Three volunteers wearing blue WESC Foundation t-shirts

Introduction to volunteering at WESC Foundation

Volunteering at WESC Foundation means helping us to ensure our young people lead full and independent lives. We encourage them to be involved in everyday living and encourage our volunteers to assist them in achieving this. There are a wide range of opportunities to volunteer with us. We need support in our classrooms, swimming pool, day trips, social enterprise charity shops and fundraising.

Volunteering will give you the chance to try out something new, meet like-minded people and help develop your skills whilst carrying out the worthwhile role of supporting visually impaired young people and adults.

The next steps

Take a look at our current volunteer vacancies. You’ll then need to complete a short application form and return to our reception team.

When we receive your completed application form, you may asked to come in to discuss the role and have an informal interview.

If you and the volunteer manager both decide that the opportunity is right for you, we will offer you the role pending final checks before you start.

We will ask for two references and may seek an enhanced DBS (Disclosure & Barring Service) check for volunteers working with children and vulnerable adults, or if the role is based at our main Exeter campus. We also seek parent or guardian authorisation for volunteers under the age of 18.

It’s also a requirement for all staff who work in a school or education environment (including volunteers working in roles on any part of our Exeter campus) to have read part one the statutory guidance document Keeping Children Safe in Education. A copy will be provided for you at induction.

Useful links and documents

Equality and Diversity Policy
Visas and volunteering (non EEA citizens)
Volunteer Application Form

Some answers to your questions

Are there any age restrictions? You will need to be 16 years of age or over to volunteer in the school and 18 years of age or over to volunteer in college and the social enterprise shops.

Do I need any specific skills? No, you don’t need any specific skills to help our young people. Some roles may ask for preferred skills but we would give you training and help you develop these skills whilst volunteering . Also if you have any particular skills which you feel would be useful such as an interest in playing music, enjoying sports, being creative etc. then please let us know. You help is greatly valued in every way.

Will I be paid expenses? You will be entitled to reimbursement of all reasonable expenses so that you are not left out of pocket. You will need to provide receipts, bus tickets etc. and complete a simple claims form which we will assist you with.

Can I volunteer while claiming benefits?  Yes you can. People are allowed to volunteer while claiming state benefits, including Job Seekers’ Allowance, Incapacity Benefit and Income Support, just so long as the rules are followed. People claiming benefits must complete form ES672VJP to notify their advisers that they are volunteering. There are no limits to the amount of time you can volunteer as long as you continue to meet the conditions of the benefit or tax credit you are receiving.  Don’t be put off volunteering because you are claiming benefits. WESC Foundation can provide you with information to reassure the Jobcentre about the nature of your volunteering role.

How much time can I give? The amount of time you give as a volunteer depends on you and which role you undertake for us. Some people volunteer every day, others volunteer for just a few hours per week and some decide to volunteer for one-off events and activities. We try to match your availability as far as we can and any time that you can give, no matter how small, is always very much appreciated.

I am visually impaired, can I volunteer at WESC Foundation? Volunteering enriches lives and can provide a vital route to employment and more independence for blind and partially sighted people therefore we welcome your interest. If you are blind or partially sighted, we will look for ways to help you get involved.

Who can I ask to supply references? We ask for two references from people you have known for at least two years and aged 18 or over. They must not be a family member, partner, boyfriend, girlfriend nor live in the same household as you. If you have been employed or volunteered before we would usually ask that one reference is from this source.