Volunteer FAQ

Find out more about volunteering with Oxfordshire Mind from our existing volunteers and peer supporters.

You can always contact our Volunteering and Peer Support Team if you have any questions or want to discuss volunteering, but below you’ll find some of the most frequently asked questions about volunteering with Oxfordshire Mind.

Are you currently accepting applications?

We currently have a backlog of volunteer applicants, so at present we are not taking on any new applications to volunteer with us. We look forward to welcoming new applicants in the future, and in the meantime please feel free to get in touch with us at volunteering@oxfordshiremind.org.uk if you have any questions.

Can I volunteer if I have a mental health condition?

Yes. We believe that lived experience is a valuable tool in supporting others, so we encourage those who have experience with a mental health condition to apply to volunteer. 

However, we also believe that your own wellbeing should always be the priority, so we’ll make sure you’re well yourself before you commit to volunteering, as well as supporting you throughout the placement. 

Can I volunteer if I’m a current Oxfordshire Mind service user?

Yes. We actively encourage current service users to get involved with volunteering. We may ask you to volunteer in a different area to the one you are accessing, but we’ll always support you to find a suitable placement.

What will the volunteer training involve?

We ask all prospective volunteers to come to a volunteer induction training session. First and foremost this is a chance to get to know Oxfordshire Mind, and meet some fellow volunteers. You’ll learn about a range of topics including:

• An overview of Oxfordshire Mind

• Mental Health Awareness

• Equality and Diversity

• Confidentiality

• Wellbeing.

Depending on the type of volunteering you’ll be doing, you’ll then be provided with additional role-specific training. Take a look at our volunteer roles to see what further training is required.

How old do I have to be to volunteer?

To volunteer for Oxfordshire Mind you must be over 18. 

Do you offer work experience?

Unfortunately we do not currently offer student placements or work experience placements. 

Can I still volunteer if I have a criminal record?

A criminal record won’t necessarily prevent you from volunteering with us, and we encourage anybody who is interested to apply. We carry out a DBS check on all volunteers, and require criminal convictions to be disclosed at interview stage. We may need to discuss the nature of your conviction when we’re deciding whether a placement is suitable. 

Do you have any opportunities at evenings and weekends?

Yes. Each of our roles have different schedules and time commitments, and we have several roles that take place during evenings and weekends. To see when each role takes place, please visit our page on volunteer roles. 

What is peer support and how is it different to other volunteer roles? 

Peer support volunteers are people with lived experience of mental health conditions who want to support others in a group setting as part of their recovery. They volunteer within our peer support groups, supporting people by offering empathy, understanding and encouragement. As a peer supporter you are also a member of the group, which means that as well as giving support you can also receive support when you need it. Some peer support groups are based around a specific activity like music, art, cooking, gardening or reading whilst other groups will simply involve chatting and listening to people over a cup of tea. At its core, peer support is about using your own experience in a meaningful, positive way by supporting others.

Is there a minimum time commitment? 

Each role varies in terms of minimum time commitment though generally it is between 1-4 hours a week. Please read the role descriptions for full details. 

Do I have to commit to regular hours? 

Some roles require a regular weekly commitment, whilst others are more flexible and ad hoc. Please read the role descriptions for full details. For most of our volunteer roles we ask for a commitment of at least three months once you have completed your training with us. 

How could volunteering benefit me?

People come to volunteering for different reasons. Here are just some of the benefits you may get from volunteering for Oxfordshire Mind:

• Learn new skills 

• Give back to your local community

• Build structure into your week as part of your recovery

• Use your hobbies and interests

• Gain experience to add to your CV when applying for jobs

• Meet new people

• Build up your confidence about going back into the workplace after a break from employment.

What support will I receive as a volunteer?

• Induction Training and specialist training for your role

• Ongoing one-to-one supervision with a named supervisor every 4-6 weeks

• Group Supervision every month with the Volunteering and Peer Support team. This includes a chance to share and reflect on how your placement is going with other volunteers, as well as receive ongoing training and wellbeing activities

• A fortnightly volunteer and peer support newsletter with details of upcoming events, jobs, news and top tips.

When is the next volunteer training?

We run training sessions for our different volunteer roles throughout the year (please note that during the pandemic we are running training less frequently). Get in touch to hear more about upcoming training dates.

I’m not sure which role is right for me, how can I find out more?

If you’ve read our role descriptions and are still not sure which role would suit you best, please get in touch with our friendly volunteering team. We will be happy to give you more details and answer any questions you may have.