Frequently asked questions
Looking at a role you should pay close attention to:
- Location of volunteering opportunity: Where is the opportunity? Can you travel there easily?
- Minimum time commitment: Some opportunities need you to commit to more than 3 months. Try to be realistic when thinking about how long you can volunteer.
- Level of English required: Are you an international student or visitor to Mayo and want to practice your English? Look out for ‘Basic English’ in the role requirement.
- Screening details: This can be very different depending on the roles you are going for. Usually the Quick Start roles (festivals, Canal clean Ups, Fundraising) only have application forms and informal interviews, but if you are looking at roles where you will be working with children or vulnerable adults, the process will be more thorough and include Garda Vetting.
You can volunteer when you are in receipt of a state pension (either contributory or non-contributory).
You can also volunteer even if you are in receipt of social welfare entitlements. More information below and also on the Citizen Information website.
Those receiving Carer’s Allowance or Carer’s Benefit, can do a maximum of 15 hours per week voluntary work. Before you start volunteering, you must get permission from the Carer’s Allowance or Carer’s Benefit Section in the Department of Social Protection.
If you are currently receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance or Jobseeker’s Benefit and wish to volunteer, you should contact your local office of the Department of Social Protection. You should complete a VW1 application form, and your Deciding Officer will advise you on whether you may take up the volunteer opportunity in question without affecting your entitlement to your Jobseeker’s payment.
Please note that the requirement for those in receipt of JB/A or Covid PUP to complete a VW1 form has been lifted for the period of the Covid emergency provisions, however if your volunteering period is likely to extend past this, it is advisable that you complete and submit this form.
Those receiving Invalidity Pension cannot do more than 19.5 hours of voluntary work per week.
Those in receipt of Illness Benefit or Disability Allowance are not limited in the number of hours per week they can work unpaid as a volunteer.
Volunteering should not cost you anything, and we encourage organisations to reimburse expenses.
While many can offer travel and/or lunch expenses, that may not be possible for others, especially volunteer-led community projects.
It’s best to check with the organisation beforehand, but most volunteer roles would not require significant travel.
You will be required to undergo the Garda Vetting process if your volunteering is deemed relevant work.
All organisations that work with children and/or vulnerable adults are obliged by law to Garda vet all staff and volunteers before they engage in their activities.
However, Garda Vetting many not be required for once-off events or engagements, so check with the organisation beforehand if you are not sure.
Mayo Volunteer Centre helps organisations to access Garda vetting for volunteers – see additional information on our Garda Vetting FAQs page.
Sometimes you may like to take a break from volunteering or even take a longer holiday. This is absolutely fine, as long as you give the organisation enough notice. You can still take up a regular volunteering commitment and arrange it around your other plans.
In general, organisations are encouraged to be flexible with their volunteering arrangements, but it’s worth bearing in mind that if you have made a commitment to volunteer regularly, it’s helpful to let your organisation know well in advance so that they can plan.
As all application are processed manually, we ask that you do not apply for more than 3 roles at a time.