What you should and shouldn't do when you volunteer, and when to stop volunteering.


When you find a group you want to volunteer for, make sure you find out:

  • who runs the group
  • what they're doing, where and why
  • their approach to health and safety, such as making sure they follow government and NHS guidance
  • how they'll keep vulnerable children and adults safe, such as whether they need a DBS check
  • who to speak to in an emergency or if you need help or advice

You should:

  • tell the organisers anything about yourself that could affect the volunteering work you can do, such as health issues
  • do your best to carry out the volunteering you say you'll do, if you can't keep an appointment, give the volunteer co-ordinator or the person you're visiting plenty of notice
  • follow the latest NHS safety guidelines for coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • tell your volunteer coordinator if you're worried about someone who you are helping or report it on our online safeguarding referral form

It's important not to:

  • say yes to more volunteer work than you can manage, you can always offer more support later
  • carry out volunteering activities that are illegal, dangerous or make you feel  uncomfortable
  • accept payment of any kind from someone you help while volunteering, if they'd like to they can make a donation to the organisation you're volunteering for or the Coronavirus 2020 Response Fund

When you should stop volunteering

Stop volunteering if:

  • you feel unwell, especially if you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • you're asked to by a volunteering lead
  • it's not safe to keep volunteering

You must tell the group if:

  • you decide to stop volunteering, so they know you're safe and can adjust their plans
  • you've stopped volunteering because you've had symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19)

Volunteer groups and organisations

Find volunteers

You can advertise for volunteers through the request a volunteer page on the Voscur website.

Can Do Bristol will match volunteers to volunteering opportunities on this page.

Guidance and support

The Voscur website has:

Food safety

If your group or organisation prepares or delivers meals or food parcels, you may need to register as a food business.

Read guidance for:

The Bristol Food Network website has guidance and resources for volunteer groups and community organisations that focus on or work with food.