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Volunteering FAQS


How do I apply for a volunteering role?
  1. Complete our application form
    Download and fill out our Volunteer Application Form.
    Make sure you write the name of the volunteer role you are applying for at the top of the form.
    You’ll need to provide two references, which we may contact during the registration process.
  2. Submit the application form
    Email your application form to us at or print and post to: Via Volunteer Services, 1st Floor, Ilford Chambers, 11 Chapel Road, Ilford, IG1 2DR
  3. Wait to hear back from us
    You’ll receive a confirmation email from us once we have received your application.
    We’ll then get back to you within 10 working days.
    If you’ve got any queries in the meantime, just let us know.
    Need help with your application? Email us at
What volunteering roles do you have at Via?

We’ve got a wide variety of volunteer roles across our services which include:

  • Practitioners (who support the people who come to our services)
  • Skills facilitators to run groups (groups like arts and crafts and music)
  • Volunteer counsellors
  • Complementary therapists (sessions like yoga and acupuncture)
  • Administrators and receptionists
  • Social Work students
  • Employability skills coaches
  • Health trainers
  • IT trainers
  • Cooks
  • Gardeners
  • Capital Card ambassadors
What does a Volunteer Counsellor do?

Our counselling service provides people with the opportunity to meet in private with a Volunteer Counsellor for 50-minute sessions (12 weekly for up to 1 year) to talk about any issues which are currently making their life difficult.

These could include: addictions, low self-esteem, stress, anxiety, panic attacks, self-harm, relationship difficulties, loss of purpose or meaning, family difficulties, loss and bereavement, anger, depression, and trauma.

You’ll work with individuals to identify and explore their concerns, and also review options and help them to decide on a course of action.

As a Volunteer Counsellor, you’ll:

  • See a minimum of three clients and a maximum of six clients per week.
  • Keep accurate records of your work in line with Via policy.
  • Feedback any issues to your line manager/supervisor.
  • Attend training in agreement with your clinical supervisor.
  • Follow all Via policies and procedures.

You’ll also be invited to participate in meetings and carry out other tasks where necessary to support the needs of the counselling service.

What skills do I need?

The role would be ideal if you’re looking to develop your therapeutic experience in the drug and alcohol field and accrue counselling hours towards your future accreditation with BPS, BACP or UKCP.

While some knowledge of the sector is desirable, we’re specifically looking for people who have a passion for the work that we do. A positive attitude and the desire to learn are essential. You also need to have a non-judgemental and supportive approach towards people who are facing problems with drugs and alcohol.

To ensure good practice standards and the safety of our therapists and the people who come to our services, we require all students to confirm the following:

  • You should be in your final year of an undergraduate degree or equivalent or are at a postgraduate level. Alternatively, you should be in your third year of a Diploma, BSC,or MSC in counselling or psychotherapy training.
  • If you’re not in the third year of their Diploma, Bsc, or Msc in counselling or psychotherapy training, you need to be in your second year (at least) but have undertaken (or be prepared to undertake before starting) significant and appropriate training.
  • You’re expected to be a member of one of the counselling governing bodies BACP, UKCP or BPS.
  • You may need to have conducted a minimum number of counselling hours.
  • You’re working or intend to work towards counselling or psychotherapy accreditation.

We’ll also need you to send us the details of your previous supervisor and present college tutor information and agree that we can contact them for references.

What does a Volunteer Receptionist/Administrator do?

Volunteer Receptionists/Administrators are really important and provide a warm welcome to the people coming into our services.

The role can include:

  • Covering reception duties, answering the telephone and welcoming people into the service
  • Undertaking administrative tasks such as filing, archiving and photocopying.
  • Supporting the collection and inputting of service data.
  • Working with local and national databases.

You’ll also be expected to participate in team meetings and carry out other tasks where necessary to support the needs of the service.

What does a Volunteer Recovery Practitioner do?

Volunteer Recovery Practitioners are a vital part of our services and help with a wide range of care and support.

This can look like:

  • Advising people on drug awareness, overdose prevention, safer injecting, safer sex practices and other harm minimisation advice (you’ll receive training and support to do this).
  • Supporting staff to complete service user assessments (you won’t be asked to carry out the first assessment we do with an individual).
  • Supporting staff to run groups.
  • Helping people to access other services and support in the local community.

You’ll also be expected to participate in team meetings and carry out other tasks where necessary to support the needs of the service.

What does a Capital Card Ambassador do?

Things a Capital Card Ambassador might do are:

  • Help to identify potential local Spend Partners.
  • Gather feedback in your service about what people would like from the Capital Card.
  • Champion the interests, feedback, values, beliefs, and contributions of the people who use our services.
  • Approach potential Spend Partners in the community (this could be in person or by telephone/email) and promote the value of involvement with the Capital Card.

You’ll also be expected to participate in team meetings and carry out other tasks where necessary to support the needs of the service.

What support will I receive as a volunteer?

If you decide to volunteer with us, you’ll be given a supervisor once you begin your role. They’ll provide you with ongoing support and regular supervision meetings.

They will work closely with you to make sure you get the most out of your volunteer experience at Via.

There is also a central volunteer services team who will support you while on your placement.

You can also expect:

  • A full induction to your role.
  • Training opportunities to support your development.
  • Reimbursement of reasonable travel and lunch expenses.
Once I’ve sent my application form to you, when will I hear back?

You’ll get an automated email to tell you that we’ve received your application.

If you’re applying for an advertised volunteer role, we’ll be in touch within 10 working days.

All other applications will be reviewed, and you’ll be contacted if we have a suitable vacancy.

Do keep checking our website regularly, as new volunteering opportunities are advertised as they become available.

Do you want to hear from people who can offer something other than the roles advertised?

If you’ve got a particular vocation or skill you think could help the people who use our services, we’d love to hear from you.

Please get in touch with us at

Can I work and volunteer at the same time?

Absolutely – there are no restrictions on working outside of your volunteer placement unless you’re receiving benefits.

However, we do ask that you’re able to commit to the days and hours that you’ve agreed with your manager/supervisor.

If you’re having any difficulties in committing to your agreed days and times, please talk to your supervisor.

What training will I receive?

Throughout a volunteering at Via, you’ll have access to the same training opportunities available to paid members of the team (apart from manager specific courses). A quarter of all places on Via training courses are allocated to volunteers.

You can access local training arranged by your service and there will also be opportunities for specialist volunteer training either locally or online.

You’ll agree on a training plan with your supervisor which can be reviewed regularly.

Can I volunteer as an ex-offender?

We know that that some individuals looking for volunteer positions with Via may have criminal records.

While certain serious offences may have an impact on the volunteer roles you can do, having a criminal record will not automatically exclude you from volunteering at Via.

It’s important to be honest about any criminal convictions you may have when applying for a volunteer role. This is because, if you’re successful, you’ll be asked to complete a Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) check.

If you’d like to talk about previous convictions or DBS checks, just drop us an email at

Do I have to be abstinent to volunteer?

We review all volunteer applications on a case-by-case basis.

We don’t have specific requirements for periods of abstinence but would expect you to be motivated and ready to fulfil the voluntary role that you’ve applied for.

Can I volunteer while receiving benefits?

Receiving state benefits shouldn’t impact on volunteering you do, as long as you don’t receive payment and that you follow the conditions of the benefits that you receive.

For example, if you are receiving Job Seekers Allowance, you’ll still need to provide evidence that you’re looking for paid employment and be available for an interview within 48 hours.

It’s your responsibility to ensure that volunteering does not impact on the requirements of your benefits.

Information about volunteering and state benefits can be found here:

Can I get expenses reimbursed?

We reimburse reasonable travel and lunch costs at Via.

Do I need a DBS check to volunteer at Via?

Yes, all volunteer roles require a full Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS). Once you receive your approved DBS check, let our Via Volunteer Services team know as we’ll need a copy for our records.

Without a valid DBS check, you can start your role but you won’t be able to do any one-to-one work with the people using our services.

For any roles involving work with families and children, you won’t be able to start your volunteer role until you show us your completed DBS check.

How much volunteering do I need to do to get a job?

Volunteering will give you a ton of valuable experience which will increase your chances of becoming employed with Via or other health and social care organisations.

Usually, at least six months experience in this or a related field to is required to be employed in a practitioner role.