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Volunteering for Leeds Mind

Your questions answered

Why do people volunteer at Leeds Mind?

People volunteer with Leeds Mind for many different reasons including:

  • As part of their own recovery from mental health difficulties
  • To gain experience and learn new skills
  • To offer support to people who are experiencing mental health difficulties

These reasons often overlap.  It is common, for example, for people who have experienced mental health difficulties themselves to choose to offer support to others.

What opportunities are available?

We have a large range of volunteering opportunities, not all of which are directly related to mental health. Opportunities include:

  • Administrative work
  • Befriending
  • Gardening Group
  • Counselling
  • Group work
  • Being a member of our Board of Trustees

All of our current opportunities are advertised on the Leeds Mind website.

What support will I receive as a volunteer?

It’s very important that all our volunteers are properly supported whilst volunteering with us.  Leeds Mind will provide:

  • A full induction into Leeds Mind and a service specific induction Any necessary information and equipment
  • Mandatory training and any other specific training you need to carry out your role
  • Regular one-to-one meetings with your volunteer supervisor

Why does Leeds Mind want volunteers?

There are several reasons, including:

  • It’s a way of involving people who use our services in meaningful activity, an important part of their recovery
  • We give positive experience and training to people considering a career in mental health work
  • It helps us keep in touch with local communities, helping to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health

Does Leeds Mind have a volunteer policy?

We do have a volunteer policy.  It shows how we have thought through the involvement of volunteers at Leeds Mind and is a sign of our commitment to using volunteers effectively in our work.  It covers the following topics:

  • Roles
  • Induction
  • Training
  • Health and safety
  • Support
  • Supervision
  • Expenses

I would like to volunteer but I am not confident, what should I do?

It is normal not to feel confident when we try something new.  We will do our best to support you to feel able to get involved in a suitable role.  You could have a look at a role description and person specification and then get in touch with us for a chat about it, even if you are not sure. There will be no obligation to get involved if you decide that it is not right for you. We would also do our best, through support and training, to help you grow in confidence once you start volunteering.

Is there any cost involved in being a volunteer?

No.  Nobody should ever be ‘out of pocket’ because of volunteering. You will be reimbursed money you have to spend in order to do voluntary work with Leeds Mind.  This includes:

  • Cost of travel between home and volunteering role
  • Cost of any travel within volunteering
  • Cost of a meal if volunteering for a certain number of hours in the day
  • Cost of mandatory training

Will volunteering affect my benefits?

You can do voluntary work, if you are on benefits, as long as you still meet the conditions for receiving that benefit.  You should tell your advisor that you are doing voluntary work, but there is no limit to how much you can do.  Doing voluntary work shows a commitment to your own recovery and/or to gaining experience and skills which may help you get paid work, and government agencies should support this.  If you are in any doubt about doing voluntary work while on benefits you should get detailed advice from a Citizen’s Advice Bureau.

How can volunteering with Leeds Mind help prepare me for a career in mental health?

Leeds Mind is a long established and respected mental health organisation, which runs a number of services. We can offer volunteers good experience, training, support, and a reference. Volunteering is a way in to paid work for many people, as it demonstrates commitment and experience. Volunteers are also in a good position to apply for jobs that come up within Leeds Mind, as well as other organisations, both in the voluntary and statutory sectors.

Do I need to provide references?

We will ask you for two references, but we do not want this to get in the way of anyone doing voluntary work.  If this worries you, or you think it will be difficult for you to find two referees, please discuss it with us, and we will do our best to find a solution.

Will I have to be checked for a criminal record?

Because we work with vulnerable clients all our staff and volunteers must complete a Disclosure and Barring service (DBS) check.  The level of check is dependent on the volunteer role and is outlined on the role description. If you have a criminal record this does not necessarily mean that you will not be able to do voluntary work with us.  It may not affect what you do at all, or it may affect which project you work in, depending on what your conviction(s) is for.

What if I can only be available at certain times?

We understand that volunteers have other commitments. Some opportunities are by nature less flexible, but we will try our best to accommodate volunteers around their availability.

What if my health makes it difficult to do my volunteering regularly?

Volunteers are under no contractual obligation regarding regular attendance, but in some roles, reliability is very important. Please discuss this with us when finding a volunteer role, if you have any concerns. We are keen that volunteers build up their confidence and resilience, and we will help volunteers to do this.

What if the opportunity that interests me is not currently vacant?

We can’t always accommodate volunteers in the roles they want at the time they want but all our current opportunities are advertised on the Leeds Mind website, the volunteer centre and social media. If we can’t find a suitable volunteering opportunity for you within Leeds Mind, we can support you to look at other volunteering opportunities.

Do I have to be over 18 to volunteer with Leeds Mind?

Yes, for most of our roles you will need to be over the age of 18. This is due to the nature of the roles and the client group that we work with. Occasionally, we may advertise a role for a role where you do not need to be over 18 but this will be clearly stated on the role description.