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NHFT: A Guide to the Volunteer Recruitment Process

NHFT: A Guide to the Volunteer Recruitment Process logo


If you have any questions about volunteering with the Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (NHFT), please contact their Volunteer Team ([email protected] / 0300 027 4121).

NHFT ask all volunteers to commit to regular volunteering of at least three hours a week due to the amount of training and setup required. If possible, volunteers should commit to at least six months of volunteering. NHFT only takes volunteers for short-term placements if there is a specific short-term role.

Stage 1: You Fill Out This Volunteer Application Form

Alternatively, you can ask for a hard-copy to be sent to you by post. On the form, you will need to provide some information about yourself and your interest in volunteering.

Stage 2: You Give the Contact Details of People Who Can Give a Reference

On your application form, you will need to give the contact details of two referees (if possible). Referees are people (not related to you) who have agreed to write a personal reference about your character. They might be a support worker, a teacher, a neighbour, a family friend, or a supervisor. They will only be contacted after a volunteer role is found for you.

Stage 3: You Meet for an Informal Chat

After your form is received, you will be contacted to set up a meeting. The meeting could be in person, a video meeting, or a phone call. This is not a formal interview. NHFT will explain more about what it's like to volunteer and chat with you about your interest in volunteering. They'll talk about what type of volunteer role might suit you, when you would like to volunteer, and your availability.

NHFT will try to identify a suitable role in this meeting. However, there may be some other options, which they will discuss. Then, they will send you information on the possible volunteer roles so that you can decide what you want to do.

Stage 4: You Fill Out a Health Questionnaire

Once NHFT has found a role for you, the Occupational Health Team will check that volunteering won't be bad for your health. They'll also check that the role is right for you based on your individual needs. They will note any reasonable adjustments (changes) to the role or environment that you may need. These will be recorded on your Occupational Health Passport so the people you work with know how to support you.

The more information you can provide with the health questionnaire, the better, i.e. vaccination history. The Occupational Health Team may ask to meet with you if they need more information to understand your needs. They can arrange for someone to support you with the process if you find it difficult.

Stage 5: You Complete a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Check

NHFT will need to do a criminal record check. They will arrange this; you do not need to pay for it. If your criminal record changes after this, you will need to tell them.

Volunteers can sign up for the free DBS update service, which NHFT encourages all volunteers to do. The service allows you to check for updates and may mean you can reuse your certificate to volunteer elsewhere. Please be aware that you have a limited time to do this from when your certificate is issued. You can sign up when you complete your DBS check or afterwards on the website.

NHFT do not ban anyone with a criminal record from volunteering. If anything appears on your DBS check, the Voluntary Services Manager will meet with you to discuss the circumstances. NHFT will then do a risk assessment to see if you need any restrictions or extra support.

If you are transgender and do not want to disclose your previously assigned gender or name, you can use the DBS's 'Sensitive Applications Route.' Please read Transgender Applications before completing your DBS form or contact the Sensitive Applications Team (0151 676 1452 / [email protected]).

Stage 6: You Do Any Training Needed for the Volunteer Role

You'll need to complete the Health Education England Volunteering Learning Programme. This is mandatory national training for NHS volunteers. Please visit e-Learning for Healthcare for further information. 

If you have already completed this training for another organisation (and it is still in date), you will not need to do it again. NHFT will ask to see your certificates or training log.

These are the modules all volunteers must complete as part of the Volunteering Learning Programme. Each is a short eLearning session with a multiple-choice test at the end. If you do not pass the first time, you can repeat the tests.

  • Roles and Responsibilities of a Volunteer
  • Data Security Awareness
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Equality, Diversity and Human Rights
  • Safeguarding Adults
  • Safeguarding Children
  • Health, Safety, and Infection Prevention and Control (COVID-19)
  • Fire Safety
  • Moving and Assisting 

Depending on your specific role, you may need to complete other training. Once you have a role, you will be given more information about how to access the training and which modules to complete. You can be supported to access and complete the training.

Stage 7: You Sign a Volunteer Agreement That Explains What NHFT Expects of You (and What You Can Expect From Them)

Once all checks and training are complete, you will sign your volunteering agreement. It will include information about your responsibilities and commitments as a volunteer. You will be given a copy of NHFT's Code of Conduct to accompany it. The agreement also includes information about how NHFT will work with you, including providing expenses. If possible, volunteers should commit to at least six months of volunteering. 

Once you are signed up, you will be given a welcome booklet. You will need to provide a photo for your ID badge, which you will be issued along with a volunteer uniform (a polo shirt).

Volunteer Drivers

Volunteer drivers must have fully comprehensive car insurance. They must also notify their insurer they are using the vehicle for volunteering purposes (this is usually free). Volunteer drivers claim expenses for mileage.

Volunteering While Claiming Benefits

You can usually volunteer if you are claiming benefits without risking losing them or being reassessed. However, if you are claiming JobSeekers Allowance or are a Jobseeker on Universal Credit, you will need to discuss it with your work coach. There may be limits on how much volunteering you can do.

Some volunteers might be claiming old-style benefits (such as Employment and Support Allowance or Job Seekers Allowance). If you are, you should complete a form to give the benefits office all the details of your volunteer role. Please contact your benefits office to find out which form to complete. If you're looking for paid work, you may agree with Jobcentre Plus to do some volunteering as part of your required activities to prepare for work.

If you are claiming Universal Credit, you need to tell your work coach; there is no form to fill in. Your volunteering can count for up to half the time you agree to spend looking for and preparing for work in your 'Claimant Commitment'.

It is important to tell your work coach if you are volunteering. If they find out you are doing something and did not report it, they may have to start an investigation. Your work coach can see your volunteering as a positive move and should support you with your plans.

Volunteering While Seeking Asylum

Asylum seekers and refugees in the UK can volunteer. You can volunteer during any stage of the asylum process so long as it does not stop you from attending interviews or other required events. You can take time off volunteering to attend anything you need to.

This guidance is taken from the UK Government website: "Asylum seekers can volunteer whilst their claim is considered without being granted permission to work. It is Home Office policy to support asylum seekers volunteering for charities or public sector organisations."

  • Brackley Area
  • Corby Area
  • Daventry Area
  • East Northants Area
  • Kettering Area
  • Northampton Area
  • Towcester Area
  • Wellingborough Area
  • North Northamptonshire
  • West Northamptonshire
  • Northamptonshire
Additional languages
Translation and/or Interpreting Available on Request
Age range
Suitable for ages from 18 years to 65 years
Referral route
No Referral Needed
For people with
Suitable for Everyone
Eligibility criteria
Age Range - Adulthood
Provider category
Universal Services - Suitable for Everyone

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c/o Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, St Mary’s Hospital, London Road
NN15 7PW
United Kingdom


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Last updated 28 March 2024