How can I find a volunteering opportunity?
We've got lots of volunteering opportunities for you to choose from. You can start searching online right now.
How can I apply to become a PDSA volunteer?
Once you have found an opportunity you like, you can apply quickly and easily online by completing the application form linked to the opportunity you are interested in.
Once I have applied, how long is it until I can start volunteering?
Once you have applied, we will contact you with the next steps as quickly as we can and keep you updated throughout the application and selection process.
If you are selected, we will want to get you started as quickly as possible but this will depend entirely on the role and what checks we need to do beforehand. If the role requires a criminal records check, (we will flag this in details about the opportunity) the process can take significantly longer.
What does a PDSA charity shop volunteer do?
There are all sorts of things you could get involved with in our shops. From, window dressing, working behind the till, sorting donations to reaching out to communities for donations - there are so many options.
What experience do I need?
No experience needed. When you apply, the manager will ask you to come in for an informal chat, just a chance to get an idea of what you would like to do in the shop. From there you will be invited to a taster session where you can meet the rest of the volunteer team and get involved with whatever area of the shop takes your interest. Volunteering at PDSA is the perfect way to gain new skills, whether you are looking to improve your CV, take on a new challenge or just have fun!
Can I volunteer with a friend?
Of course! Just let the manager know when you sign up that you and your friend want to volunteer together and they can make sure you get to work together. However, if you do not have anyone to bring with you, with our diverse and friendly shop teams you are bound to find someone like-minded and find new friends in store.
What age do I have to be to volunteer?
We accept volunteers from the age of 14 but all under 18 year olds must have the consent of a parent or guardian. For more information check with your local shop manager.
Can PDSA support my visa application to volunteer here in the UK?
No, we are not able to support individuals with visa applications.
I am already in the UK and have a UK visa/work permit. Can I volunteer for PDSA?
If you are from the European Union (not including Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia) or European Economic Area, you should be able to volunteer with us.
If you are from a country outside the European Union, our advice is always to contact the UK Border Agency to check your visa conditions before applying for any volunteer role.
It is your responsibility to check that you are not breaching the terms of your visa.
Do you provide training?
All volunteers receive an induction when joining PDSA. All volunteers receive comprehensive free training, which is high quality and well respected. This training may consist of working through study packs, either individually or as a group, face to face courses and observing other volunteers and staff in their roles.
What will I get out of volunteering with PDSA?
All our volunteers get something different from their volunteering experience. Some of the most common benefits reported are:
- Making a positive difference to peoples and pets lives
- Getting invaluable work experience
- Developing new skills such as communication, problem solving, analytical skills, IT etc.
- Using existing skills and knowledge in a new environment
- Improving self-esteem, confidence and wellbeing
- Getting to know the community better
- Meeting new people from a range of backgrounds
- Making friends
- Feeling valued and part of a team
- Making a positive contribution to the community
- Changing the way things work for the better.
Have a look through our case studies to hear from our volunteers and what they get out of it.
How much time do I need to give?
There is no overall minimum time requirement to volunteer with PDSA. The local shop/hospital/office or event that you apply to will give you more information about what kind of time commitment they are looking for for each role. You should discuss the time you have available and your interests and skills, to explore what possible roles would be suitable, both to fit in with you, and the local PDSA needs.
Can I volunteer if I have a criminal record?
PDSA have a policy in place to ensure that ex-offenders are treated fairly. Having a criminal record is not, in itself, a barrier to volunteering. We consider each offence individually, looking at issues like risk to the client, how long ago it took place, the circumstances and whether they are relevant to the volunteer role. Anyone with a caution or conviction for a sexual offences, violent crime, arson, cruelty to animals or drug offences are considered unsuitable to volunteer.
Will volunteering affect my benefits?
If you are in receipt of benefits, including means-tested benefits, you are fully entitled to volunteer for as many hours as you wish, as long as you continue to keep to the rules or conditions for getting that benefit.
For example, if you are in receipt of Jobseekers' Allowance, you are fully entitled to volunteer as long as you meet the conditions of your claim (e.g. remain available for and actively seeking a full time paid job etc.) Or if you are receiving Carers' Allowance, you need to continue to provide at least 35 hours a week of care to the person who is receiving the disability benefit. For Jobseekers' Allowance, Carers' Allowance and Income Support, you should inform the Jobcentre Plus office that you are volunteering.
For Employment Support Allowance (ESA), Incapacity Benefit (IB) and Universal Credit claims, you are fully entitled to volunteer and similarly should inform the Jobcentre Plus office of any volunteering you do.
If you are in receipt of disability benefits such as ESA, IB or Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) you should take care that your volunteering activity does not appear to conflict with your condition.
You do not need to inform Jobcentre Plus if you are volunteering if you are in receipt of DLA or PIP, unless your care/mobility needs have changed.
There is no need to inform HMRC of any volunteering if you're in receipt of Working Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit.
If you're in receipt of Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Reduction you should inform your local authority that you are volunteering.
You should only receive actual out-of-pocket expenses (these are expenses that you might incur in order to volunteer, e.g. travel to where you volunteer).
PDSA can help you by providing a standard letter confirming that the role is a volunteer one, the number of hours you are volunteering, that these hours are unpaid and that you are only receiving actual out-of-pocket expenses.
For more information about things to consider when taking up volunteering see this helpful NCVO guidance
If you have any other questions around this, you could discuss this with your PDSA contact. Further information is available on the Gov.uk website
- How can I find a volunteering opportunity?