Early Start Volunteering Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do you provide childcare or crèche while I am training or volunteering?

A: Unfortunately we are not able to provide this as the programme aims to support local people in Newham to become job ready. We can signpost you to Newham childcare providers and provide information on eligibility to access free childcare funding.

Q: I receive benefits can I still volunteer without it affecting my benefits?

A: Benefits claimants are required to notify their benefits adviser or job coach of their intention to start volunteering.

Q: Will I get paid for volunteering?

A: Volunteers provide their time free to organisations.  The organisation/Children's Centre you volunteer for cannot give you any money except for reimbursing you for out-of-pocket expenses. These must be expenses that you’ve incurred in order to volunteer, for example the cost of travel, parking etc.

Q: How long will it take from the point of registering to become a volunteer?

A: Time lines are dependant on a number of factors; your availability to attend the training, how quickly you are able to complete the required forms and reference checks, how long your DBS takes to return (these can take between one week and three months).  We will ensure we keep in touch with you on a regular basis.

Q: I am doing a childcare qualification and looking for a placement, can I use the volunteering as my placement?

A: In part, you can still volunteer and your hours can be counted toward the number of placement hours required. However we will not be able to permit your assessor to asses you during your volunteering. Therefore you will still need to secure a placement in a childcare setting; nursery, day-care provider etc.

Q: I don’t think I will be able to get a professional reference, does this mean I can't volunteer?

A: No it doesn’t mean you can’t volunteer.  Please speak to a member of our team for support and advise on other options available to you.

Q: I have a criminal record, does this mean I cannot volunteer?

A: No it doesn’t, but you will need to discuss this with us in advance. Please click here for guidance from gov.uk.

Q: English is not my first language, sometimes I struggle with spoken English.  I am worried that I won’t be able to volunteer because of this?

A: English not being your first language will not prevent you from volunteering, in fact its very useful to have a Newham community language. We may suggest further support for you in improving your English prior to placement dependant on your level of English.  We would also try to place you with a mentor who spoke your home language.

Apply now to become a volunteer!

I chose to volunteer with Early Start because I wanted to gain more experience in dealing with parents and children to progress to a family support worker role or something similar. The programme has been very easy to access. I have gained confidence in speaking to parents and children. I have been able to identify parents who needed help in certain areas of development such as ESOL classes or which parent needs additional help with learning boundaries with their child and could benefit from triple p etc. I have earnt different type of games that can aid children with their learning and development. Games such as counting numbers , matches shapes, colours etc. My mentor is supportive and has helped me gain confidence. I would recommend the Early Start Volunteering Programme as it’s an enjoyable experience filled with plenty of things to learn.

Saima Ali