Looking for the right volunteer opportunities (for yourself or for the young people you work with), or finding suitable volunteers for your project, can be a time-consuming process. If you’re in London or Hertfordshire, Caritas Westminster’s Volunteer Service can match volunteers to projects, with a wide range of opportunities to suit different skills and interests, and the time people have available. AND – here’s the best bit – they want to extend this free service to cover the rest of the UK, which sounds like an excellent idea! (And if you’re in London on Tuesday 5th June 2018, visit their Volunteer Fair)
On CatholicYouthWork.com, we advertise gap year programmes (for free), but many people are keen to be of service and to gain the experience volunteering offers, but they’re not in a position to move away for a whole year. The Caritas service is fantastic for them, and for the projects who need to reach them. The online service was launched just over a year ago, and in the past four months, with Volunteer Coordinator Verity Sykes managing the site full-time, it’s really taken off.
Verity said, “Right now, most of the opportunities come from within the Diocese of Westminster, as we are most likely to reach people in those areas through our work, but we also want international opportunities, and volunteer opportunities where there are placements in other parts of the country.”
Most of the roles are with Catholic projects, but some are from other charities Caritas has worked with in some way. All projects must fit in with the Caritas priorities, which means they must be working in one or more of the following areas: Food Poverty and Debt; Social Isolation of the most Vulnerable; Intellectual Disability; Homelessness; Human Trafficking; the Deaf Community; and Youth Inclusion.
Volunteers of all backgrounds, genders, faiths (and none) are welcome for the majority of roles, except where the project or role has a valid exemption.
“At Caritas Westminster, we want to encourage Catholics to put their faith into action, by encouraging people to volunteer,” Verity explained. “We have created the Caritas Volunteer Service to make this as easy as possible for the Catholic Community, by gathering together a wide range of volunteer roles from parishes, schools, charities and organisations across the Diocese of Westminster and beyond. Over the past year, we have had hundreds of willing volunteers sign up to the site, and have had over 18,000 views of the different opportunities. We believe everyone has skills and gifts that they can use to bless others in need.”
If you would like to register to find volunteers for your project, visit the Organisations area of the Caritas site where you can find instructions and a useful guide. If you’d like to discuss your project or volunteer opportunity with Verity, you can email her
To find the perfect volunteer opportunity for you, visit the Volunteering section, where you can focus your search to find projects that suit your interests, availability and location. To benefit from the full functionality of the site, you need to register for a free account and log in.