What activities can I do?
If you are interested in volunteering for a particular charitible cause or organisation, you might find the suggestions below useful. Alternatively, you can use these categories as inspiration when searching the Do-it volunteering database.
If you are looking to volunteer in your local community you should also try contacting your local volunteer centre.
If you are an NCVO member offering national or regional volunteering opportunities and would like your details added to the list below, please contact Paul Winyard on
PDSA is Britain's leading veterinary charity - for pets in need of vets. There are a wide range of volunteering opportunities throughout the country, where you can have fun whilst helping PDSA to help sick and injured animals.
Telephone: 0800 854 194
RSPB involves thousands of volunteers, bringing their skills and interests from all walks of life: from computing to project management; from administrative support to language interpretation.
Telephone: 01767 680551
Arts and Heritage
The Voluntary Arts Network (VAN) can provide you with the contact details of the national body dealing with the area of the arts in which you are interested. Most arts groups are run by volunteers, with roles ranging from administration to fundraising to performing and directing.
Telephone: 02920 395395
The National Trust works to preserve and protect the coastline, countryside and buildings of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. You can search for volunteering opportunities on the National Trust website.
Telephone: 01793 817632
You may be interested in taking action to make your community a safer place. Here we have listed a few examples of community action, but there are many more. You may even want to consider setting up your own group to meet a particular need in your neighbourhood.
Neighbourhood & Home Watch Network volunteers co-ordinate meetings and activities to make the areas where they live safe, friendly and pleasant places to be.
Telephone: 0116 229 3118
Her Majesty's Courts of Justice include both civil and criminal courts, and are responsible for administering justice.
Magistrates sit in courts in their local area to hear criminal cases and help solve disputes. Magistrates will listen to the evidence, decide if the person is guilty and decide on a punishment.
Bench clerk volunteers work within the magistrates’ court, taking notes about sentence types and length to support Probation Officers.
Environment and Conservation
Canal & River Trust is a new national charity entrusted with the care of 2,000 miles of waterways in England and Wales. There are a wide range of volunteering opportunities available, including outdoor environmental improvement, heritage conservation, education and promotion.
Telephone: 0303 040 4040
TCV is the UK’s largest practical conservation charity, annually involving 130,000 volunteers in projects to protect and enhance the environment.
Telephone: 01302 388883
Friends of the Earth campaigns for the protection of the environment and proposes alternatives to environmentally damaging policies and practices. As well as a National Office, it has regional offices and a network of over 250 local groups, all of which rely on volunteer help.
Telephone: 020 7490 1555
Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens
City Farms and Community Gardens are locally based projects working with people, animals and plants. Many City Farms and Community Gardens are dependent on volunteers for their survival and development, as they often only have a few, if any, paid staff. For a list of local city farms check the website or call the number below.
Telephone: 0117 923 1800
Health and Social Care
Most NHS hospitals have their own Voluntary Services Manager, who will be responsible for recruiting, training, supervising and supporting the volunteers in the hospital. To find out more contact your local hospital.
The British Red Cross gives skilled and impartial care to people in need and crisis - in their homes and in the community, at home and abroad, in peace and war. In the UK the British Red Cross' primary purpose is to support statutory services, by providing care in crisis situations.
Telephone: 020 7201 5164 (Volunteering Department)
Home-Start is a national charity that recruits and trains volunteers who support families with children under five by visiting them in their own homes.
Telephone: 0800 068 63 68
St John Ambulance teaches people first aid so they can be the difference between a life lost and a life saved. Many of these become St John Ambulance volunteers, providing first aid at events, acting as first responders to NHS emergency calls in their community, or supporting their local ambulance service. As well as first aiders, the organisation has support roles in areas such as fundraising, PR, volunteer support and logistics.
Telephone: 08700 10 49 50
Management and organisational skills
Reach Skilled Volunteers helps voluntary organisation access the skills and support they need to be successful.
Tel: 020 7582 6543
Micro volunteering is about doing small, short-term voluntary actions that benefit a good cause, usually in less than 30 minutes.
Marie Curie Cancer Careuse micro-volunteering programme allowing people to help without the need for applications, training, or ongoing commitments.
Telephone: 0800 716 146
vInspired connects young people with volunteering opportunities and have a micro-volunteering page allowing people to make a real impact from the comfort of your their own home.
Work from Home allows you to volunteer your time in bite sized chunks, from your own home to a variety of worthy causes.
Telephone: 07815 159748
Special Constables volunteer alongside police officers, have full police powers, including the power of arrest. Specials may get involved in all different elements of policing, including tackling anti-social behaviour, crime prevention, raids and warrants, special events, football matches, missing person enquiries, and road traffic accidents.
Police Support Volunteers work alongside the police and special constables, supporting the work they do, but do not have police powers. There are many different roles available including assisting with crime prevention and community safety initiatives, providing specialist skills (e.g. a language or computer skills), providing administrative support, or acting as a link between the police and specific sections of the community.
Volunteer Police Cadets are aged between 14 and 19, and get involved in a range of activities to support the police. They wear a uniform and may take part in crime prevention initiatives, emergency services exercises, or assisting safer neighbourhood teams with events or community engagement. Cadets also learn police-related skills and may go on weekend camping trips or outward-bound courses.
Independent custody visitors visit police stations to check on the welfare of people in custody. Visitors play a vital role in raising standards in custody and the fair treatment of detainees.
Prison Visitor Centre volunteers give advice and information to visitors, or provide practical help with running the centre, which might include making sandwiches or drinks.
Play project volunteers provide entertainment for children visiting the prison. Prisons can be a daunting place for children, so playing games, reading a book or painting a picture, can help make the experience a more positive one.
The Prison Advice and Care Trust (PACT)has more information about these volunteer roles.
Telephone: 020 7735 9535
You can also contact your local prison
to find out what opportunities are available in your area.
Independent monitoring board members monitor the day-to-day life in their local prison to ensure proper standards of care and decency are maintained. Board members work together as a team to raise any matters of concern and to provide an independent view on the running of the prison.
Other useful links:
Action for Prisoners Families an umbrella body for organisations working with families of prisoners.
Telephone: 020 8812 3600
Clinks is an umbrella body for voluntary and community organisations that work with offenders.
Telephone: 0207 248 3538
Probation services are responsible for overseeing offenders released from prison on licence and those on community sentences.
Mentoring and support volunteers help offenders with everyday life and problem situations. Volunteers offer practical support to offenders, for example to register with a GP or register for benefits. Volunteers may also help identify and access positive ways for the person to use their spare time.
Restorative justice brings together those harmed by crime or conflict with those responsible for causing that harm, in order to communicate with each other and find a positive way forward. It helps offenders understand the real impact of what they’ve done, and allows victims to get answers to their questions.
Victim/Offender mediation volunteers are trained to facilitate meetings between victim and offender, or pass messages between them.
Restorative Solutions is a not-for-profit Community Interest Company (CIC) committed to enabling the use of innovative restorative approaches as a practical and cost-effective intervention for reducing harm or conflict.
Telephone: 01772 842 109
Youth Offender Panel membershelp decide how a young person can repair the damage caused by their offending, and work to prevent further offending.
Sports clubs provide the best opportunities to offer volunteer help to your favourite sport. Volunteer roles include coaching, administration, refereeing, driving and management.
English Federation of Disability Sport works to increase and improve opportunities for disabled people in sport. It has a range of volunteering opportunities through its regional and event networks.
Telephone: 01509 227750
Join In aims to help sports clubs and community groups in the UK capture the enthusiasm for Olympics and the Paralympics by hosting special community events.
Sport England has a Sports Gateways online database of local and national sporting contacts.
Telephone: 08458 508508
Sport Makersuse their passion for sport to help out a local clubs or events; use their sporting knowledge to pass tips on to others; and set up and organise local sporting events and friendly competitions.
Trustee of a charity
Charity trustees are the people legally responsible for the overall management and decision-making in a charity. For more information on what trustees do visit the NCVO website
NCVO has a Trustee Bank allowing you to search for the latest trustee vacancies.
Do-it has information on becoming a trustee and a data base of available opportunites to search.
Victim Support volunteers support victims of crime, accompanying them to police stations or to court, giving them valuable support and assistance. Victims of crime may need someone to talk to, information on police and court procedures and assistance with completing compensation forms.
Victim Supportline volunteers take phone calls and put people in touch with the necessary support network. Supportline takes calls from victims, witnesses and other people affected by crime. Volunteers are trained to handle all types of call, from simple enquiries to giving emotional support on sensitive issues.
Witness Support volunteers
help witnesses (and family and friends) deal with the experience of attending court and giving evidence.
Telephone: 0845 30 30 900
VSO provides international volunteering placements based around four development areas: health, participation and governance, secure livelihoods and education.
Telephone: 020 8780 7500
Youth / children
Scout Association provide volunteering opportunities to suit various skill sets and availability.
Telephone: 0845 300 1818 (local rate) or 020 8433 7100
vInspired connects young people with volunteering opportunities.
Youth Action is an award winning young people’s charity providing a wide range of services to young people aged 8 to 24.
Telephone: 01254 695 847