FAQs

General

Is SVC part of Cardiff University?

Whilst SVC was set up by Cardiff University students, and was based in its Students' Union for many years SVC is an independent charity. This means that we are not part of any other organisation and are fully run by our own Board of Trustees.

How can I support SVC?

Thank you for your interest in supporting our us! As a charity we rely on people like you to maintain the work we do in the community. There are several ways you can support SVC, the first is to become one of our fantastic volunteers, or if you are already volunteering to consider becoming a Lead Volunteer or Trustee.

The other way you could support us is by helping to raise funds, whether that is through a donation or a fundraising event. If you are planning a fundraising event then please let us know so that we can give you some guidelines and support!

Do you have a Welsh version of your site?

We are currently working on a Welsh translation of the SVC site to make it fully accessible to Welsh speakers. Watch this space!

My organisation would like to work with you, who should I contact?

Thank you so much for your interest! Please contact the SVC manager to discuss your ideas with us.

Can I volunteer if I am not a student?

Yes! In the past SVC was purely for students however we now accept applications from anyone in the local community who would like to join us. We remain a student-led charity with the majority of our trustees being students, but we also have spaces on our Board of Trustees for community members, and highly value the expertise and knowledge they bring to the Board.

The Application Process

What is a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check?

The DBS - formerly known as Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) - carry out police and identity checks for all volunteers working in any capacity with children or vulnerable adults. Forms are available from the SVC office and a member of staff will help you through the process.

Do I need a DBS check for every project?

You will need a DBS check for a majority of our projects. Check with a member of staff if you are unsure.

Am I prohibited from volunteering if I have a criminal record?

If you have a criminal record, this does not automatically stop you from volunteering. If you are worried about something that you know will come up when the check is carried out, talk to a member of staff in the office. You will need to make an appointment with the SVC manager to discuss what happened and whether or not it will prohibit you from volunteering.

Can I apply part-way through the year?

If you have missed the main application deadline in the Autumn we would encourage you to contact our staff through generalenquiries@svcardiff.org or by popping into our office. There may still be projects where applications can be made and they will be able to advise you of the best way forward based on your interests.

Who can I use as a reference for my application?

We will need the details of two people who have know you for at least two years to provide us with good character references. They must not be related to you, or from your own peer group (i.e. no members of you family or friends).

Volunteering With Us

Who can volunteer at SVC?

SVC welcomes anyone who is interested in volunteering with vulnerable and disadvantaged people. This means you can be a student, employed, unemployed, retired or anyone else in the community!

What is the difference between a Volunteer and a Lead Volunteer?

Our Lead Volunteers are those who have taken on extra responsibilities in running the project they volunteer on. Our Lead Volunteers are key to the work that SVC does and their role is crucial in the success of our projects.

How do I join an SVC volunteering project?

Check out our 'Apply to Volunteer' page to see how to apply to join a project. If you have any further questions then please get in touch with us.

Do I have to commit for the whole academic year?

Yes. For most projects you will be working with vulnerable and disadvantaged people, so a regular commitment is important. If you are unsure about commitment talk to a member of SVC staff as we have a number of projects that don't require you to volunteer every week - some only require a commitment of once a fortnight or once a month. If you still don't think you can commit for the full year there are a number of one-off projects throughout the year which you can join, for example in Winter Week in December or Volunteering Week in February. Either way, we will find something for you to get involved with!

Do I have to attend the training for my chosen project?

Yes. The training ensures that you are fully prepared to start a project, its important that you attend. Some training sessions for certain projects will be compulsory and if you do not attend you will lose your place on the project. For all other training sessions we would strongly recommend that you attend. We are trying to provide you with the information to prepare you for volunteering and you may feel underprepared if you have not attended the training sessions appropriate for your project.

Can I volunteer on more than one project?

You can but we would recommend no more than 2 projects. It depends on which projects you would like to volunteer on and how much time you have available each week. You should seriously consider your availability, your timetable and how busy you will be throughout the year, so we highly encourage thinking about what it will be like volunteering across the whole year. Please speak to a member of staff for more information.

Do I get official accreditation for my volunteering?

Yes. There are a number of ways in which you can gain official recognition for your volunteering work. All members on our Board of Trustees and our Lead Volunteers who complete 200 hours of volunteering will receive a Millennium Volunteers Award of Excellence signed by the First Minister.

There are several levels of certification awarded by SVC: Level 1 Certification of Volunteering: Volunteer Level 2 Certification of Volunteering: Lead Volunteer Level 3 Certification of Volunteering: Trustee As long as you have shown commitment to your volunteering project and have been reliable throughout the year you will be eligible for certification.

Can I volunteer with SVC over the summer?

Some of our projects will be available over the summer, so have a chat with the staff member who coordinates the projects you are interested in to find out. Otherwise you could look at other organisaitions such as Cardiff Voluntary Community Service or UNA Exchange for overseas volunteering. You can also keep an eye on our social media pages where we will post any opportunities that come up over the summer!

Will I be reimbursed for my travel?

Yes. We don't think you should have to pay to help other people, so we will reimburse your travel expenses for your project. There are guidelines for claiming expenses which you will receive once you have applied, however if you have any questions at all then just let us know.

International Students

Can international volunteers apply?

Yes, absolutely! We warmly welcome volunteers of all backgrounds and nationalities, but make sure to talk to our staff as there may be some extra steps to your application.

How do I apply if I am an international student?

You will need to apply with the application form and DBS check as described in our 'Become a Volunteer' section. If you have been a UK resident for less than 5 years you will also need to provide a criminal record check from your home country. You will also need to prove your right to work/volunteer in the UK.

How do I get a criminal record check from my home country?

We will only need this if you have lived in the UK less than 5 years. A criminal record check may be called something different overseas such as a Police Check, a Certificate of Good Conduct or a Good Behaviour Record. As all countries are different, the best things to do would be to call your Embassy in London, explain your situation and what you need the criminal record check for and to find out what you need to do to get one. Unfortunately, SVC cannot obtain the check for you and you will need to do this yourself.

How do I prove my right to work/volunteer in the UK?

If you are a UK/EU citizen you are automatically eligible and your passport will be proof of this.

If you are a non-EU citizen you should have a Visa to allow you to study in the UK. If you have a Tier 4 Visa you will be restricted to a maximum of 20 hours per week of paid work or volunteering. (Please remember, if you also have a job or take part in other voluntary activities you must make sure that, combined with SVC activities, this comes to no more than 20 hours per week.) If you have a Student Visitor Visa you will not be eligible for our long-term volunteering projects but you can get involved with our one-off events. Talk to a member of staff about what volunteering you can take part in.