Information for Volunteers

The principle of volunteering is offering your time for free to causes you believe in. However, in doing so, there is an unwritten agreement between you as a volunteer and SCA as a provider of opportunities. This page outlines the basic information relevant to volunteers. However, we also ask that you abide by our policies and procedures which can be found in the Policies section of the website.

Accessibility Statement
Background Checks - DBS Checks and References
Rights and Responsibilities of Volunteers
Accreditation
Confidentiality
Expenses
Training
Volunteer Support
Insurance


Accessibility Statement

Student Community Action is an organisation which values diversity and inclusion at its heart. We actively encourage applications from volunteers of any gender identity, race, ability, religion, or nationality. If you have any questions or concerns, or ways that we could support you better, then please do get in touch!

Office Access Statement

The SCA Office is in the basement of the Cambridge Student Union building (17 Mill Lane). There is wheelchair access via a lift. There is padded seating, an accessible toilet, a gender-neutral toilet, natural light and blue badge parking is available across the road on Trumpington Street, in front of Ede and Ravenscroft. For training and events, we can request access to a Hearing Loop, so please do contact us in advance if you would like to use it.


Background checks - DBS Checks and References

Due to the vulnerable nature of the children and adults whom we work with, all volunteers working in schools, or on a one-to-one basis with clients must undergo a DBS criminal record check. Please do not be put off by this, it is a simple procedure, designed to protect both the client(s) that you will be working with and yourselves. Having a criminal record will not necessarily bar you from working on our projects. Please be assured that only relevant offences will be taken into account.

We also ask for details of two referees (via our online form). They must not be related to you, or from your own peer group and you must have known them for at least 1 year. They will be sent a short character reference form.

All references and personal details are treated confidentially and, where appropriate, according to the Data Protection Act and/or DBS requirements


Rights and Responsibilities of Volunteers

All SCA members have basic rights outlined in our constitution. These include the right to stand for office on the Executive Committee, and to vote at Elections and General Meetings.
We will

  • Not discriminate against you on any of the grounds set out in our Accessibility Statement and Equal Opportunities Policy.
  • Enable you to choose the sort of voluntary work you do, within the limits of availability and suitability.
  • Give you a clear description of your work, and consult you over any proposed changes that may affect your work.
  • Provide appropriate training.
  • Operate on the basis that your personal health and safety is paramount at all times.
  • Inform you of the level of insurance cover you have when working on any project.
  • Put you in touch with your point of contact at SCA, and enable you to approach them or the SCA staff to talk through any concerns.
  • Keep you informed of SCA activities and of development and change in the organisation.
  • Help you to make a complaint that will be investigated by the Executive Committee if you feel you have been mistreated within SCA.
  • Ensure you are not out of pocket by reimbursing appropriate travel costs and expenses. See the expenses section for further details

You will

  • Remember that you have made a commitment to SCA and the client(s) you work with.
  • Turn up when you have agreed to, and give warning if you will be unavailable when you are expected.
  • Inform SCA and your client(s) when you will cease volunteering.
  • Keep SCA up-to-date on how your volunteering is going.
  • Respect confidentiality.
  • Not discriminate against others in accordance with our Accessibility Statement and Equal Opportunities Policy.
  • Maintain any standards of conduct specified by a particular project.

Accreditation

If you want your voluntary work to count towards any scheme or accreditation, please let us know. However, please note that SCA is led by the needs of our clients so we are not always able to provide opportunities to suit the rigid volunteering requirements of some courses/programmes.


Confidentiality

Please keep the details of your volunteering placement confidential, especially any personal data (names, addresses and contact details of clients).

If you are told something in confidence while you are volunteering, you should respect that. If this puts you in a dilemma, seek advice from the person in charge of the project if appropriate or from one of SCA's staff. However, please note that you have a duty to report any safeguarding concerns, no matter how small, to our designated Safeguarding Officer Caroline (caroline@cambridgesca.org.uk).


Expenses

Volunteers should not be left out of pocket by volunteering. We are able to reimburse travel reasonable travel expenses (usually bus-fare) to any volunteer. We are now also able to cover taxi travel for students who have relevant accessibility requirements. If this applies to you, please ask SCA staff for more information (mail@cambridgesca.org.uk).

Some projects also have additional budgets for organising sessions. Check in with SCA staff to see if this is relevant to you.


Training

Volunteers working on SCA Projects are encouraged to undertake any necessary training.
We currently provide regular training sessions in:

First Aid
Safeguarding Vulnerable People
Introduction to Teaching and Tutoring

If there is any training that you feel would be useful, please do not hesitate to suggest this in the office.


Volunteer Support

SCA internal projects have a project leader or a staff contact who can provide support to volunteers. This information will me be made clear in your induction.

Please do let us know if you run into any issues. While we endeavour to check in regularly, we cannot continuously monitor your individual progress and rely on you to raise any pressing matters. Do not hesitate to contact the office if you ever feel uncomfortable or unable to meet your commitments; it is much better to address problems sooner rather than later.

We are here to support you and ensure that you enjoy your time with us.


Insurance

While volunteering with SCA, you are covered by comprehensive Charity Projects and Public Liability Insurance which protects you while you are working with SCA, covering most eventualities. For more information, please contact: mail@cambridgesca.org.uk.