Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about volunteering with the Trussell Trust and the food banks in our network. If your question isn’t answered or you need more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
How do I volunteer at my local food bank?
You can use the find a food bank map to contact them directly, or register your interest on our volunteering page. Many food banks currently don’t need food bank centre volunteers, but they’ll be able to tell you what roles are available and how else you could help.
My local food bank doesn’t have any volunteering opportunities, how can I help?
From organising a food collection to taking on a charity challenge, there are lots of other ways you can help us end the need for food banks in the UK. Donating food is really important, and signing up for our latest campaign can help us push for long-term change.
I’ve contacted my local food bank and haven’t received a reply.
At certain times of year, food banks can be extremely busy. Many rely heavily or wholly on volunteers with only one or two members of staff.
If you haven’t heard back within a few weeks, please forward your email to email@example.com. The central volunteering team will try to get in touch with the food bank for you.
What support will I get as a volunteer?
Every volunteer has a main contact either at the Trussell Trust or at their local food bank. They will help induct you into your role, answer any questions you have, and support you if there are any problems.
You’ll get training that is relevant to your role. This may be delivered internally at the food bank, or may involve going on an external course e.g. on food hygiene.
Do you reimburse expenses?
Your local food bank may or may not have its own expenses policy. Please check with them directly before you start volunteering.
Will volunteering affect my benefits?
If you’re receiving benefits, including means-tested benefits, you can volunteer for as many hours as you want as long as you continue to meet the rules or conditions of getting that benefit.
For example, if you’re receiving Jobseekers’ Allowance, you can volunteer as long as you meet the conditions of your claim (e.g. remain available for and actively seeking a full-time paid job). If you’re receiving Carers’ Allowance, you need to continue to provide at least 35 hours a week of care to the person who is receiving the disability benefit. For Jobseekers’ Allowance, Carers’Allowance, and Income Support, you should inform the jobcentre that you are volunteering.
Are there any age restrictions?
For most roles, volunteers need to be over 18. There might be circumstances where volunteers under 18 might be able to take part (e.g. while completing a Duke of Edinburgh award). Please check with your local food bank first.
Volunteers under 18 must receive parental permission before starting their role.
Can I volunteer if I have a criminal record?
A criminal record doesn’t necessarily prevent you from volunteering, but we’ll need to make an assessment of any risks, both to you and to others. The nature of the offence, how long ago it was committed, and its relevance to the volunteering role will be considered alongside what support and reasonable measures can be offered to you.
What if I have a physical or learning disability?
We are committed to embracing diversity and promoting equality and inclusion. As a volunteer, you can expect to be treated fairly regardless of gender, sexual orientation, age, parental or marital status, disability, religion, colour, race, ethnic or national origins, or socio-economic background. If you have any health conditions or additional needs that might impact your volunteering, please let us know so that we can provide the support you need for your role.