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I can't even give my time away for free!

(31 Posts)
happy2bhomely Wed 15-Jun-11 16:45:02

I'm so fed up! I've been at SAHM for years and have been looking for some voluntary work for a few months now. Not one organisation I've contacted has been back in touch. They have all said that they have plenty of helpers and don't need any more! (I know that's a good thing and I'm being really selfish). I want to apply to study Occupational Therapy in 2012 and was thinking that alongside an access course I could volunteer and get a feel for things. (I haven't mentioned this to anyone because I don't want them to think I'm only doing it to benefit myself!) I want to commit long term to something worthwhile. I've called hospitals and they are inundated with volunteers. I've called care homes and said I'd be happy to cover the cost of a CRB and induction and they've said 'no thanks'. I've called local charities and left messages and no one has called back. I've emailed St john's ambulance and local brownies/scouts type groups. I feel like crap. If I can't even give my time away, what hope have I got of ever being paid for it. I know it's great that so many people are volunteering and that can only be a good thing, but I'm running out of ideas. I honestly thought that, living in London, there would be more opportunities. What am I doing wrong?

MrsTwinks Wed 15-Jun-11 16:49:19

nothing. Its that thing of its easier to get a job if you have one, but with no jobs people are volunteering so it doesnt look crap on CV.

If you want occupational therapy have you thought of becoming a carer p/t? I meantion it because my aunt is disabled in London and she has real trouble finding carers who will work for what she can afford to pay. If you want free work thats worthwhile why not try a step up to poorly paid worth thats worthwhile.

Karbea Wed 15-Jun-11 16:53:28

Have you looked at ?

lalabaloo Wed 15-Jun-11 16:59:30

Leonard Chesire has a volunteering programme, could be worth contacting them? x

RubyGrace17 Wed 15-Jun-11 17:00:51

Perhaps it depends where in the country you are. I was recently on a St John's first aid course and the leader said they were crying out for volunteers. As well as this, before I was a mummy and in my Uni days, I ran a local Rainbows unit and I know that we were always looking for helpers for Rainbows, Brownies, Guides etc. I did it initially as I was getting my degree in primary education but carried it on up until I had my first DD as I really enjoyed it.

Good luck with finding something! smile


happy2bhomely Wed 15-Jun-11 17:02:06

I've considered caring, but all positions I've seen advertised require an NVQ which I don't have, and which I can't get without a job as a carer! I would happily work part time for little or no pay. I appreciate that I have little to offer in the way of qualifications (GCSE's) and I have to start at the bottom. I'm all up for a long hard slog to the top, I just need a little help to get started!

munstersmum Wed 15-Jun-11 17:02:51

Why not try this website? Unpaid roles often appear.

happy2bhomely Wed 15-Jun-11 17:03:30

I've registered with Do! They are really really busy!

happy2bhomely Wed 15-Jun-11 17:04:14

Thanks for that one Munstersmum. I'm going to take a look now!

redexpat Wed 15-Jun-11 17:05:45

Karbea beat me to it. Also try the phonebook for local charities.

I would mention that you would like to gain some experience. People with selfish motives actually make for more committed volunteers.

As for the brownies/guides, you live in London where there are hundreds of leaders and hardly any girls. It's still rubbish though. Perhaps get in contact with HQ on buckingham palace road? They'll put you onto the right people.

munstersmum Wed 15-Jun-11 17:06:45

Thinking about your plan to move into occ health. Why not approach local hospices and offer to help? They often have therapeutic gardens which need tending if working with clients is off limits.

MrsTwinks Wed 15-Jun-11 17:07:23

That would be in a home. Private is different, my aunts carer at the moment is a lovely iraqi woman with no qualifications except being a SAHM. try looking in small ads (thats where aunt advertises) or contacting disabled charities. Or advertise yourself? Some people just need help cleaning and shopping etc.

Have you tried places like amnesty? they used to always need people on the phones.

London is hard because theres so much competition. Chin up something will come eventually.

webwiz Wed 15-Jun-11 17:07:59

I had this when I was looking for voluntary work - I went to my local volunteer centre and had a long discussion and even though there were going to be "lots of exciting opportunities" I wasn't offered anything despite me chasing for months. The only thing I got from them was a feedback form several months later asking how my voluntary placement was going hmm

I volunteer with the Citizen's Advice Bureau now - don't worry about saying you want to volunteer to benefit yourself OP that is one of the reason's why lots of people take up voluntary positions.

KatieWatie Wed 15-Jun-11 17:10:01

I had a similar experience last year in the environmental field. I work full time but I wanted to spend my weekends doing something worthwhile, as well as having some hard physical graft (free gym session).

Nobody wanted me, and like you in many cases I didn't even get a response from the organisation.

happy2bhomely Wed 15-Jun-11 17:13:48

Thanks for the ideas everyone-off to take DS football training now, but will be back later to check in. All ideas welcome and appreciated!

ThisIsANiceCage Wed 15-Jun-11 17:48:53

Hmm, a bit sensitive but...

Start a thread here entitled "Looking for home care job, no pay required, APPROX POSTCODE"? Then explain as you have in your OP.

Plenty of MNers are disabled or caring for disabled people, and keeping up with basic stuff like laundry and cleaning the loo can be a struggle. Transport/errands/shopping can be a bugger, too.

Be open about what you hope to get out of it too. As a disabled person it's ghastly continually asking for help, and people doing "favours" is a bit haphazard. If you see this as a proper Voluntary Job, with regular hours, it should make things easier on both sides.

Ragwort Wed 15-Jun-11 17:57:59

I find this incredible - I am in Scouting and we are desperate for Leaders - I have just moved house and been snapped up for five different voluntary roles already grin - I would seriously get in touch with Scouting HQ and let them know that you have not had any response. From a PR point alone that is shocking.

I cannot understand Care Homes turning volunteers down. Have you tried 'League of Friends' (or whatever they are called) in hospitals?

What about working with the homeless - St Mungo, Centrepoint etc are in London.

Churches often have knowledge of local needs - even if you are not a church goer they should be able to point you in the right direction.

Good luck.

clutteredup Wed 15-Jun-11 18:04:16

Ak at school they will always have helpers in to listen to readers and if they are hard up for paying for CRB checks will jump if you offer to pay. Also the PTA always needs treasurers and people to oragnise fetes and fundraisers . We don't have enough scout / rainbow groups in out area becasue of lack of volunteers, I believe you can contact them and start your own group, will provide training and all sorts. Please don't be put off I can see it's frustrating but there are loads of worthy organisations out there in desperate nned of help.
Beware once you do get an in you will be inundated, if you're a busy person helping out you'll always be the first to be asked to do something els!

Peachy Wed 15-Jun-11 18:06:02

It dies seem to vary- scoute here teeming with volunteers (ex guider who moved to area) and I haven;t been able to get any vollie work at secondary schools which emans I cannot now apply for a PGCE as was intended; i;ve almost got an MA in ASD but still.

HomeStart might be able to palce you with a family affected bu disability OP. used to work for them and we were always desperate for volunteers. Indeed the shortage meant we lost funding and closed sad

Orbinator Wed 15-Jun-11 18:13:27

I volunteered through our PALS system here in Kent and did admin for the local mental health hospital. Felt very rewarding, even if some of the workers are a little, erm, eccentric...! Anything like that near you?

lesley33 Wed 15-Jun-11 18:14:52

Lots of smaller charities/local groups are so busy that they are crap at returning phone calls from potential volunteers. Have a look on This has volunteering vacancies from charities that have put them on the website for free. But the fact that they are advertising means you are more likely to get a positive response.l

Places like hospitals/care homes have very few people who have the time to meet and provide a proper induction for a volunteer. Because a poorly trained volunteer can cause harm through ignorance, they won't take on volunteers if they don't have the time to to induct and train properly.

But please don't think its personal - because its not.

Birdsgottafly Wed 15-Jun-11 18:40:41

First have you checked that you can still train in OCC Therapy via Access, you cannot anymore where i live.

If you want voluntary work to get you onto a degree health course or Access you need to come into contact with what would be classed as 'service users'. Usual voluntary includes; Help the Aged, (any older persons services, shopping etc), Homestart, Surestart, Womens Groups (DV etc), Homelessness services, CAB (any advice centres), phone lines such as Childline, Drug/addiction services, 'Buudy' schemes for those with LD's/ MH (Autism Initiatives run these).

Approch local care homes, they will take on dedicated staff without NVQ's, you only have to pledge to work towards one. The Uni's in your area may require references for the voluntary work (sometimes you have to prove you have done a minium of 500 hours), so check that out, so that you haven't wasted your time.

HellonHeels Wed 15-Jun-11 18:45:57

When I was unemployed I did volunteer work here: They were delighted to have volunteers and in fact completely reliant on them as they only have one paid member of staff.

The Evening Standard has been running a series about literacy over the last few weeks, if you look at their website there is info on volunteering with that.

In the back of the free London papers (Metro, Evening Standard) where the job ads are there are usually also volunteering job adverts, could be worth a look at those.

pointissima Wed 15-Jun-11 18:46:43

School reading schemes? If you are in London the Evening Standard should be able to point you in the right direction.

Prison visiting?

defineme Wed 15-Jun-11 18:49:14

I am training with Homestart-they don't want you to have any experience except as a parent and you are a helping hand rsather than an expert.

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