Q: What is the Buckinghamshire Volunteer Matching Service (VMS)?
A: The Buckinghamshire Volunteer Matching Service (VMS) helps people who want to volunteer in Buckinghamshire find the right role for them and helps organisations find the volunteers that they need.
Q: How does the VMS work?
A: Volunteers register with the service on the Community Impact Bucks website, providing some basic information about their location, availability and volunteering preferences.
One of the VMS team (who are all volunteers themselves) then telephones each volunteer to talk through current volunteering opportunities, which organisations have asked the VMS to help them fill. If the team member can’t reach the volunteer by phone, they will try to contact the volunteer by email.
If one of those opportunities is suitable, the VMS emails the volunteer with the contact details of the organisation that they are matched with. The volunteer then contacts the organisation direct to find out what the next steps are to volunteering in the role.
If there is no current volunteering opportunity that is suitable for the volunteer, the VMS will keep the volunteer’s details on record and bear them in mind as new requests for volunteers come in.
Q: What kinds of volunteer roles are available?
A: The range of opportunities available through the VMS changes all the time.
Here are some examples recent volunteering opportunities:
- Volunteer Drivers
- Shop Volunteers
- Volunteer befrienders
- Volunteer mentors
- Gardening volunteers
- Administration volunteers
- Youth Club volunteer helpers
- Volunteer museum stewards
- Hospital volunteers
You can see many of the current opportunities listed on the Examples of volunteer roles currently available.
Q: Does the VMS have any age restrictions?
A: The VMS is primarily for volunteers who are over 18, as most volunteering opportunities that we process are only open to over-18s. The Service does accept registrations from 13-17 year old volunteers but it may take longer to find those younger volunteers a suitable role.
Q: How much time does volunteering take up?
A: The time commitment depends on the volunteering role. VMS team members always try to establish how much time each volunteer can offer and on which days and would only suggest volunteering opportunities that fit with those hours.
Q: Can I be matched to more than one volunteering role?
A: Yes. If you have the time available and like the sound of more than one role suggested by the VMS team, you can be matched to each of them.
If you have come to the end of a volunteering role and would like another, the VMS help find another match – just email us on email@example.com.
Q: What happens once I am matched?
A: You will receive an email from the VMS giving you details of who to contact in the organisation which has requested volunteers for that role. The next step is for you to make contact with the charity direct to say that you are interested in the volunteer role.
Because of data protection rules, the VMS does not provide that organisation with any of your details aside from your name and, in with your permission, what you have told us about any DBS check you may have had i.e. the level of DBS check and who would verify the check.
Q: Can I leave if the role I am matched to isn’t for me?
A: Yes, of course. There’s no obligation to stay in a role if it isn’t right for you. Speak with your volunteer supervisor in the organisation and let them know how you feel.
If you would like the VMS to find you a new role, just email us on firstname.lastname@example.org .
Q: Can the VMS help me find a paid job with a charity or voluntary organisation?
A: No, the VMS only helps people find voluntary, unpaid roles.
Q: Can I volunteer if I have a disability?
A: Yes, many organisations can provide a variety of access and support needs. The VMS can help with initial questions you may have about any particular role, as we are already in contact with the organisation.
Q: Do I need a DBS check?
A: Whether you need a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check or not will depend on the volunteer role. The VMS will tell you whether or not a DBS is required when discussing volunteering opportunities with you, and some organisations will carry out their own DBS checks when you are matched with them. You can find further information on DBS and volunteering on Disclosure & Barring website.
Q: Can I volunteer if I have a criminal conviction?
A: Many people with a criminal conviction do volunteer, however, it may limit the roles you can do depending on the nature of the conviction. The VMS can help you find a suitable volunteering role.