Finding volunteering roles

How to make sure you find yourself a good quality volunteering role which works around you.

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How Covid-19 (Coronavirus) could impact volunteering

It is likely that your usual plans for volunteering may be affected one way or another as organisations take measures to keep their staff, volunteers and service users as safe as possible.

We understand that this time may raise some questions around volunteering, perhaps you have secured a volunteering role and unsure where you stand, you may have concerns with meeting your Gold Award co-curricular hours, or you might like to know how you can help those who are vulnerable within your own communities.

We  must stress that the utmost priority during this time is to keep yourselves safe, and therefore recommend that you continue to follow the UK Government Guidelines and NHS updates.

Roles already planned

Every organisation will be taking steps to ensure that all their staff, volunteers and service users are kept safe and will have measures in place to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.

They will be making decisions about how to manage the operation of their work, which could change on a day to day basis and may mean converting in person roles to remote opportunities.

Wherever possible, organisations will keep you informed of the changes so keep in mind that they may get in touch with you via email or telephone to explain where they stand on volunteering roles. Feel free to contact them if you have not heard anything or if you are unsure what is expected of you as a volunteer going forward. 

If you do not feel comfortable volunteering during this time, to help organisations prepare, do get in touch with your point of contact at the organisation to let them know so that they can plan their work accordingly. They will understand your reasons for choosing not to volunteer. 

Online volunteering

Some of our charity partners have remote volunteering opportunities to offer, meaning you can carry out your role from the comfort of your own home. Those currently available are detailed on CareerSPACE and start with the title: ‘Remote Opportunity’.

To drill down to these roles, type ‘Remote Opportunity’ in the text search box and select ‘Voluntary’ in the salary box.

If you would like to find out whether you can carry out your current volunteering role remotely, do get in touch with your supervisor at the organisation you usually volunteer at to find out if this could be an option.

You can also look at these organisations:

  • Instant Wild
    Identify wild animals from images/videos taken in the wild around the world.
  • ZooniversePlay your part in cutting edge research online, via an app on your phone or a computer.
  • Phrase Detectives
    If you love language and literature, here you can identify relationships between words and phrases through gameplay.
  • Librivox
    Enjoy storytelling? You can read and digitally record chapters of books in the public domain which then become available for free online.
  • United Nations Volunteers
    Find remotely accessible volunteering opportunities, from translating information into another language to holding an English language class for students across the world.
  • Missing Maps
    Each year, disasters occur around the world but some locations are 'missing' from any map and first responders lack the information to make valuable decisions regarding relief efforts. You can help to map areas where humanitarian organisations are trying to meet the needs of vulnerable people.

Help those affected by Coronavirus

There are some options to volunteer during the crisis to support those in the local community. Head to CareerSPACE to find these roles; Type ‘Covid-19’ in the text search box and select ‘Voluntary’ in the salary box.

  • Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK
    Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK consists of volunteers supporting local community groups organising mutual aid throughout the Covid-19 outbreak in the UK. 
  • NHS Volunteer Responder
    A Government initiative, register online for healthcare professionals to refer people in need to local NHS First Volunteer Responders for help locally and remotely.



Volunteering opportunities

There are multiple ways to find volunteering opportunities and many different roles available.


You can find a number of ongoing and one-off volunteer roles on CareerSPACE.

These roles have all been checked by our Volunteering Coordinator and many of them have been sourced as they are particularly relevant to some of the courses Goldsmiths offers.

Many of them are located within Lewisham with charities we have built a good relationship with over the years.

Search has a great ‘advanced search’ option where you can specify the times of the week you are available, which skills you have, which skills you’d like to develop and which causes and sectors you are passionate about.

Please note that as these opportunities have not been checked by Goldsmiths’ Volunteering Coordinator, the responsibility will be on you to decide whether the volunteering role is a good role.

What to look out for

What to look out for

Volunteering opportunities should:

  • Be provided by a charity, not-for-profit organisation or Community Interest Company
  • Be a genuine volunteering position and not replace the work of paid staff members
  • Should have minimal and flexible hours available. A ‘volunteering’ full-time opportunity is not volunteering. These can sometimes be advertised as internships. Internships should always be paid. By definition, volunteering should be on your terms regarding time commitment
  • Be clear on what tasks the volunteer is expected to undertake – ideally a description of the role should be available.
  • Have details of any expenses the organisation will cover on behalf of the volunteer

Application Process

Applications for volunteering roles vary between organisations.

It is common, especially for larger charities, to apply for a volunteering role much as you would for a job role. The application process might involve an application form or a CV and covering letter followed by an interview.

Organisations who work with children or vulnerable adults need to screen applicants thoroughly. A DBS check will be needed if you will be working unsupervised with the children or vulnerable adults. Some organisations will pay for this, but in some cases you will need to cover the charges for this yourself.