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Frequently asked questions

Photo: Any questions?
How often can I volunteer?

Our events take place throughout the year in various locations to meet demand. This means that volunteering opportunities aren’t always regular, e.g. weekly. For more information about how often our events take place, please see our events pages.

We ask volunteers to attend at least one event per year but we know this isn’t always possible if there aren’t events in your area or you aren’t free on those dates. As long as you stay in contact with us to let us know you can’t attend, you will keep receiving information about volunteering opportunities.

Where can I volunteer?

Events take place in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to meet the needs of the children and families we support. To find out where our upcoming events will take place, please see our events pages.

If you are a Youth Support Volunteer, you can put yourself forward to attend events anywhere in the UK. Please note that we may not confirm you on events that involve you travelling a long way if other volunteers live closer. However, please let us know if you are interested as we may need you to attend!

If you are in any of our other volunteer roles, we would only expect you to put yourself forward for events that are within reasonable travelling distance. This is because we don’t provide accommodation for these events (except training) and we need to keep our costs to a minimum.

Will I get training and induction?

All volunteers (except professionals – see below) attend compulsory training as part of their induction.

Training covers the basic information needed for the role, as well as any giving you a chance to meet other volunteers. Training is free to attend and we cover your meals, accommodation and travel costs.

We also have additional optional training for Youth Support Volunteer Communicators and Additional Supporters. Again, these are free to attend and we cover all expenses.

Audiologists, Speech and Language Therapists and Teachers of the Deaf/Early Learning professionals are not required to attend training as you are already experts in your field. However, we recognise that you may not deliver presentations in your day-to-day role so if you feel you would benefit from attending training, please let us know.

Do I need to do a criminal record check?

Keeping children safe is paramount to the National Deaf Children’s Society.

Criminal record checks, or disclosure checks, tell us whether you have any previous criminal convictions, reprimands, cautions or anything else that might pose a threat to a child.

Only Youth Support Volunteers will need a criminal record check. This will be a DBS (England and Wales), PVG (Scotland) or Access NI (Northern Ireland) check depending on where you live. If you want to volunteer in Scotland, you will also need a PVG even if you already have another check.

These checks are currently free for volunteers and are renewed every 3 years. If you have a DBS check and register with the online update service, we will renew your check every year as long as you stay registered.

Further information about completing criminal record checks will be sent to you before training.  

Do I have to pay for my own expenses?

No. We never want volunteers to be out of pocket so we will reimburse costs such as travel expenses. We will also pay or provide for your meals and accommodation if appropriate.

All expenses for training are covered by us and training is free to attend.

We encourage volunteers to take public transport where possible as it is normally the more cost-effective option. As a charity, we need to make sure we keep our costs to a minimum. We do sometimes allow volunteers to travel in their own car, for example if public transport is not available or inconvenient. However, this is decided on a case-by-case basis and you should discuss this with the member of staff organising the event.

Do I need to know British Sign Language (BSL) to volunteer?

Each of roles have specific criteria, so please check the role pages to find out whether you are suitable for the role you are interested in.

If you are hearing and want to work directly with deaf children and young people, you can be a Youth Support Volunteer (YSV) Communicator. To be a YSV Communicator, you need a minimum of BSL Level 3 or equivalent (for example if you use BSL in your job). This is because one of the main tasks of the role involves communicating safety instructions into BSL. We therefore need to ensure that our volunteers are confident using BSL and have the appropriate skills.

If you don't have the required level of BSL to be a YSV Communicator, you can still support our organisation in other ways, like volunteering as a Community Support Volunteer Presenter.

If you aren’t sure whether your BSL level will be suitable, please get in touch with us at [email protected].

What do I have to wear on events?

Our volunteers all wear purple t-shirts on events. This is so you can be easily recognised as a volunteer for NDCS. We provide the t-shirts so you won’t need to find one yourself. We also have t-shirts in a range of sizes.

How will my communication needs be met when I'm volunteering?

We are proud that our volunteers have a diverse range of communication methods. We always try to ensure that we provide you with the appropriate communication support, such as BSL interpreters, palantypists and hearing loops. We cover the cost of this to give our volunteer the support they need to volunteer effectively.

Communication support may vary depending on the event so please discuss your communication needs with us.

Will I meet other volunteers on events?

Most of our events involve working with other volunteers, especially if you are a Youth Support Volunteer. However, you may sometimes be the only volunteer delivering a particular session or attending an event. This is especially true for our Community Support Volunteers who can be the only representative of NDCS at an event.

You will always be put in touch with the staff member organising the event. They will answer your questions and give you advice and support. The Volunteering team are also on hand to support you so please get in touch with us at [email protected] if you have any questions, comments or concerns.

Who can I contact if I have questions?

If you have any questions about volunteering, please feel free to email us: [email protected]. Please note that we are open Monday-Friday 9am-5pm. We aim to reply to your email within 3 working days.

If you would like to speak to someone about your application to volunteer, please contact one of our Volunteer Recruitment Officers on 0121 234 9829 or 0121 234 6221.