produce printed newsletters or post important messages on notice-boards to keep volunteers informed and to ask for volunteers input on decision.

We will soon be launching an online area for volunteers 'My volunteering' where volunteers can access resources, keep up to date with National Trust news and talk with other volunteers.

 

How do you reward and recognise your volunteers?

Many of our places will run social events to say thank you to volunteers, for example a Christmas dinner or summer BBQ. They will also promote the work of their volunteer teams in the local press and internal publications. We also have a long service awards scheme and run an annual awards scheme.

Do you provide accommodation?

In general our volunteers get involved close to home so we don’t provide accommodation. Some properties can offer accommodation for full-time volunteers/ interns.

Will I be insured?

The Trust has insurance cover for legal liability claims, either by or against volunteers working for the Trust, resulting from damage to property or personal injury.

What happens next?

I’ve decided I’d like to volunteer with you. What do I do now?

  • Contact the place where you’d like to volunteer and someone there will talk you through what will happen next. In general we ask potential volunteers to complete a short registration form and then meet us for an informal chat. This allows us and you to check that the role is right for you and you are right for the role.

Some roles, for example internships have a more formal recruitment process involving an application form and interview process. Our working holiday leaders also go through a rigorous selection process.

How can groups get involved?

Can school groups get involved?

  • School children can make links with Trust properties, as volunteers, through the Schools Guardianship Programme and a growing number of learning programmes, out of school clubs and citizenship initiatives.

We are always pleased to assist schools organising Duke of Edinburgh's Award programmes and can suggest opportunities for residential and non-residential community service at bronze, silver and gold award levels.

Can I bring my local youth or community group to volunteer?

Yes, many different types of group volunteer for the Trust, from youth groups to corporate groups. Contact your local place to find out how you can get involved there.