Volunteering FAQs

Volunteer with visitor at the wildlife watchpoint at Lizard Point, Cornwall

Volunteering can be an extremely rewarding experience, but many of you have questions regarding how you can get involved, what it entails or whether you're adequately qualified. We've tried to answer as many of these questions as we can in our FAQs below.

Who can volunteer? 

Do I have to be a member of the National 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:
  • Overseas volunteers must be 18 or over and have a good command of spoken English.
  • Full-time volunteers should be 18 or over, although some properties may be prepared to take 17 year olds.
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 (in external links below) for full details.
I live outside the UK, can I volunteer with you?
  • It is your responsibility to make sure you are able to volunteer while in the UK. In general if you are from the European Union or European Economic Area you will be able to volunteer with us but you should always check your visa conditions to be certain of this. If you have any doubts or questions you should contact UK Visas and Immigration.
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 property's 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 face to face briefing or one to one chats to keep volunteers informed of what is happening where they volunteer. Many places also produce printed or electronic newsletters or post important messages on notice-boards to keep volunteers informed and to ask for volunteer’s input on decisions.
  • We have a website called myvolunteering where volunteers have their own profile, can claim expenses, record hours and update their rotas. myvolunteering also showcases correspondent and volunteer stories, contains document resources and provides up to date National Trust news.
  • A monthly myvolunteering newsletter is produced and there is a volunteer’s facebook group to help everyone keep in touch and share experiences and ideas nationally.
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.
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?

  • Search for opportunities close to you and fill in the application form linked to the role(s) that you are interested in. Someone from the local team will then be in touch to discuss what happens next. This will usually be a visit and a chat but could be an open day or a more formal recruitment process such as an interview.

How can groups get involved?

Can school groups get involved?
  • 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.