European Youth Portal

Information and opportunities for young people across Europe.

Voluntary activities in the UK

Volunteering plays an important part of the UK and you can find some information and opportunities on these pages.

Definition of volunteering

According to the European Youth Forum an activity can only be defined as volunteering if it is:

  • undertaken of a person’s own free will and involves the commitment of time and energy to actions that benefit others and society as a whole
  • unpaid (although it can involve reimbursement of expenses directly related to the activity)
  • for a non-profit cause, primarily undertaken within a nongovernmental organisation, and thus clearly isn't motivated by material or financial gain
  • not used to substitute or replace paid employment.


Volunteering in the UK

A press release by the Cabinet Office has shown that there has been a sharp rise in volunteering in the UK afte several years of decline.  The National Council for Volunteering and Civil Society (NCVO) have released data regarding the demographics and statistics of those volunteering in the UK. it shows that females are more likely to volunteer and that 50% of people aged 35 to 49 formally volunteer at least once a year compared to 41% of those aged 26 to 34.

With so many possiblities to volunteer in the UK, it's all about finding a placement that suits you.You will need to consider:

-How much time you can volunteer

-How far you are willing to travel

-What kind of volunteering you are interested in

-What skills can you bring to the placement

-What you are looking to get out of the placement


Plenty of organisations and charities are always looking out for volunteers so it it worth having a look on job search websites for volunteering opportunities. Local libraries and youth clubs will also have information about opportunities. The EurodeskUK page (link below) also has a list of links of organisations which will help you find some opportunities online  as will the Volunteering Opportunities page. Once you have found somewhere that you are interested in volunteering at, you can then get in contact with the organisation to find out more information.