Frequently asked questions about volunteering

Our frequently asked questions sections offers insight into what it’s like to volunteer with us, how you can apply and what happens after you do so.

What is volunteering?

What are the benefits of volunteering with Scottish Refugee Council?

I am an asylum seeker; can I volunteer with Scottish Refugee Council?

I am a refugee; can I volunteer with Scottish Refugee Council?

My asylum application has been refused; can I still apply to volunteer?

I am on state benefits; can I volunteer with Scottish Refugee Council?

Where does it take place and how much time do I have to commit?

How do I apply to volunteer with Scottish Refugee Council?

Which roles can I apply for?

What happens after I apply to volunteer with Scottish Refugee Council?

How do I find out more about volunteering?

What is volunteering?

Volunteering is giving some of your time, skills and experience, by choice, without expecting payment in return.  Volunteering covers a wide range of activities that benefit or support others in the community. By giving their time freely, our volunteers have increased our capacity to work with people seeking asylum and refugees. We will reimburse your travel and lunch expenses, so that you will not be out of pocket.

What are the benefits of volunteering with Scottish Refugee Council?

Volunteering with us is a worthwhile experience with many benefits such as:

  • Working with dynamic team members in interesting areas of work
  • Taking part in team meetings, staff conferences and members’ events
  • Training and other learning opportunities
  • Developing existing and new skills
  • Making a positive difference in someone’s life
  • Gaining references for future employment
  • Gaining a first-hand understanding of UK work culture
  • Reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses such as travel and lunch

I am an asylum seeker; can I volunteer with Scottish Refugee Council?

Yes. Your knowledge and experience are very welcome here. If you have applied for refugee status, you are legally allowed to volunteer.

The Home Office states that “it is Home Office policy to support asylum seekers volunteering for charities or public sector organisations” (Asylum Policy Instruction: Permission to Work Version 6.0 1 April 2014, p.7, Section 3.3.2 on volunteering) Read the Home Office policy on asylum seekers and volunteering.

My asylum application has been refused; can I still apply to volunteer?

Yes. People at all stages of the asylum process can volunteer, even if your asylum application has been refused by the Home Office, and your appeal against the decision was unsuccessful. The Home Office policy on asylum seekers and volunteering states that “volunteering can be undertaken at any stage of the asylum process.”

I am a refugee; can I volunteer with Scottish Refugee Council?

Yes. If you have Refugee Status, Humanitarian Protection, Exceptional or Indefinite Leave to Remain, you are allowed to do any type of work including volunteering.

I am on state benefits, can I volunteer?

Yes. You will gain skills and experience volunteering with us. Volunteering will not affect your state benefits, but you must still make yourself available for work, and inform the jobcentre of your volunteering activities. In fact volunteering activity (including travelling to and from volunteering and training events) can constitute 17.5 hours of the 35 hours a week of meaningful activity required by your Claimant Commitment at the Job Centre.

How do I volunteer with Scottish Refugee Council?

We advertise our volunteering positions on the 'volunteer roles' page of our website; you will be able to read the full role description and see the skills and experience required for each one.  Once you have found a role that is of interest, you should complete an online application by the specified closing date.  Please note that we do not accept CVs.

Where does it take place and how much time do I have to commit?

We ask that volunteers commit to two half-days or one full-day per week for at least a six month period.  The majority of our volunteering activity takes place in Glasgow between the hours of 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday to Friday. You will be able to select the days and hours that work best for you.

Which roles can I apply for?

When you complete your application form you will be able to specify which type of role(s) you are interested in.  On the recruitment day at our office, you will be told more about the volunteering positions.

What happens after I apply to volunteer with Scottish Refugee Council?

Shortlisting
All submitted applications are reviewed by the teams who are  to determine who will be shortlisted. It is therefore important that you complete all sections of the application.

Volunteer recruitment and information session
If you are shortlisted, you will be invited to attend a volunteer recruitment afternoon, usually on a Thursday. The recruitment afternoon, takes place in our main office Scottish Refugee Council
6th Floor, Portland House, 17 Renfield Street, Glasgow, G2 5AH.

Staff from various teams lead the activities, which include working in small groups and an informal interview. This session is also an opportunity for you to meet with members of staff and find out more about volunteering with us.

Matching
After the volunteer recruitment session, successful candidates are matched to suitable volunteer roles. Please note that we normally have more applicants than roles available.  If you are not chosen for the role you applied for, please feel free to apply for our next round of volunteer recruitment.

Volunteer induction
Once you have been matched to a suitable role, we will invite you to attend a two-hour volunteer induction, and a full day training session on working with asylum seekers and refugees. Any team induction or training that may be organised by your respective teams will follow your induction and initial training.

Our volunteer development coordinators will tell you about your volunteer induction and training days as soon as possible, and your start days will be organised directly by your team leaders.

Disclosure Scotland
As you may be required to work with vulnerable people at Scottish Refugee Council, you will need to undergo a Disclosure Scotland check.  More details will be provided about the check at the volunteer induction session.

Contact us

For more information about volunteering email us or call 0141 248 9799.