Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions


Got any questions about Volunteering? You might find the answer here! If you can't find the answer to your question here please get in touch with us at volunteering@shu.ac.uk

Why should I volunteer?

Volunteering not only benefits the community and local charities, but it can also benefit yourself. You will gain the experience of helping others and supporting a local charity, make new friends and you'll hopefully have lots of fun and develop useful skills, which will look great on your CV. You can log volunteering hours here, and you will receive certificates when you reach a volunteering milestone.

Do I need any previous experience or skills?

Volunteering is accessible to everyone, most charities simply ask for enthusiasm and commitment. Some organisations, however, may ask for specific skills or previous experience. This should be stated in the role description.

How do I get started?

You can make a start by checking out the latest opportunities on the Students’ Union website here and find out how we can support you into volunteering. You can then apply via the website or email us at volunteering@shu.ac.uk

How do I search for volunteer opportunities?

There are lots of different ways that you can volunteer at Sheffield Hallam Students' Union depending on how much time you would like to contribute and your area of interest. We have:

  • Give it a Go opportunities, which allow you to try out a volunteering activity as a one off with no long term commitment, giving you the opportunity to try out a variety of different activities whilst helping out in the community. Keep an eye on the What’s on calendar for these events.
  • Student-Led projects, which allow you to be part of a group of students all with a shared purpose, whether that’s to raise awareness, educate or fundraise, the list is endless! Take a look at our Student Projects page here
  • Community Action, where you can support local charities and organisations through these regular roles, we also have opportunities if you want to volunteer as a group. Take a look at our current community action roles here
  • Virtual volunteering is a perfect way to get involved with volunteering whilst spending time at home and wanting something completely flexible. To find out more please click here

How do I get involved?

Each opportunity should have instructions on the next steps but they are usually:

  • Virtual volunteering – please follow the links in each of the role profiles here
  • Community action- please email the volunteering team on volunteering@shu.ac.uk for more information and how to apply.
  • Student led projects – please either email the project directly (emails can be found on each project page) or the email the volunteering team on volunteering@shu.ac.uk
  • Give it a go – please purchase a free ticket on the event page. More information about the event will be provided nearer to the time.

Can I volunteer at anytime during my time at Hallam?

Yes, it's never too late to volunteer and there are volunteering opportunities on offer throughout the year. Take a look at our website here.

Please note, that some projects only run during semesters 1 and 2 and so places may only be available towards the beginning of the academic year. If you are unsure or need any help choosing a project, email the volunteering team at volunteering@shu.ac.uk

I am an international student. Can I volunteer?

All students, including short-term students, can volunteer with a charity, or voluntary sector organisation. This is a great opportunity for international students to meet local people and practice their English.

It is important to note that short-term students can volunteer, but they cannot do 'voluntary work'. Before volunteering starts, make sure the role meets the UK Government's definition of volunteering rather than voluntary work:


  • Do not have a contract of employment (written or verbal). There should be no obligation to attend at particular times and carry out specific tasks • Must not take the place of an employee
  • Must not receive payment in kind but reimbursement for reasonable travel and subsistence expenses is allowed
  • Usually help a charity or voluntary or public sector organisation.

Voluntary workers:

  • Often have a contract with their employer, which means that the employer must provide the work and the voluntary worker must attend at particular times and carry out specific tasks
  • Are also usually paid for their work.

I'm not a student at Sheffield Hallam University - can I still volunteer with you?

Unfortunately you won't be able to volunteer with us, but you can contact your local volunteer centre/ Voluntary Action Sheffield (VAS) who will be able to provide you with lots of volunteering opportunities.

What's expected of me as a volunteer?

For a full list of your rights and responsibilities as a volunteer, have a look at our volunteer policy here.

How many hours do I need to volunteer per week?

Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union offer an extensive selection of volunteering opportunities ranging from weekly to one-off events, which means the time commitment varies. You can commit as much or as little time as you want. Even if you're short of time, there are plenty of opportunities for you to get involved! Have a look at our webpages to find out more about specific project requirement or email us at volunteering@shu.ac.uk

Can I get involved in more than one opportunity?

Of course you can, as long as you feel you have the time (and energy!) to commit. Have a look at our webpages to see the range of opportunities on offer.

I am already volunteering; do I need to let you know?

Yes please let us know, we offer awards and recognition events for volunteers. We will also invite you to training and meetups throughout the year and, if you are happy to, we can feature you as a case study to promote the charity that you volunteer with to other Hallam Students.

I'd like to volunteer overseas - do you have any international opportunities?

We do not have any international projects available as Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union work primarily with local community organisations. International volunteering at Hallam is available through Go Global, find more information here.

Our sports club/society would like to volunteer as a group - what's the next step?

Here at SHSU we offer the opportunity for members of societies and sports clubs to volunteer together and share their skills and experiences through both regular and one-off volunteering events. If your society or sports club is interested in volunteering, or has an idea for a project, please e-mail volunteering@shu.ac.uk or book an appointment for a chat.

How will I get to my volunteering?

We aim to ensure our volunteer opportunities are accessible via public transport and we can help you to work out a route to and from your volunteering. For some projects we will organise transport, if this is necessary, we would let you know.

Some charities may offer to reimburse your travel costs so check with them before you start. In some cases, we can also provide expenses if agreed in advance.

I may need extra support to volunteer

The volunteering team are here to support you whilst you volunteer so please just email us at volunteering@shu.ac.uk if you have any questions or concerns and we will try to help as much as we can.

I can’t find the right volunteering role for me?

If nothing appeals to you on our website, please either email us on volunteering@shu.ac.uk or book in for an informal chat here and we will try to find you a suitable role which may not be currently on our website.

DBS Checks

What is a DBS check?

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) carry out police and identity checks for all volunteers working in any capacity with children or vulnerable adults. For more information, please find our DBS FAQs here.

What kinds of ID can I use for my DBS form?

There are many different types of identification that you can use to support your DBS application. View a full list of identification documents that are accepted. We have more information in our DBS FAQs here.

Do all opportunities need a DBS check?

No, DBS checks are not required for all of our projects. However, they are essential for projects working with children or vulnerable adults, including all schools projects. If you're unsure whether you need to complete a DBS check, e-mail volunteering@shu.ac.uk We have a full and comprehensive guide to DBS checks here.

Training and Accreditation

What training opportunities do you offer?

Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union is committed to providing training to all volunteers relevant to the project that you join. We hold many different training sessions throughout the year to ensure that you are fully prepared for your volunteering experience.  Many projects have specific training which are compulsory for all volunteers. For specific information on training sessions, talk to a Project Leader or member of staff.

Alongside this, our Skills, Development and Employment team have loads of skills & training workshops and opportunities ranging from First Aid training to leadership courses! Whilst you volunteer, we can help you reflect on your personal experiences through the Hallam Award which is a personal development programme that helps you make the most of your time here at Hallam and will help you enhance your C.V.

Can I still volunteer if I've missed the training session(s) for an education project?

The training sessions for some projects are compulsory, for example safeguarding, so if you've missed a session unfortunately you won't be able to join the project this academic year. Many training sessions are held more than once so be sure to check for full details of these.

Can I achieve an award for my volunteering?

Your commitment to volunteering should be recognised and celebrated. As volunteers, you will be encouraged to log your volunteering hours to receive our volunteering certificates.

You can also get involved in the Hallam Award, a graduate attributes award that gives you recognition for your engagement in various extracurricular activities. This involves building a portfolio, including an activity log to track your hours and reflection on how your activities have developed key graduate competencies. This will help you stand out to employers and will give you the skills to sell yourself in recruitment processes. Contact for more info.

Your achievements are also recognised through several organised events throughout the year, such as at our end of year celebration event.

Does volunteering count towards my course/module?

The Volunteering team does not arrange placements or provide volunteering roles for course credit. Volunteering is a great way to build experience, gain a reference, add something to your C.V and it can be used in your Hallam Award.

Getting More Involved

I'd like to be part of a committee - where do I start?

Our projects are student-led and need Project Leaders and committees to help manage them. If you'd like to play a bigger part in a particular project, why not apply for a position in our annual elections recruitment in semester 2. Click here for more information on the responsibilities of Project Leaders and other committee positions.

I have an idea for a new project - can you help me set it up?

If you've got an idea for a project, we can provide advice and guidance to help turn your idea into a reality. Each year, Hallam students develop and lead new projects that will make a difference to the community and the environment in which we live. If you are interested in setting up a new project, contact us at volunteering@shu.ac.uk to discuss your idea.

I'm interested in a career in the voluntary sector - do you have any information for me?

We recommend that you contact the Student Opportunity careers team who can provide you with a lot of information on working in the charity and voluntary sector and direct you to the appropriate resources.


How can I claim back expenses?

We want to make sure you're never out of pocket as a result of your volunteering so all reasonable expenses will be reimbursed provided it is approved in advance by a member of staff. Full details of our expenses policy and details of how to claim back expenses can be found here.

Will it cost anything?

Volunteering is free. You may incur some costs, such as paying for transport to get to your volunteering. If you keep your receipts the Volunteering Team may be able to reimburse these travel costs if this is agreed before you start volunteering.


How do I get a reference?

For reference requests we must have your written authority to divulge personal information to third parties. First you need to give the third party your written consent and they will then need to forward this to us, with their specific request.