Action Together

Free volunteering from red tape

There are a number of things that often stand in the way of someone volunteering. Some are real barriers, others are myths and misunderstandings, and yet more are good old fashioned bureaucracy. Some are created by government and others by organisations that involve volunteers.

As a first step Volunteering England have published a leaflet that dispels some of the common myths, which are also shown below.

You can only volunteer for sixteen hours a week if you receive state benefits Someone receiving state benefits can volunteer as much as they like as long as they continue to meet the conditions of their benefits.
However, they must talk to Jobcentre Plus, their local council or whoever pays their benefits before they start volunteering.

Voluntary groups that work with children and vulnerable adults have to check every volunteer with the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) Checks should only be made for roles that meet the CRB’s eligibility criteria. If an application for a check is not justified, you could be breaking the law, as well as creating unnecessary bureaucracy.

If you volunteer to clear snow from paths you’re at risk of legal action under health and safety laws There’s no law stopping anyone from clearing snow and ice on the pavement outside your home or from public spaces. It’s also very unlikely anyone would be held legally responsible for any injuries on the path if it was cleared carefully.

This myth has become so prevalent that guidance has been issued by government! It’s available at

Only UK citizens can volunteer Anyone from an EU or EEA country and refugees are allowed to volunteer. Asylum seekers can volunteer for a registered charity or voluntary organisation. People from outside the EU or EEA can volunteer if their visa allows it.

People with criminal convictions cannot volunteer with children and vulnerable adults Very few people are barred from employment or volunteering. Only certain convictions will stop someone from volunteering with children and vulnerable adults. As with any volunteer, a CRB check should only be made if the role meets the CRB’s eligibility criteria.

We know these are only a few of the myths that are out there, If you have any queries about these or any other myths, please contact the Volunteer Centre:
Tel: 01706 927136

Contact Information

Action Together

104-106 Drake Street
OL16 1PQ

Tel: 0161 339 2345

Mobile: 07977 116 151

Meeting times

Monday to Friday 9.00am - 4.00pm

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