Make a difference by volunteering

There are a range of ways that people can volunteer with Abbeyfield. We welcome people from all backgrounds, whatever time they have to give, and we value the skills and experience that volunteers bring to our organisation. When you volunteer with Abbeyfield you know that you are impacting directly on the lives of older people.

Have you ever thought about doing something completely different? Perhaps you’d like to give back to your community, learn a new skill, improve your CV, or simply make some new friends?

If so, volunteering with Abbeyfield could make a real difference to your life — and to the lives of older people.

Our volunteers bring an incredible range of skills and experience to Abbeyfield, which is a real bonus for our residents. There are plenty of volunteering opportunities to choose from: perhaps you could stop by for a chat, provide transport for supermarket trips, or help out with classes or activities. If you’re a technology whizz, you could show an older person how to get online or use email or Skype. If you have more time to spare, you could even lend a hand with fundraising projects or social events.

Who can volunteer?

We welcome volunteers of all ages and from all walks of life. It doesn’t matter whether you can volunteer on a regular basis, or just from time to time — we have a range of volunteering opportunities that can fit around your busy life.

We encourage young volunteers but, if you’re under 14, we ask that you volunteer with an adult. If you are over 14, but under 18, we’ll ask your parents to give their consent.

Meet our volunteers

"Having the chance to help an elderly person to understand how to use an iPad or how to surf the web, has taught me patience and the ability to connect. I would definitely say to other young people to volunteer, it’s a brilliant experience. It’s worthwhile for you and for the individual that you’re paired with.”

Shoyaine is just one of our fantastic volunteers. See how other volunteers share their time and skills.   

Ways to give your time

There are plenty of volunteering opportunities to choose from. The below will help you think about the type of role you would like to do.

Give your time by making time

  • Join us for a cup of tea and become a befriender - Are you a people person who likes to chat? Loneliness is an issue that affects many older people, so popping in for regular weekly visits can make a big difference to our residents’ lives.
  • Offer a lift to one of our residents - If you have your own car, you could help our residents retain their independence simply by driving them to medical appointments, community events, or simply taking them to the shops.
  • Bring your creativity and fun to one of our homes - Do you have a skill that you’d like to share? It could be singing, dancing, gardening or arts and crafts — we always need volunteers to create and run activities.
  • Click, Swipe and Skype to help our residents get digitally savvy - Could you show an older person how to use Facebook, Skype with their family or send a tweet? We’re looking for volunteers who can share their technology skills with our residents.

Give your time to support our homes to run

  • Use your business head for a charitable cause - Two thirds of our homes are independent charitable organisations and rely on the skills and knowledge of Trustees to run. We’re always looking for talented local people to join our Boards.
  • Flex your green fingers in one of our gardens - Do you have green fingers? If so, you could help to maintain the garden at one of our houses, so that our residents can enjoy their time outdoors.
  • Share your office skills - If you have some secretarial experience, you could help behind the scenes with vital administrative tasks in the Abbeyfield office.
  • Use your outgoing personality to rally a team of volunteers - Could you help us to recruit more volunteers, and coordinate our volunteer rotas? You would also deal with enquiries and applications, and show our new volunteers the ropes.

Give your time telling others about us

  • Be an Abbeyfield Ambassador in your local community - You could help to raise awareness of Abbeyfield in your community simply by attending local events and spreading the word about the work that we do and the ways that people can support us.
  • Encourage others to fund us, so that we can do more - Do you prefer to work independently? If you can spare a few hours each week, we need help to plan and coordinate events to raise money and awareness.
  • Group volunteering - Working as part of a corporate team of a community group, you could help to repair, repaint or restore our homes and gardens — or even put on a social event for our residents.

Give your time from the comfort of your own sofa

  • Sew a dementia blanket - If face-to-face volunteering isn’t possible, you could help to make an activity blanket for one of the residents in our dementia homes. These are used to help residents remain focused and retain dexterity. Email volunteering@abbeyfield.com for your copy of our ‘how to sew a dementia blanket’ guide.
  • Donate - A small donation can make a big difference to our work. Text ASOC15 £3, £5 or £10 to 70070 to donate to Abbeyfield.

What’s expected of me?

What skills and experience do I need?

Many roles just require your time, energy and enthusiasm! Our volunteer role descriptions list desired skills or experience, but we know everyone is unique, so we’re always interested to hear about any other skills that you could bring to our homes.

What support and training will I be given?

You will receive a full induction, including any training and support that is necessary to help you feel confident in your volunteering role. Every volunteer is assigned a supervisor to provide ongoing help and support.

Can I claim expenses?

You should never be out of pocket when you volunteer with us. We reimburse volunteers for out of pocket expenses, for example, relevant travel costs.

Will I be interviewed?

You will be invited for an informal interview when you apply for a volunteer role. This informal interview is a two-way process, so don’t be concerned: it’s as much to find out if you are right for the role as we are right for you.

Do I need to supply references or undergo a DBS check?

Our first and foremost priority is safeguarding our residents. Most of our roles will ask you to supply two references and certain roles that work directly with vulnerable older people may require a DBS check. We will, of course, talk this through with you during the informal interview.

Will you provide me with a reference?

When you have given more than 12 hours of time to us, we will happily give you a reference to confirm your volunteering.

I still have questions about volunteering?

If you have any questions about volunteering for Abbeyfield please email us at volunteering@abbeyfield.com.

How do I get involved?

Volunteering opportunitiesSearch for volunteering opportunities in your area at do-it.org or contact your local house using the Abbeyfield house search function.