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Volunteer Resources

Mental Health 

Essential resources available to help frontline teams manage stress, prevent burnout and boost personal resilience.

Notebook and Pen

DBS Guidance

DBS Guidance Leaflets

How DBS Checks Work

Requirements for Enhanced DBS Checks

Working with Children in the Charity Sector

Working with Adults in the Charity Sector

DBS Practice: Case Study

Incorporating a good DBS practice is essential for any charity that works with children or vulnerable adults.  However, establishing a practice can raise many questions and potential costs as well.  Do you have to do a DBS check on every volunteer?  What is the best way of doing this?   How regularly do you need to do these? 


At our food bank, we had almost 60 volunteers who worked for us on a regular basis.  We decided that DBS checks were required for all regular volunteers who interacted with food bank visitors (doing registration, helping with support, taking orders), but not needed for volunteers who focused on other areas (packing bags, deliveries, stock rotation etc). 


We used an online service, Disclosure Services, to get a standard check for the relevant volunteers (Enhanced DBS check not required, as per government guidelines).  We used this one, as it was relatively cheap (currently £33 per application) and easy to do online, but other services are available.   A standard check usually comes back within 5 days, so this process was easy to incorporate, once a volunteer had completed their trial period. 


Some volunteers had existing DBS certificates from their work or other volunteering roles.  In this case, we accepted these existing certificates, rather than complete a new check, but kept a copy of the certificate on file and made a note of renewal date (whilst technically there is no expiry date for DBS, best practice dictates that a certificate should be renewed at least every 3 years).

 Volunteer Management and Training Resources


How to Manage Your Charity's Volunteers


Training and Developing Volunteers



How to Write a Volunteer Handbook


Training Best Practise for Food Banks

Good training of volunteers leads to a smoother operation and also helps people to feel valued and that the role they’re doing is important.  In addition to the guidance above, here are some of the things you can do:

a) Develop an onboarding process for new volunteers.  This could include

  • Talking through the Volunteer Handbook (see link above on how to write one)

  • Having one or two induction sessions where the volunteer experiences different parts of the operation

  • Shadowing key volunteers 

  • Completing a DBS check if required 


b). Identify mandatory and additional training requirements

  • Mandatory training could include things like Suicide Awareness training for volunteers who are involved in support areas; food safety training for those involved in the preparation of food

  • For additional training, many local authorities offer training, often in conjunction with Citizens Advice (e.g. in Wandsworth there is an “Advice First Aid” programme, which covers topics such as Universal Credit, Employment Law etc)


c) Establish regular check ins with all volunteers


d) Hold regular volunteer meetings to give volunteers a chance to feedback on practices and offer ideas.  This is also a chance for management to share news and thoughts, plus discuss longer term initiatives such as Cash First.

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