If you need any further information about volunteering, please see our FAQs for volunteers:
How do I contact the Communities Team?
If you need to speak with someone for anything related to volunteering, you can:
- come to a drop-in session with Communities team at the Student’s Union (check the Facebook group or ask at reception for times);
- Join our Facebook group
- email us at firstname.lastname@example.org;
- Call the Student’s Union reception desk on 01524 593765 and ask to speak with a member of the Communities team.
How does community volunteering work?
We partner with local charities and community groups in Lancaster to provide high quality volunteering opportunities.
Opportunities are similar to work placements. We will advertise an opportunity for four weeks and if you choose to apply, you can volunteer with the organisation for up to 1 term. If you wish to continue to volunteer with the organisation, we are happy to discuss this with you and look at the options available. Or if you prefer, you can look for something new.
We will also ask you to complete a short online evaluation form when you’ve finished so we can make sure our opportunities are fun, relevant to you and support your personal development.
How is community volunteering different to other volunteering opportunities at Lancaster University?
Community volunteering with the Students’ Union is managed by the Communities team. It is different to Green Lancaster and Schools Volunteering, and it offers a way of getting involved with the local community in town as well as on campus.
Volunteering is always a great way to develop as a person, build up experience and learn new skills for the future, but we also think about well-being, feeling part of a wider community and making you feel you belong.
What happens when I apply for an opportunity?
After you’ve registered and found an opportunity that suits you, you can apply with just one click. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be contacted by the Students’ Union to come to a drop-in session with the Communities team. This isn’t a formal interview, but a friendly conversation to check in with you about what you hope to get out of your volunteering work and what the next steps are.
After you have attended a drop-in, your application will be forwarded to the organisation and your volunteering work will begin.
After your volunteering work is completed, we will ask you to complete a short online feedback survey.
I’m worried about other commitments – how much time will volunteering take?
We know that your university studies and other things in life come first, and that some times of the year are much busier than others.
We make sure that our volunteering opportunities don’t last for more than 1 month so you don’t feel too much pressure to continue volunteering long term. If you want to continue working with the organisation for a longer period of time, then this is something that you may discuss with them and our team.
Some opportunities may even be a one-off, and sometimes it takes 1 day to make a difference!
Will I need anything to volunteer?
This depends on the organisation and the opportunity. Generally, you won’t need anything unless the voluntary work takes place outside, in which case you’ll need to make sure you have the proper clothing to keep you warm and dry.
You might need to think about bringing along packed lunches and drinks depending on the activity you’ll be doing. Staff at the organisation will be able to advise you.
Will I have to travel?
You may have to travel a short distance. We work with organisations who operate locally, but most of the roles mean travelling into Lancaster town centre and some of the work might require travelling a bit further (such as Morecambe).
The Student’s Union makes sure that any travel is manageable by students, and the organisation you volunteer with should offer travel expenses.
We do try to have some opportunities that are on campus too, so keep a look out!
English isn’t my first language – can I still volunteer?
Yes you can. We think it’s a great way to improve your English and we make sure all of the organisations we work with can support student's who have English as a second language. If you have any concerns about language barriers, you can contact the Communities team for advice.
Do I need any special skills before I volunteer?
Generally, voluntary work shouldn’t require any special skills, and is a great way to gain experience and develop as a person.
Will I receive any training?
Any training you’ll need for the role will be provided by the organisation. This might be face-to-face or over the phone. You’ll be informed about this once they have made contact with you.
For any community events which are done in partnership with the Students’ Union, we run briefing sessions that cover role expectations, tasks and responsibilities as well as health and safety. Briefing sessions take place at the SU office on campus.
Does it count towards the Lancaster Award?
Yes, all of the voluntary opportunities with the Student’s Union count towards the Lancaster Award.
I’m interested in volunteering, but I’m not sure if it’s right for me. Is there anyone I can speak to?
If you’re not sure about volunteering, or you have any concerns or questions before you sign up, then we’re here to offer support and advice.
Please see contact details in the ‘How do I contact the Communities team?’ question.
I’ve started volunteering, but I’m not sure if I want to continue the role – what should I do?
Don’t worry if you feel you don’t want to carry on with your volunteering role. You can either speak to your staff contact at the organisation, or come and speak to us at a drop-in session.
As you are volunteering your time, everyone will be understanding, but you should make sure you let the organisation know that you won’t be continuing to volunteer in advance.