Frequently asked questions about volunteering at Marie Curie

We answer some of the common questions that you may have about volunteering for Marie Curie.

If you can't find the answer you are looking for then please contact the Volunteering team on 0800 304 7032 or volunteering@mariecurie.org.uk

People volunteer with Marie Curie for many different reasons. Some of our volunteers tell us they joined us to meet new people; others wanted to gain skills or experience. Many of our volunteers want to support their local communities, or they have a personal connection to Marie Curie and want to give something back. Whatever your reason we would love for you to join us!

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For most of our volunteer roles you don’t need any specific skills or experience, just enthusiasm to get involved and a willingness to support people living with a terminal illness. If specific skills, experience or qualifications are needed (e.g. volunteer Complementary Therapy or Driver roles) we will provide details on the role description.

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Generally, the minimum age for volunteering at Marie Curie is 14 but that does vary from role to role. Other roles may not be suitable for people under 16 or 18 depending on the activities involved. All our role descriptions will say what the minimum age is, so you’ll know before applying. There’s no maximum age limit for volunteering at Marie Curie.

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Whether you can donate two hours a week or two hours a year there is a role for you! Some roles include regular volunteering, while others can be one-off for a specific period of time. We have a range of opportunities across the country during daytimes, evenings and weekends – there’s something for everyone!

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You can search most of our volunteer roles here. You can search by location or role category to find a role you are interested in. If you would like to volunteer in one of our shops, search for a shop near you and get in touch with them. You can also get in touch with us at volunteering@mariecurie.org.uk or 0800 304 7032 to discuss what you are interested in. 

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Yes, we will ask you to provide details of two referees. Referees can be friends, colleagues or neighbours but not a family member, Marie Curie staff or another Marie Curie volunteer. They must be at least 18 years old and should have known you for at least six months. Each referee should be willing to provide us with a reference and know that we will be contacting them.

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Yes! All roles require an element of training, including an induction to get you settled into your role. The amount of training you’ll need depends on the role, for example if you’ll be volunteering directly with individuals and families living with a terminal illness in one of our hospices or in the community, the training can take a bit longer to complete.

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We believe you should never be out of pocket if you volunteer with us, so we'll pay for all of your reasonable out-of-pocket expenses, including travel. If you volunteer for four hours or more, there’s a small lunch allowance. However, we cannot pay childcare expenses.

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It depends on the role. We are required to carry out criminal records checks for some roles where you’ll be volunteering with patients. In Scotland this is done through the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme. In Northern Ireland it’s done through Access NI. England and Wales use the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). If we need to carry out a criminal records check, we'll provide you with full information and guidance.

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A criminal conviction doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t volunteer with us. We do not ask about any spent or unspent convictions for most of our volunteer roles - only those where a criminal records check is required. If you have a criminal record and would like to volunteer in a role where a criminal records check is required, we will need to speak to you about this and a decision will be made on a case-by-case basis.

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Some of the volunteer roles at our hospices involve working with patients, while Marie Curie Helpers and Companions visit individuals and families in their own homes or hospital. Use our search facility to see if there are any of these roles in your area.

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Everyone is different and the reality of being in an environment supporting individuals living with a terminal illness, whether in someone’s home or a hospice after you’ve been bereaved may be different to what you imagine. This is something to consider before you apply and you can discuss this with the local manager. There are a range of roles available at Marie Curie and you might want to think about volunteering in a different environment initially, for example volunteering in a fundraising group or one of our charity shops.

 

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Yes! We run a 12 week volunteer Intern programme where there are a range of opportunities in a variety of departments across the charity. Each role is designed to focus on a specific project and previous roles have included those in Policy and Public Affairs, Marketing, Volunteering, Community Fundraising and Corporate Partnerships. You might be involved in organising an event, conducting research, developing part of a campaign or supporting a team to deliver a specific project. If you would like to register your interest for our next intake, e-mail volunteering@mariecurie.org.uk.

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Once you’ve been volunteering with us for three months, we’d be happy to provide you with a character reference. And we’ll even provide you with a reference for up to three years after you leave.

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Many people start volunteering when they are unemployed as a way to learn new skills and gain experience to help them find a job. You can volunteer while receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance as long as you are looking for work. We do understand that you may need to attend training or interviews and will be flexible around this. 

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Yes, if you are applying for asylum you can volunteer at Marie Curie. 

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Yes, everyone who has a refugee status can volunteer at Marie Curie.

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Yes, there will definitely be a role for you with us. We would like to hear from anyone interested in volunteering with Marie Curie, including if you are living with a disability. 

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