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Frequently Asked Questions

Have a read of some of the questions that we're frequently asked!

If you have any further queries, please don't hesitate to email us at su.volunteer@qub.ac.uk

  • Volunteering

    Did you know that you are a volunteer if you are any of the following within Queen’s?

    • Club/Society Committee member
    • Voluntary or Charitable Club/Society Member
    • Peer Mentor
    • International Buddy
    • Student Rep
    • Part-time Officer for the Students’ Union
    • Homework Clubs volunteer
    • Handy Helper
    • Student Councillor
    • Residential Assistant
    • Green Impact Project Assistant / Auditor
    • Helping out in a chaplaincy
    • Active member of RAG


    How do I get certificates to recognise my volunteering?

    You can achieve 50, 100 and 200 hour awards through Prestige Volunteers. To register and receive instructions, just email su.volunteer@qub.ac.uk telling us your name, student number and QUB email address and we’ll get back to with all the necessary information.

    Your volunteering hours are the total of your time spent volunteering including, preparing for your voluntary role e.g. research from home, training to undertake your role and travelling to/from your role.


    How do I find a volunteering opportunity?

    You can browse the latest local and remote opportunities on our website.

    Or you can tell us what you are specifically looking for by completing this form. We will make some suitable suggestions and should you wish to proceed we will link you in with your chosen organisation. It’s ok if you’re not quite sure what you’d like to do, just tell us that and we will show you a range of opportunities.

    You can also search for volunteering opportunities on MyFuture:

    • Log in to MyFuture
    • Select ‘Jobs’ from the top panel and click on 'Search Jobs' from the drop-down menu
    • Refine your search by clicking ‘Advanced search’ and under the ‘Position type’ drop down box click ‘Voluntary’
    • Select ‘Search’ and find your perfect volunteering role!

    You can sign up to our newsletter so you can keep up to date on all the latest volunteering opportunities available.

    I want to volunteer but I don’t have a lot of time.

    Sounds like Handy Helpers could be right up your street. A variety of one-off volunteering initiatives to help the community and you just attend the sessions that suit you. Register and find out more here! Oh, and did we mention you can achieve Degree Plus / Graduate Plus / Researcher Plus by taking part?

    Also, you may want to browse through our virtual volunteering opportunities, which also provide more flexibility than in-person volunteer roles.


    How do I achieve Degree Plus/Graduate Plus/Researcher Plus through my volunteering?

    Prestige Volunteers: Provider Verified (Formerly Route A): Achieve 200 hours of volunteering (having registered for your Prestige Volunteers award) during your studies and submit a 500 word essay on how volunteering has impacted your personal and professional development to su.volunteer@qub.ac.uk by 1 April or 1 November on your year of graduation.  Please register for Prestige Volunteers by contacting us on su.volunteer@qub.ac.uk.

    Combined Experience (Formerly Route B): Participate in at least two extra-curricular activities (volunteering can be one of these) during your studies. Complete the Combined Experience application form, outlining your activities and the skills you have gained. Examples of eligible activities and the application form can be found here.


    I sit on the committee of a club or society, is there any support available on managing volunteers?

    Absolutely! We can give you lots of pointers and tips. Drop us an email on su.volunteer@qub.ac.uk to arrange a chat.


    I want to set up a volunteering initiative, what do I need to do?

    We are always happy to hear from students who have voluntary/charitable ideas and can provide plenty of information to get you started.  We can also link you in with relevant contacts in our network of over 500 not-for -profit organisations for further specialised guidance/advice. Drop us an email on su.volunteer@qub.ac.uk to arrange a chat.

    Through our Jump IN events/sessions, we ensure you can build the networks, skills and confidence you need to progress in your voluntary role and enhance your employability skills.We provide sessions around leadership, volunteer management, fundraising, influencing, communication, conflict resolution and much, much more. Sign up so you hear first when training sessions, volunteering fairs, and webinars are announced!  You can sign up at any stage throughout the academic year.

     

    What do you use my personal data for?

    You can view our privacy statement here.


    I signed up the Volunteer SU E-Newsletter but I haven’t received it.

    This is a monthly newsletter, if you signed up more than a month ago please let us know on su.volunteer@qub.ac.uk and we will double check the sign-up was processed.

    If you are using MS Outlook, please make sure you check your ‘Other’ inbox by clicking on the ‘Other’ tab at the top left corner of the main navigation menu. To add Volunteer SU newsletter to your ‘Focused’ inbox, right-click on any Volunteer SU newsletter in your inbox, then select ‘Move’ - ‘Focused inbox’. This way any future newsletters from Volunteer SU will automatically appear in your main inbox.


    I no longer want to receive the Volunteer SU E-Newsletter.

    Just drop us an email on su.volunteer@qub.ac.uk and we will remove your email address from our mailing list.


    I volunteer in a leadership role with significant responsibility. Is there any way I can further develop my skills?

    You sure can! Jump IN is an all-encompassing programme, which supports you in every stage of your volunteering journey. Whether you are a seasoned volunteer, or looking for your first role, Jump IN is there for you.

    From volunteering fairs for those just starting out or looking for something new to training sessions and expert Q&As for those more experienced in volunteering, we ensure you can build the networks, skills and confidence you need to progress in your voluntary role and enhance your employability skills.

    We provide sessions around leadership, volunteer management, fundraising, influencing, communication, conflict resolution and much, much more.

    Alternatively, if you have got a charitable or voluntary idea of your own, we can provide you with the guidance you need to set up and structure your project for maximum impact. We can also introduce you to key contacts that can help your project succeed.

     

    I am on a Tier 4 visa. Can I still volunteer? 

    Students who are a Non-EU/EEA/Swiss national must ensure that they are not working or completing voluntary work more than what their visa permits. For example, students who are studying at degree level or above on a Tier 4 Student visa cannot work more than 20 hours per week during term time (term time can vary depending on the level of study or research).  Queen’s University applies this term time restriction throughout the academic year – any variation in policy will require the Tier 4 student to obtain written permission from International Student Support.

    There is a difference between unpaid employment (voluntary work) and volunteering, and students should check with the organisation which offers them a volunteering opportunity, whether it can be regarded as unpaid employment. This is because time spent doing unpaid employment counts towards a students’ maximum number of hours of work a week.  Students can volunteer only, providing it meets the definition outlined on pg.13 here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/810901/short-term-students-v10.0-ext.pdf

    A breach of working conditions or work prohibition is treated very seriously by the Home Office and can result in a students’ visa being curtailed (cut short) and future applications being declined. 

    If in doubt, students can contact International Student Support at iss@qub.ac.uk and OnCampus Jobs at oncampusjobs@qub.ac.uk for advice.

    What should I expect from an organisation when I volunteer with them?

    • Information about your role i.e. what tasks are you expected to undertake
    • An induction to include a tour of the premises, Health and Safety information and essential/relevant policy/procedure information
    • Specific training and regular support / supervision if you are undertaking a specialist role e.g. mentoring
    • A named supervisor and their contact details who you can contact for support etc. 
    • Recognition/appreciation
    • Reimbursement of out of pocket expenses where the organisation has a budget to do so
    • The necessary resources and materials to carry out your role
    • Being kept up to date with changes which affect your role
    • The organisation should have appropriate insurance in place to involve volunteers
    • A reference if you are a regular volunteer
    • Opportunities to input into the development of the volunteering role
  • Homework Clubs

    How do I apply?

    You can find out more information here

    When do applications open/close?

    Applications open on 4 December 2023 and close at 12 noon on Tuesday 16 January 2024. Applications will re-open again next academic year (2024/25) at the beginning of Semester 1. 

    I would like to become a volunteer with Homework Clubs, however can’t attend the Induction Training, can I still apply?

    Homework Clubs Induction Training is mandatory and if you cannot attend Semester 2 Training (24 January 2024, 1.45-5pm), unfortunately we would be unable to match you to a Homework Club. Don’t worry though, as there will be another chance to apply and attend Induction Training at the beginning of each Semester. 

    What happens if I am late in joining the Homework Clubs Induction Training?

    We do understand that some students may have class/other commitments which may result in them being late to join the Induction Training. In such circumstances, we ask that students contact us to let us know on su.homeworkclubs@qub.ac.uk. However students must attend Induction no later than 15 minutes after the start of training.

    I volunteered with Homework Clubs last Semester and want to return to the same club, do I have to reapply and attend training?

    You are not required to reapply or attend induction training again, although we would recommend that you join for an update, if you're available.

    Please do let us know on su.homeworkclubs@qub.ac.uk if you are planning to return to the club you volunteered with last Semester, so that we can keep you up to date on recognition and training opportunities over the next academic year.  

    I volunteered with Homework Clubs last year, can I join a different club this semester?

    You need to complete a new application so we can match you to a club which suits your availability and location. You may also be asked to undertake an Access NI (criminal record) check by your newly allocated club. You do not have to attend full induction training again (although we would recommend that you join for an update, if available). We would however ask that you do attend the last part of the training to meet your new club coordinator and hear about your new club

    I am currently volunteering with Homework Clubs but my club times no longer suit me, what can I do?

    If your club holds homework sessions on other days during the week, you could ask your coordinator if it’s possible to switch. If this is not an option, please contact us on su.homeworkclubs@qub.ac.uk to discuss other options.

    How do I achieve Homework Clubs: Future Ready Award?

    To achieve Homework Clubs: Future Ready Award, volunteers must complete the following:

    • Attend the Homework Clubs Induction Training organised by SU Volunteer
    • Volunteer at a minimum of 5 sessions with your allocated Homework Club
    • Participate in at least 2 specialised workshops
    • Complete and submit a record book, which includes a 500 word reflective journal about your experience as a Homework Clubs volunteer, as well as a log of your hours spent on Homework Clubs volunteering.

    The Homework Clubs team will contact you via your Queen’s email address to circulate the Future Ready Award application, let you know when the specialised workshops are being held, and confirm the submission date for completed application.

    I have a class on the day of a specialised workshop, can I come late?

    If you wish to achieve Homework Clubs: Future Ready Award, we ask that you attend the whole session, so please register for 2 workshops which you are available for. If you have class/other commitments which may result in late attendance, please contact us on su.homeworkclubs@qub.ac.uk as we do allow a 15-minute (maximum) grace period at the start or end of the session.

    I could only attend one specialised workshop as I had class. I have had separate training in my own club, can I substitute this for attendance in the workshop?

    Unfortunately not, in order to achieve Future Ready Award, you must attend two workshops organised by SU Volunteer.

    If my allocated club asks me to nominate two referees, who should I nominate?

    The referees you nominate can be personal and/or professional and should know you well enough to be able to comment on your suitability to volunteer in this role e.g. past teacher, friend, employer, tutor, studies advisor, lecturer, colleague, housemate, neighbour, a peer from a club or society, a sports teammate or supervisor from a volunteering role. Remember to ask if they are happy to give you a reference before nominating them. Family members/relatives generally cannot be nominated as referees.

    If my allocated club requires an Access NI check, what types of Identification will I need to produce?

    As this role involves activity with children and young people, your allocated Homework Club may ask you to complete an Access NI (criminal record) check. As part of this process, you will be asked to show original identification (see page 2 to view acceptable ID) & copies.

    Three documents must be provided in the name of the applicant; one from Group 1 and a further two from any Group. At least one document must show the applicant’s current address.

    (If this is not possible, then four documents from Group 2a and 2b should be produced, one of which being a birth certificate issued after the time of birth. One document must show the applicant’s current address).

    If you are having difficulty finding relevant identification, please show originals & copies of what you feel best meets the list and your allocated club coordinator will provide further guidance.

    I have already completed an Access NI check with a different organisation, do I have to repeat the process?

    Yes, if your allocated club requires an Access NI check, you must complete it again.

  • Handy Helpers

    I am interested in Handy Helpers, but I am unable to attend all activities. Can I still be part of the initiative?

    Of course, that’s the beauty of Handy Helpers – you only attend the activities that suit your availability and interests.


    I missed an activity. Am I allowed to come to the next one?

    Absolutely! You can come to as many or as few activities you want to. Please note: If you are aiming to achieve Provider Verified (Formerly Route A) Degree Plus/Graduate Plus/Researcher Plus through Handy Helpers, you need to attend at least 7 Handy Helpers activities.


    What does being a Handy Helper entail?

    As a Handy Helper, you will have the opportunity to take part in a wide range of one-off volunteering activities, including anything from planting flowers in a community garden to making Valentine’s cards for charity shops to sell, to decorating a cats’ shelter. This will allow you to get a taste of different volunteering roles without making any long-term commitment. You will also have access to a number of relevant training sessions, which will help you further develop the skills you have gained through your volunteering as a Handy Helper.


    How do I achieve Degree Plus/Graduate Plus/Researcher Plus through Handy Helpers?

    Click here for full information on achieving Degree Plus/Graduate Plus/Researcher Plus through Handy Helpers.


    How does the Loyalty card work and what rewards do I get?

    At the first Handy Helpers event you attend, you will be given your very own loyalty card which will be stamped at every Handy Helpers activity in which you participate. At 3, 5 and 10 stamps you will be given a small reward for being an awesome volunteer. We don’t want to give away too much, but some of the rewards include vouchers, hoodies and travel mugs. But the best reward of all is that you will be making a positive, tangible difference in your local community


    I have lost my loyalty card. Can I still get a reward?

    No need to panic - we keep attendance records of all Handy Helpers activities. Please contact su.handyhelpers@qub.ac.uk as soon as you realise your card is missing. If you think you are due for reward, please bear with us as we check back through your records to verify the number of activities you have attended.


    Do I need to prepare anything before I attend a Handy Helpers activity?

    Prior to the activity, you will be sent a detailed itinerary, which will give you all the necessary information, including descriptions of the tasks you will be required to do during the activity. Any necessary equipment will be provided for you. However, it is your responsibility to ensure that you wear suitable and comfortable clothing/shoe wear for the weather conditions and tasks involved.


    How do I find out about current Handy Helpers opportunities?

    After you register as a Handy Helper you will start receiving our exclusive bi-monthly newsletter (different from the Volunteer SU newsletter) which will keep you informed about upcoming Handy Helpers volunteering activities and training sessions. All opportunities are also listed on our website, but you will only be able to register through the newsletter. If you have registered but not received our newsletter yet, make sure you let us know on su.handyhelpers@qub.ac.uk.


    When does registration open?

    Registration is on-going throughout the academic year (September-June), so you are welcome to join anytime. However, if you want to achieve Degree Plus/Graduate Plus/Researcher Plus through Handy Helpers, it is advisable to register early to allow yourself enough time to complete the required number of volunteering activities.


    Where are Handy Helpers activities held?

    Handy Helpers activities are held at different locations, many within walking distance from the main Queen’s campus. If a certain activity requires transport, it will be provided for you free of charge. When you register for an activity, you will receive full information about the location and transportation arrangements well in advance.


    How long in advance do I need to register for an activity?

    We aim to inform Handy Helpers about upcoming opportunities at least 2 weeks in advance, so you are welcome to join as soon as registration is open. Please be aware that the number of Handy Helpers participants for each activity is capped, depending on the nature of the tasks involved and health and safety regulations. The short answer is – if the Eventbrite for the activity is open, then you can still register. If the Eventbrite is closed, all spaces have been booked. If registration for an activity is closed, but you are still keen to participate, you can join the Eventbrite Waitlist or contact su.handyhelpers@qub.ac.uk and we can inform you if a space becomes available.

  • Jump IN

    I am interested in Jump IN, but I am unable to attend all activities. Can I still be part of the initiative?

    Yes!  Jump IN is totally flexible.  You just attend the events/sessions that you are interested in.


    What is Jump IN?

    Jump IN is an all-encompassing programme, which supports you in every stage of your volunteering journey. Whether you are a seasoned volunteer, or looking for your first role, Jump IN is there for you.

    From volunteering fairs for those just starting out or looking for something new to training sessions and expert Q&As for those more experienced in volunteering, we ensure you can build the networks, skills and confidence you need to progress in your voluntary role and enhance your employability skills.

    We provide sessions around leadership, volunteer management, fundraising, influencing, communication, conflict resolution and much, much more.

    Alternatively, if you have got a charitable or voluntary idea of your own, we can provide you with the guidance you need to set up and structure your project for maximum impact. We can also introduce you to key contacts that can help your project succeed.


    How can I find out about upcoming Jump IN events/sessions?

    Sign up so you hear first when training sessions, volunteering fairs, and webinars are announced!  You can sign up at any stage throughout the academic year.

    OR

    Keep an eye on the 'UPCOMING EVENTS/TRAINING' at the bottom of our Jump IN webpage. 


    Where are Jump IN activities held?

    It depends on the event or session but the majority of Jump IN activities will be held in different rooms on campus or may be delivered virtually.


    How long in advance do I need to register for an activity?

    We close the Eventbrite the day before the activity is occuring.  So you need to register at least 24 hours in advance.  Depending on the event or session, the number of participants may need to be capped.  If the Eventbrite for the activity is open, then you can still register. If the Eventbrite is closed, all spaces have been booked. If registration for an activity is closed, but you are still keen to participate, you can join the Eventbrite Waitlist or contact su.volunteer@qub.ac.uk and we can inform you if a space becomes available.

     

    I want to set up a volunteering or charitable initiative, can i get help through Jump IN?

    We are always happy to hear from students who have voluntary/charitable ideas and can provide plenty of information to get you started.  We can also link you in with relevant contacts in our network of over 500 not-for -profit organisations for further specialised guidance/advice. Drop us an email on su.volunteer@qub.ac.uk to arrange a chat.

    Through our Jump IN events/sessions, we ensure you can build the networks, skills and confidence you need to progress in your voluntary role and enhance your employability skills.We provide sessions around leadership, volunteer management, fundraising, influencing, communication, conflict resolution and much, much more. Sign up so you hear first when training sessions, volunteering fairs, and webinars are announced!  You can sign up at any stage throughout the academic year.

     

    I am encountering a particular challenge around my volunteering journey, can Jump IN help?

    Yes! Please email su.volunteer@qub.ac.uk for a chat.  We are more than happy to provide advice/guidance around any volunteering-related topics.