Volunteering FAQs

The Volunteering FAQs can also be downloaded as a PDF here.

What role is right for me?

There are many varied opportunities on offer as we rely on our volunteers to help us with fundraising as well as helping us run our support services. You can see our main volunteering roles in the navigation menu to the left. If you have a specific skill you think would benefit us, please let us know and we’ll see if this is something we can incorporate. 

Can I claim expenses?

You can claim for reasonable expenses when you are volunteering with us, such as travel and other out of pocket expenses. An expenses form needs to be completed and receipts provided. Some of our volunteering positions can be undertaken within your own home so no travelling is required.

Will volunteering affect my benefits?

Volunteering shouldn’t affect your benefits. We can write a letter to confirm the volunteer role is unpaid, confirm any expenses are just for travel and that the volunteering positions are more flexible than paid work so cannot be viewed as such. For some benefits, you may need to contact your benefit office to notify them that you have started to volunteer and so a letter from us could be useful.

Some benefits require you to maintain certain commitments. As long as volunteering does not stop you from fulfilling these commitments there should not be a problem volunteering. For example, while on Jobseeker’s Allowance you need to be actively seeking employment; are available to work; are able to attend interviews at 48 hours’ notice; and are able to start a job at one weeks’ notice. As long as you inform your Jobcentre Plus office that you are volunteering and volunteering does not affect your ability to meet these requirements, there should not be a problem. We will allow you to give a weeks’ notice, and we are happy for you to keep your mobile phone with you so you can be contacted whilst volunteering with us if a job opportunity becomes available.

I want to volunteer, but none of the volunteer roles suit me, can I still help?

If you have specific skills you want to share, please feel free to call us to discuss possibilities. You can still help us by fundraising, helping us with campaigns and by raising awareness of The Pituitary Foundation without becoming an official volunteer. See the other areas in our Get Involved section of this website for more information and ideas.

What skills and experience will I need to volunteer?

The skills and experience you need will depend on the role you are volunteering in. Please see the sections on the different volunteering positions for more information about the skills needed for each position. For example becoming a Telephone Buddy requires good listening skills, empathy, being willing to share your personal experiences and being non-judgemental. All volunteer roles require you to sign up to The Foundation’s volunteer code of conduct, policies and procedures.

What support and training will I be given?

The specific support and training you receive will depend on the volunteering role you do, we are set up to deliver over the phone training but we do hold occasional face to face training days when funding allows. If one of these training events is organised all volunteer expenses will be paid and although it is not mandatory to attend we would recommend that you try your best to join us. Volunteers find these days really worthwhile and a great chance to make friends with other volunteers.

Whilst volunteering with us you will be supported by a designated member of staff and given appropriate handbooks and documentation to support you in your role. You will receive seasonal volunteer e-bulletins, a copy of Volunteer News posted to you three times a year, and ongoing volunteer training as funding allows. You will also receive free membership to The Foundation throughout tenure as an active volunteer.

How much time will I have to commit?

Some of the roles can be flexible to suit your needs. We have a wide range of opportunities, so whether you can volunteer on a daily, weekly, monthly, or ad hoc basis, your time will make a valuable and lasting difference to The Pituitary Foundation.

We recognise that our volunteers have varying time commitments and we are dedicated to working flexibly with you to enable you to volunteer. The roles range from a couple of hours a month up to a couple of days a week. For example Helpline Operators give 3 hours a week to cover one Helpline shift, Office Volunteers usually give a day or half day each week. Evening and weekend work are possible for most roles if this suits you best, however this is not possible for Helpline and office based roles.

Where will the volunteering be based?

Our volunteering positions are located across the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Most of our positions can be based from your own home (Telephone Buddies, Helpline Operators and Volunteer Forum Moderators), while others may be volunteering at events or coordinating Local Support Groups. Office based roles are all at our National Support Office, 86 Colston Street, Bristol, BS1 5BB.

I’m a pituitary patient and would like to volunteer, are there any health considerations?

We are really pleased to say that the large majority of our volunteers are indeed pituitary patients themselves. When you apply we will discuss your situation with you to make sure you are well enough as we do require volunteers to be well enough following surgery, and to be receiving stable treatment. Occasionally we may ask for you to wait a little longer before volunteering until your health improves so that you are not putting yourself under too much pressure and that you are ready to support others. All our volunteering roles are open to patients and non-patients. If you ever felt unable to complete a task because of your condition just speak to us and this will not be a problem.

What is the application process?

An application form needs to be completed and we take up references for most of our volunteer roles. One referee should be a person in a position of authority e.g. past or current employer, doctor, nurse, teacher, etc. The second referee can be a friend but, we’re sorry, family members will not be accepted. On receipt of satisfactory references we will then go through all relevant training with you, usually over the phone, and you will then need to sign the relevant volunteering policies. This process can take up to 3-4 weeks and is dependent on how long the references take and how quickly training can be scheduled.

Will I need a DBS check?

For our current volunteering roles you do not need to complete a DBS check (previously called CRB). DBS checks are only required for volunteers who have regular face to face meetings with vulnerable/younger people as much as 4 times a month or overnight, or if volunteers were providing personal care like dressing/washing. (These responsibilities are not part of our volunteer roles).

Can I volunteer if I have a criminal record?

Having a criminal record does not automatically mean you cannot volunteer in charitable organisations and The Pituitary Foundation has the same policy. We do however ask that you disclose your offence when you apply. Where a criminal record is disclosed, we will make a decision based on the type of offence committed, when it occurred and how relevant it is to the volunteer role you have applied for. We will take advice if needed to enable us to make a fair decision.This position is re-enforced by UK legislation and guidance.

I have trouble filling in the application form, can I apply any other way?

We support equal opportunities, so if you are unable to fill in the application form and would like us to do this over the phone, or require it in a larger print, please contact Sian on the details below.

If I’m a returning volunteer, do I need to go through the application process again?

We are delighted that you would like to begin volunteering with us again, in the first instance please contact Sian on the details below to see if part of your previous application can be reused.

Can I do a ‘Back to Work’ Scheme with you?

We rely on our dedicated volunteers across the UK and the Republic of Ireland and could not support pituitary patients to the extent we do without their support. We want our volunteers to give their energy, time and experience freely and willingly and so we have made the decision not to participate in mandatory back to work schemes.

We recognise that volunteering can be a fantastic way to build skills, confidence and experience and we welcome applications from people who are on benefits who would like to volunteer with The Pituitary Foundation of their own free will.

Will The Pituitary Foundation give me a reference?

Yes, we can provide you with a reference for your volunteer work with us. Volunteering can often help improve your job prospects and if there are specific skills you are keen to gain experience in do let us know and we can do our best to accommodate this if it is relevant to the role. Volunteering with us will not lead to a job offer at The Pituitary Foundation. However, as a volunteer you will have access to our internal vacancies list during your volunteering and you will be notified if a position arises.

How do I express an interest and begin applying for a volunteering position?

If you are interested in our service support roles such as Helpline Operator, Volunteer Area Coordinator, Telephone Buddy, Volunteer Forum Moderator, Volunteer Campaigners, or have questions about volunteering, please contact Pat McBride, Head of Patient & Family Services, at pat@pituitary.org.uk or 0117 370 1315.

If you are interested in helping with the new fundraising groups we are setting up or the Graphic Design position, please contact Jay Sheppard, Head of Fundraising, at jay@pituitary.org.uk or 0117 370 1314.