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Planning Retirement Online

Voluntary Work in Later Life

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If you feel that you have something to offer - advice, experience, or just time, then there are lots of ways to help. But how do you get in touch with voluntary organisations? Below we provide a small selection of UK organisations that may be of interest to you. Also, take a look at our Guide to Voluntary Work. Firstly, however, there are many local sources of information:

  • Your local council will probably have someone who is responsible for liaising with local voluntary organisations, so ask them.
  • The library will also have information
  • The local paper will, from time to time at least, have advertisements by local voluntary organisations
  • Many high streets now have a premises run by the local voluntary organisations and staffed by volunteers who will advise you of opportunities in your area.

Go to and search for your nearest volunteer bureau. The web site enables you to search by post code for any particular interest you have in the voluntary sector. Many of the organisations that you will find are members of The National Association of Volunteer Bureaux, whom you will see mentioned on many of the web sites.

Let us know of any organisations that you know about or with whom you're involved and that want volunteers. Laterlife will do its part in helping those organisations get helpers. Voluntary work can be incredibly rewarding and if you're someone who wants to give something back to the community, then it is definitely something that will give you immense satisfaction. But you need to think carefully about it before you take the plunge so that you make the right choice for you and therefore for the organisation involved.

Rotary Club Cumbria and Lancashire

Rotary International are looking for volunteers in Cumbria and Lancashire

Planning your lifestyle change?

Why not try new activities, make new friends
and support your local community?

What is it?

  • One of the largest voluntary service organisations in the world
  • A diverse organisation open to everyone
  • Where you can give as much time as you wish
  • Rotary is in your town, helping causes up your street
  • Rotary combines friendship with networking

What do we do?

Work in the local community

We work with other organisations to help with the develop of young children; to give carers or disadvantaged or disabled children time for themselves; host awareness days for local residents.

Promoting peace

Rotary also helps people all across the world. We help to foster understanding within and across cutlures; fight disease; provide clean water, sanitation and hygiene; saving mothers and children; supporting education; and growing local economies.

Youth services

Rotary is helping to energise the next generation of community leaders for children from 14-17. We help young people to develop their potential and inspire them to become cause-minded volunteers.


We take part in charity walks, cycling, golf, ten-pin bowling, skittles, darts, domnies, table-tennis, snooker and much more!


Rotary...Changing the world for over 100 years

Volunteers Networkers Leaders

Get in touch now!

We are looking for organised volunteers with a great attention to detail to help with our office admin!

We host seven galleries including our Art Gallery, temporary gallery, interactive old kitchen and Chair Gallery displaying our famous chair collection.
Find out more about us and our collection via our website

Wycombe Museum and our volunteers

Volunteers are a vital and valued part of the Wycombe Museum family. We value every skill that people bring and every minute that people give to us, and endeavour to have every volunteer feel appreciated and enjoy the time they spend helping us. We strive to have a relationship with our volunteers based on mutual respect and understanding.


What is involved?

Everything at Wycombe Museum is becoming bigger- the number of people visiting and engaging, our events programme, the number of staff and volunteers, the range of shop stock and so much more! So, we need some help keeping everything organised and running smoothly.
Some things you might be helping with…

  • Volunteer Admin Management
  • Identifying opportunities for volunteer involvement
  • Planning volunteer recruitment campaigns
  • Managing volunteer vacancies by advertising and promoting roles
  • Overseeing the volunteer application process
  • Meeting potential volunteers and providing information about roles
  • Matching potential volunteers with suitable roles
  • Promoting a culture of volunteering best practice 

Who would be supporting me?

Volunteer Manager, would be your main point of contact.
On the day, the Duty Manager and other staff members will be on hand to help and support you.


Where and when would I be volunteering?

Volunteers will be based at Wycombe Museum located on Priory Avenue, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, HP13 6PX.


What is Wycombe Museum looking for?

We are looking for an organised, computer savvy and enthusiastic person who is happy to get stuck in, learn new skills and adhere to Museum policy.
We would like volunteers to wear something smart-casual, but as an office-based role we are flexible with this.


What skills and qualifications do I need?

All you need is enthusiasm and a willingness to learn- you will have some help learning everything else. An interest in Wycombe History is a bonus! If you do have any experience with administration, telephone systems and Microsoft Office- please do let us know.

international friendsOffer your hand for international friendship! Welcome an adult international student into your home for a day, weekend, or 3 days at Christmas and do your bit to make the world a little friendlier. Many adult international students from across the world would love to spend a few days with you, learning about British culture, experiencing UK home-life, and telling you about their own country. Voluntary hosting is a unique and fun way of meeting new people, learning about different cultures, and making someone far from home feel welcome in the UK.

international friendsHOST was set up in 1987 by the British Council, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and Victoria League. The charity promotes international friendship and cultural exchange by arranging short homestays. Hosting is available to anyone with a friendly, welcoming attitude and an interest in learning about other cultures and countries. You do not need to live near a university and the role is flexible to fit around your schedule. For more information or to express your interest, visit, email, or call 0207 739 6292.

There are many opportunities to make a difference to patient and family care at Wakefield Hospice. You could be offering hospitality support directly to patients, helping to keep the Hospice and its grounds welcoming and attractive or helping to raise funds through retail and events.

Your time commitment can be flexible and we welcome enquiries from anyone over 16. Enthusiasm and a desire to help is all we ask. Please call 01924 331400 or visit



Recruiting now!

Café Volunteer: Saughton Prison Visitor Centre

The visitor centre is here to provide a welcoming child friendly space for families, offering relevant support to make visiting the prison easier.
Barnardo’s manage the centre, working in partnership with The Scottish Prison Service and other voluntary and statutory agencies supporting the children, families and friends of prisoners in HMP Edinburgh.
All family members and friends visiting HMP Edinburgh have to book into the visitor centre 30 minutes before their visit begins.
Helping serve and prepare, tea, coffee, soup , sandwiches etc to the families that are visiting.
Times are varied.

Parent Befriender: Across Edinburgh

They will be able to provide both emotional and practical support.
Through respect, encouragement and support, the aim is for the befriender to help the parent increase their confidence and self-esteem enabling them to deal with any difficulties that they may have. The befriending is about building positive one to one relationships with parents from a disadvantaged background who are facing difficulties in their roles/lives. Help them to develop positive parenting practices, and improving their confidence in their relationships with their children.
The volunteer can help introduce and encourage making use of local community resources.

Child Befriender: Across Edinburgh

Barnardo's Edinburgh Community Support Services provides support to children and families experiencing isolation and discrimination due to a wide variety of issues. The children who are referred to this service are identified as displaying social, emotional and behavioural difficulties.  
Befrienders provide positive, non-judgemental, role models, for primary aged children, who are experiencing significant difficulties at school and/or home, through friendly support and reliable contact in a safe, trusting relationship. By volunteering to become a Befriender YOU can help a child, who needs a little extra support, to shine and realise their full potential.

Contact Kat Geoghegan by email or phone 0131 446 7000.


Sunbeam Fostering Agency

Sunbeam Fostering Agency is currently Recruiting Foster Carers!

  • An opportunity to make a positive difference to children's lives
  • Commitment to excellence
  • Up to £650 allowance per child per week
  • 24 hours support / 7 days a week / 365 days a year
  • Excellent ongoing training programme

There are many children and young people
who need the support of foster carers

What you need to start fostering

  • A spare bedroom
  • Maturity, physical and emotional stamina
  • Ability to see beyond children's behaviour and link it to past trauma where applicable
  • Empathy and ability to nurture children and/or young people
  • Ability to work with a child's parents, Local Authority, Sunbeam and other professionals


Why should you foster a child?

At present, there is a large demand for foster carers who are able to care for sibling groups, teenagers and children & young people with complex needs.

We need foster carers from a wide range of backgrounds, races and religion. This is because all children have their own unique and individual background and heritage. You do not need to be married, own a house or have children of your own but to be strong, resilient and to have a spare bedroom.

Fostering is the opportunity to make a positive difference to children’s lives.

Learn more of apply on the Sunbeam website.
Email applications to or phone on 0208 799 0930


Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice

Volunteers needed!

At Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice, we care for children and young adults with life-shortening and life-threatening conditions from South Yorkshire, North Nottinghamshire, North Derbyshire and part of North Lincolnshire. We are currently supporting around 250 families, both in our hospice and in family homes. In just one year, Bluebell Wood provides more than 50,000 of hours of care. We are one of only 53 children’s hospices nationally.

We support the whole family through the toughest of times, including end of life care and treatment, music therapy, counselling, sibling support groups and home visits. 

It costs more than £4m to keep our doors open for families. Bluebell Wood receives around 10% of its funding from government sources. The rest is raised through donations, sponsorships, support groups, events and charity shops.

We currently need volunteers for our ten charity shops in Sheffield, Chapeltown (Sheffield), Bakewell, Chesterfield, Dinnington (Rotherham), Hellaby (Rotherham) Rotherham, Wombwell (Barnsley) and Worksop. We are also looking for volunteers to help at events or to form new support groups. Any other volunteer opportunities are posted on our website as they arise.

If you're interested in learning more, please visit or contact Terry Lowell (Volunteer Co-ordinator) on 01909 508116 or email

Rainbow Trust

Volunteers needed...

Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity is the leading charity in England providing bespoke emotional and practical support direct to families who have a seriously ill child. There is no other organisation that provides the range of services that we do. Rainbow Trust Family Support Workers support the whole family, from their child’s diagnosis, during treatment and, if needed, through bereavement and beyond.
We are looking for volunteers from Bristol to assist the Rainbow Trust Family Support team and the Jessie May (Children’s hospice at home) team. You will be supporting families located in Bristol at home, in hospital and in the community.
There are a range of volunteer roles available including

  • providng very practical support such as ironing, gardening or shopping for a family either regularly or occasionally as needed
  • offering social support to brothers and sisters of the child who is ill at home or while the family are in hospital

No previous experience is needed just a friendly approach and empathy for families in stressful circumstances. We ask you to commit to volunteering with us for a year. We provide training to make sure you are fully equipped for the kind of volunteering you want to do and ongoing supervision as well as a regular opportunity to meet up with other volunteers and discuss how things are going.  

To find out more about the roles available please email or call 07535250785 to discuss it further. Please note - this role may not be suitable for anyone who has suffered a personal bereavement within the last two years.

Selection Process:

Enrolment Form, References, Initial telephone Interview, Disclosure and Barring Service Checks (DBS), Training and Final face to face Interview.

Donate your professional skills

REACHDo you have professional experience in areas such as management, IT, finance, project management, communications, mentoring, fundraising, accountancy, marketing or HR? If so, please consider donating your skills to a charity which relies on experience like yours to grow, prosper, and in some cases, survive.

For over 32 years, the charity Reach has been helping retired, skilled people find interesting and challenging opportunities with voluntary organisations where their talents are urgently needed and highly valued. Busy people with a just a small amount of time to give and an interest in continuing to use and develop their career skills for the benefit of a worthwhile cause are welcome to take advantage of this free service

Our series Reports from the Reach files profiles different people and the voluntary work activities they got involved in via Reach - this can give you a real feel for the variety of ways you might become involved.

For more information about the wide range of volunteering opportunities they offer throughout the UK contact REACH on 020 7582 6543 or see the REACH website.


Revitalise has volunteering and sighted guide opportunities. Its main activities are providing breaks for disabled people and carers at five accessible sites throughout the UK and running holidays for visually impaired people.

They are always looking for volunteers at the centres to provide support and companionship for their guests and for sighted guides to accompany their visually impaired guests on holiday.

Volunteering in the UK

Go to for an overview of volunteering in the UK. The NCVO (National Council for Voluntary Organisations) is the co-ordinating body for voluntary organisations in this country. They have a diverse community of over 12,500 member organisations – a third of the voluntary sector workforce.

VSOIf you want to volunteer for overseas work, go to Volunteers can be aged up to 75 and, since their merger with BESO in 2005, they now offer short-term assignments. Volunteering overseas can be tremendously rewarding and, if you feel adventurous, look at the web site.


Another interesting site for voluntary work overseas is gap36.

This organisation provides volunteering opportunities abroad for grown ups, whether on a career break or if you're retired.

National Association for Voluntary and Community Action

The National Association for Voluntary and Community Action

is, to quote from them, 'the national voice of local voluntary and community sector infrastructure in England. Our 360 members work with 140,000 local community groups and voluntary organisations which provide services, regenerate neighbourhoods, increase volunteering and tackle discrimination, in partnership with local public bodies'. To find out more, visit the website and you will be able to access voluntary organisations in your area.

Toc H 

This is a Christian backed voluntary society, but being a Christian is not necessary if you want to help. On this site you can find out more information, how TOC H is organised and how you can join.

Jubilee Sailing TrustThe Jubilee Sailing Trust

If you would like to take part in a very active and enjoyable pastime together with disabled people then the Jubilee Sailing Trust exists for just this purpose: "To bring together able-bodied and physically disabled people through the medium of tall ship sailing and building"

Resonsible Cultural Experiences/><a href=Responsible Cultural Experiences

Do you want an “experience of a lifetime”?

While working side by side with local people, volunteers will experience the warm culture of the Far East. This program is aimed at all walks of life but what is apparent is that people in the 50 years + bracket have a wealth of experience and skills from which the local people could benefit.

RamDassBritish Society of Gerontology

If you have an interest in research on ageing the British Society of Gerontology aims to promote the understanding of human ageing and later life through research and communication. It seeks to foster the application of this knowledge to the improvement of the quality of life in old age.

The National Trust

You can volunteer to do a wide range of activities with the National Trust, from gardening to being a room warden. Or you can go on working holidays that help the Trust to maintain their properties.

Carefree Kids welcomes volunteers who are interested in providing one-to-one support to vulnerable children through therapeutic play or supporting the organization in other ways, such as by offering time for administrative, fundraising, promotional and other tasks.

Carefree Kids provides free training and supervision for volunteers. No formal qualifications are required - only patience, openness, commitment, reliability and warmth. The time commitment is usually no more than 6 hours per week (Monday to Friday) for those seeing one child, and less for those in training.

Please contact Carefree Kids if you would like to be involved in, or to support, any aspect of their work. They are London based and currently work in the borough of Waltham Forest and neighbouring boroughs.

Office Address: Community Place, 806 High Road, Leyton, E10 6AE
Phone: 020 8558 7799

BEN, a national charity, provides care and support for anyone who works or has worked in any of the automotive industries. This provision also extends to dependants. BEN provides friendship, advice, emotional support and financial assistance to more than 15 000 people living in their own homes throughout the UK and Ireland. They also run four nursing and residential centres across the country, providing a home to more than 350 people of different ages and needs.

For more information about BEN and other current volunteer opportunities, visit their website.


Depaul UK, a national Youth Homelessness Charity have been commissioned by several boroughs of London (Lewisham, Enfield, Tower Hamlets) to set up a Supported Lodgings Scheme. The scheme provides safe and stable accommodation to young, vulnerable people in the homes of local people. These amazing members of the community open their doors and allow young people to experience a welcoming family environment whilst learning the skills they need in order to move on to independent living. The charity has found that a supportive domestic environment is more suitable for some young people than more common options such as hostels, bed & breakfasts or foyers. Furthermore, research has shown that young people achieve better outcomes in education, employment and personal development with the presence of a positive role model.

Find out more here.

Cruse Bereavement CareCruse Bereavement Care. This charity provides bereavement support to the bereaved in Birmingham. They provide volunteers with extensive training, supervision and support.

For more information visit their website.

Butterfly TrustThe Butterfly Trust provides support in the community for people affected by cystic fibrosis throughout Scotland.

Their team of trained volunteers provides face to face support services that include emotional support, help to negotiate official systems in regard to housing, education and employment issues, mentoring for young people with cystic fibrosis, massage therapy for young adults with the condition and transport to hospital appointments for people who are not sick enough to qualify for mobility help and cannot afford a car.

Visit their website for more information.

Carers LinkCarers Link provide support for carers and some of the opportunities that are available include providing telephone support to carers, helping at carers' support groups, helping at carers' training events and courses, providing home computer support for carers and project support. You need to have a good sense of humour, be empathic and be a good listener. You will need to commit to 2/3 hours every week or two weeks.

If you are interested have a look at their website.

Community of Senior Volunteers

CSV – RSVP believes that everyone has something significant to offer their community.  They strive to create quality opportunities for people to volunteer. The Edinburgh Schools Volunteer Project uses the skills of retired people and those aged 50 years plus, by placing volunteers in primary schools in Edinburgh. Volunteers spend a few hours each week in the same school listening to children read and helping with other activities.

Volunteers are placed in a primary school close to where they live, or further away, if preferred, and go into school for a few hours each week. They are under the supervision of class teachers and are asked to make a commitment of at least one term to the project. School volunteers have support from a School Volunteer Organiser and regular social gatherings are held to bring volunteers together to share their experiences.

To find out more visit their website or contact Volunteer Centre Edinburgh, 45 Queensferry Street Lane, Edinburgh EH2 4PF
Telephone:  0131 225 0630

Home StartHome-Start is a national network of charities which support families who have at least one child under five and are experiencing stress or crisis. They recruit and train volunteers who are parents or grandparents to provide two to three hours of practical and emotional support to a family in their own home every week.

Find out more here.

Home Link

Home Link is very similar to Home Start in the work that it does and the help that it gives. It provides befrienders for families with young children, who visit the family for two hours a week. Home Link provides training and the support of professional staff. You can find out more by visiting their website.

Royal British Legion

The Royal British Legion are looking for help in three ways. They need poppy collectors; volunteer caseworkers who answer phone calls and visit people in their homes to identify and assess the need for assistance; and hospital and housebound visitors who provide a link to the outside world. Go to their website for more details.

ThriveThrive is a small national charity that helps disabled people make use of gardening to change their lives.

To find out more visit their website.


Childline helps children and young people 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Becoming a Childline volunteer means being there when a child needs you the most. Just 4 hours out of your week can help thousands of children and young people. Sometimes all they need is someone like you who has the time to listen. 

They also have a brand-new email counselling role: you can make a difference by answering emails from children and young people who need help and support. Visit their website for more information.

Young EnterpriseYoung Enterprise has a vision “that all young people will have the opportunity to gain personal experience of how business works, understand the role it plays in providing employment and creating prosperity, and be inspired to improve their own prospects, and the competitiveness of the UK.” In order to achieve this vision, more volunteers are needed each year.

Young Enterprise operates a number of programmes for young people on a learning-by-doing principle and volunteers work alongside experienced teachers and lecturers showing the young people how to undertake a range of business tasks, including running a real company.

Find out more at Young Enterprise.

prevent breast cancer charity ukThis charity is a breast cancer prevention charity that is based in the Nightingale Centre and Genesis Prevention Centre at Wythenshawe hospital in Manchester.

The centre has gardens all the way round its perimeter and several court yards. They need volunteers for two or three hours a week to help maintain them.

For more information on how you can get involved,  contact the Prevent Breast Cancer team on 0161 291 4400 or visit their website.


Each branch of the Samaritans is self-funding and there are always vacancies for listening, support or fund-raising volunteers.
Visit the website or get in touch if you have any queries about volunteering:
Phone: 03705 627282

Approach: Supporting your life, your way

Approach provides services to meet the  needs of older people with dementia or  mental health needs along with adults  who are socially disadvantaged.
Approach are always looking for reliable and enthusiastic volunteers to help. So if you want a career in Social Care and need to improve your CV with great training opportunities please contact them.

They are currently looking for reliable and enthusiastic volunteers to support their administration team. Responsibilities will include tasks such as typing, photocopying and filing. To find out more information and to apply for this role please click here.

For further details please contact Approach:
Phone: 01782 214999

Leukemia Research FoundationThe Leukemia Research Foundation is dedicated to conquering all blood cancers by funding research into their causes and cures, and enriching the quality of life of those touched by these diseases.

Volunteer opportunities vary from event and educational program support to packing goody bags, stuffing envelopes and collating patient education packets. Call 1.847.424.0600 for information or sign up online by clicking here.

There are so many ways to get involved, from cheering on a marathon runner to volunteering in our offices. Whether it's minutes or months, hours or days, the time you give really does matter.
Contact them through the Macmillan website.

Elders Voice: Supporting Older PeopleElders Voice is a small charity supporting older people living in Brent. They work hard to strengthen the local community and bring people together. At present they are looking for Trustees who are willing to join us on our mission of making the change in older peoples lives. Visit their website for more information.

Simply Fostering is a free national information and application service for people interested in becoming foster carers. Find out if you should apply, what’s required to foster young and older children, and how we can help you to get the best start in the fostering process.

Strictly speaking, fostering isn't voluntary work because you get paid for it, but we include it here because clearly it is the sort of activity for which you need commitment and belief.

If you are passionate about keeping your community safe and have skills or experience to share then we want to hear from you. Volunteering with them is rewarding and challenging. Take a stand - stand up to crime in your community by joining them and start volunteering with your local Crimestoppers team today. Get in touch with their volunteering team »


Whatever it is you would like to do, from administration to clearing ditches and ponds or building dry stone walls there will be an opening for you in the voluntary sector. It might not be immediately available or easy to find but a little persistence and patience will get you that opportunity sooner or later. Many people get immense satisfaction from volunteering and the feeling that they are putting something back into the community. Interestingly, BUPA says that volunteering helps people stay healthy - so that's an added benefit to volunteering. For more help, don't forget our Guide to Voluntary Work, which will give you some more detaild information on various aspects of voluntary work.

There are, of course, many voluntary organisations, both local and national, that are not mentioned above. They do excellent work in the community and their work provides a lifeline for many people, but they require volunteers in order to maintain their services. If you are involved with a voluntary organisation and would like to request help from visitors to then email us you website details at and we will add it to the section below.

For organisations that have contacted laterlife for our help in trying to encourage volunteers, go to our Guide to Voluntary Work . Also see our section on Jobs in Later Life

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