Coronavirus Update:
The SVC team are mainly working from home, please email us to organise an appointment to visit the office.
We currently have a number of digital (online) opportunities available, and are cautiously returning to some in-person opportunities.
Please click here for the latest information and news from our team.

FAQs

General

I can’t volunteer at the moment, but is there any other way that I can support SVC?

Thank you for your interest in supporting us! As a charity we rely on people like you to maintain the work we do in the community. You could support us by helping us to raise funds, whether that is through a donation or a fundraising event. If you are planning a fundraising event then please let us know so that we can give you some support! Give us a call on 02921 676780, or send us an email to info@svcymru.org – we love hearing new ideas!


Can my enquiry be handled in Welsh?

Yes! If you would prefer to communicate in Welsh then this can be organised.


Can I volunteer if I am not a student?

Yes! In the past SVC was purely for students however we now accept applications from anyone in the local community who would like to join us.


My organisation would like to work with you, who should I contact?

Thank you so much for your interest! Please contact the SVC manager to discuss your ideas with us.


Do you have a Welsh version of your site?

We are currently working on a Welsh translation of the SVC site to make it fully accessible to Welsh speakers. Watch this space!


How can I support SVC?

Thank you for your interest in supporting our us! As a charity we rely on people like you to maintain the work we do in the community. There are several ways you can support SVC, the first is to become one of our fantastic volunteers, or if you are already volunteering to consider becoming a Lead Volunteer or Trustee.

The other way you could support us is by helping to raise funds, whether that is through a donation or a fundraising event. If you are planning a fundraising event then please let us know so that we can give you some guidelines and support!


Is SVC part of Cardiff University?

Whilst SVC was set up by Cardiff University students, and was based in its Students' Union for many years SVC is an independent charity. This means that we are not part of any other organisation and are fully run by our own Board of Trustees.


The Application Process

When can I apply to be a volunteer with SVC?

SVC is open all year for applications. However, please note that SVC undertakes a recruitment drive in October, and therefore many projects fill up at this time of year. If you would like to know which projects have current opportunities please visit – https://www.svcymru.org/projects and tick the box “still recruiting”.

Alternatively, please contact the team on info@svcymru.org, we can then advise you of the best way forward based on your interests and availability.


Who can I use as a reference for my application?

We will need the details of two people who have known you for at least two years to provide us with good character references. They must not be related to you, or from your own peer group (i.e. no members of you family or friends).


Can I apply part-way through the year?

If you have missed the main application deadline in the Autumn we would encourage you to contact our staff through generalenquiries@svcardiff.org or by popping into our office. There may still be projects where applications can be made and they will be able to advise you of the best way forward based on your interests.


Am I able to volunteer with SVC if I have a criminal record?

If you have a criminal record, this does not automatically stop you from volunteering with SVC. If you are worried about something that you know will come up when a DBS check is carried out, talk to a member of the SVC team. You will need to make an appointment with the SVC manager (a.earls@Svcymru.org) to discuss what happened and whether or not it will prohibit you from volunteering. There are different restrictions attached to different roles, so it’s always better to talk through this together.


Do I need a DBS check for every project?

Many of our opportunities require a DBS. The level of check varies depending on the volunteering role. Depending on your work experience, or study, you may already have a DBS that we can use. However, this will depend on the nature of volunteering you will be undertaking with SVC, therefore it’s always better to talk through this together. Please contact us on 02921 676780 or info@svcymru.org


What is a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check?

The DBS - formerly known as Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) - carry out police and identity checks for all volunteers working in any capacity with children or vulnerable adults. Forms are available from the SVC office and a member of staff will help you through the process.


Volunteering With Us

How long do I need to commit for?

For most projects you will be working with vulnerable and disadvantaged people, so a regular commitment is important. If you are unsure about commitment talk to a member of SVC staff as we have a number of projects that don't require you to volunteer every week - some only require a commitment of once a fortnight or once a month. We also have several one-off projects throughout the year which you can join, for example in Winter Week in December or Volunteering Week in February. Either way, we will find something for you to get involved with 02921 676780 info@svcymru.org


Will I need to attend project training before I start with SVC?

Yes. Our training ensures that you are fully prepared to start a project, it’s therefore important that you attend. Some training sessions for certain projects will be compulsory. For all other training sessions we would strongly recommend that you attend. You may feel underprepared if you have not attended the training sessions appropriate for your project.


Can I volunteer on more than one project with SVC?

Yes. However we would suggest discussing this with one of the team (02921 676780 info@svcymru.org), as some projects involve a lot more commitment, and therefore you will need to consider how much free time you have.


Will I be reimbursed for my travel expenses?

Yes. We don't think you should have to pay to help other people, so we will reimburse your travel expenses for your project. These are our guidelines for claiming expenses https://www.svcymru.org/files/2021-03/svc-transport-policy-2021.pdf?4211f51f33, however if you have any questions at all then just let us know info@svcymru.org


Can I volunteer with SVC over the summer?

Some of our projects will be available over the summer, so have a chat with the staff member who coordinates the projects you are interested in to find out. Otherwise you could look at other organisaitions such as Cardiff Voluntary Community Service or UNA Exchange for overseas volunteering. You can also keep an eye on our social media pages where we will post any opportunities that come up over the summer!


Do I get official accreditation for my volunteering?

Yes. There are a number of ways in which you can gain official recognition for your volunteering work. All members on our Board of Trustees and our Lead Volunteers who complete 200 hours of volunteering will receive a Millennium Volunteers Award of Excellence signed by the First Minister.

There are several levels of certification awarded by SVC: Level 1 Certification of Volunteering: Volunteer Level 2 Certification of Volunteering: Lead Volunteer Level 3 Certification of Volunteering: Trustee As long as you have shown commitment to your volunteering project and have been reliable throughout the year you will be eligible for certification.


Can I volunteer on more than one project?

You can but we would recommend no more than 2 projects. It depends on which projects you would like to volunteer on and how much time you have available each week. You should seriously consider your availability, your timetable and how busy you will be throughout the year, so we highly encourage thinking about what it will be like volunteering across the whole year. Please speak to a member of staff for more information.


Do I have to attend the training for my chosen project?

Yes. The training ensures that you are fully prepared to start a project, its important that you attend. Some training sessions for certain projects will be compulsory and if you do not attend you will lose your place on the project. For all other training sessions we would strongly recommend that you attend. We are trying to provide you with the information to prepare you for volunteering and you may feel underprepared if you have not attended the training sessions appropriate for your project.


Do I have to commit for the whole academic year?

Yes. For most projects you will be working with vulnerable and disadvantaged people, so a regular commitment is important. If you are unsure about commitment talk to a member of SVC staff as we have a number of projects that don't require you to volunteer every week - some only require a commitment of once a fortnight or once a month. If you still don't think you can commit for the full year there are a number of one-off projects throughout the year which you can join, for example in Winter Week in December or Volunteering Week in February. Either way, we will find something for you to get involved with!


How do I join an SVC volunteering project?

Check out our 'Apply to Volunteer' page to see how to apply to join a project - https://www.svcymru.org/apply-to-volunteer. If you have any further questions then please get in touch with us 02921 676780 info@svcymru.org


What is the difference between a Volunteer and a Lead Volunteer?

Our Lead Volunteers are those who have taken on extra responsibilities in running the project they volunteer on. Our Lead Volunteers are key to the work that SVC does and their role is crucial in the success of our projects.


Who can volunteer at SVC?

SVC welcomes anyone who is interested in volunteering with vulnerable and disadvantaged people. This means you can be a student, employed, unemployed, retired or anyone else in the community! Most of our volunteering opportunities are only open to people aged 18+, if you are under 18 please contact us to discuss options that we have available – 02921 676780 info@svcymru.org


International Students

How do I prove my right to work/volunteer in the UK?

If you are a UK/EU citizen you are automatically eligible and your passport will be proof of this.

If you are a non-EU citizen you should have a Visa to allow you to study in the UK. If you have a Tier 4 Visa you will be restricted to a maximum of 20 hours per week of paid work or volunteering. (Please remember, if you also have a job or take part in other voluntary activities you must make sure that, combined with SVC activities, this comes to no more than 20 hours per week.) If you have a Student Visitor Visa you will not be eligible for our long-term volunteering projects but you can get involved with our one-off events. Talk to a member of staff about what volunteering you can take part in.


How do I get a criminal record check from my home country?

We will only need this if you have lived in the UK less than 5 years. A criminal record check may be called something different overseas such as a Police Check, a Certificate of Good Conduct or a Good Behaviour Record. As all countries are different, the best things to do would be to call your Embassy in London, explain your situation and what you need the criminal record check for and to find out what you need to do to get one. Unfortunately, SVC cannot obtain the check for you and you will need to do this yourself.


How do I apply if I am an international student?

You will need to apply with the application form and DBS check as described in our 'Become a Volunteer' section. If you have been a UK resident for less than 5 years you will also need to provide a criminal record check from your home country. You will also need to prove your right to work/volunteer in the UK.


Can international volunteers apply?

Yes, absolutely! We warmly welcome volunteers of all backgrounds and nationalities, but make sure to talk to our staff as there may be some extra steps to your application.