Volunteering and COVID-19
Bear in mind that as a result of the pandemic, and the restrictions put in place to help stop the spread of the virus, some volunteering opportunities may be unavailable and travel abroad may be restricted. Check with the organisation you want to volunteer with to find out what's currently available.
If your career ambitions include working with children it's a good idea to get some relevant experience. Volunteering with children enables you to do just that, all while making a positive difference to young lives
Volunteering with children is extremely rewarding and opens doors to variety of careers in the charity, education and social care sectors. You can volunteer in schools, youth clubs or summer camps, lead the scouts or guides, or volunteer as a sports coach.
However, if you're looking for more specific ideas a number of children's charities rely on the help of volunteers. Here are ten opportunities to volunteer with children, both in the UK and abroad.
1. Help at a children's centre with Action for Children
Action for Children helps 370,000 babies, children and families across the UK. The charity's aim is to give children and young people the practical and emotional support they need to help them succeed. The charity works with disabled children and their families, young carers, teenage mothers and those in the care system.
There are a number of ways that volunteers can get involved; one of the easiest ways is to assist staff at one of the charity's children's centres across the UK. As a children's centre volunteer you could take part in stay-and-play sessions, assist with the child and family health services on offer, participate in programmes of speech and language support or help to maintain and develop the centre's social media presence.
2. Answer Childline phones with the NSPCC
For years Childline has been helping children and young people in the UK, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but they currently only have the capacity to answer three out of every four calls from children in need. This is where volunteers can help.
Giving just four hours of your time per week could ensure that every child receives the listening ear they deserve. As a volunteer counsellor you'll be trained to offer comfort, support and practical advice to young callers. You can also help out as an email counsellor or switchboard volunteer.
3. Become a youth activities volunteer with Whizz Kidz
Whizz Kidz provides disabled children and young people with the mobility equipment they need and supports them in learning essential life skills.
Youth activities volunteer positions are available across the UK and typically require you to give up one day each month. You'll support wheelchair users aged 8 to 25 in a range of activities, across a variety of services including wheelchair skills training, ambassador clubs and Camp Whizz Kidz. You'll ensure all young people are engaged and safe and deliver fun and empowering activities. You'll need enthusiasm and confidence, as well as a flexible and creative approach to working with young people.
Other volunteering options include becoming a volunteer speaker or helping out in the Whizz-Kidz head office.
4. Befriend a child with Barnado's
As one of the UK's leading children's charities Barnado's helps to transform the lives of some of the country's most vulnerable children.
As a befriender you'll dedicate three to five hours on a weekly or fortnightly basis to act as a companion to a child or young person and provide a listening ear. You could ensure that your new friend enjoys some much-needed leisure time by taking them to the park, cinema, bowling or a museum, or you could provide more practical support by helping with homework or transporting the young person to group activities. Befriending services usually take place on the evenings or at weekends.
5. Teach a child to read with Beanstalk
Providing one-on-one literacy support to children who struggle with their reading, Beanstalk has volunteers across England and you could be one of them.
As a Beanstalk reading helper you'll work with children in a nursery or school setting, supporting those between 3 and 13 years of age. You will help to build a child's confidence and self-esteem through fun, literacy-based activities. You'll nurture their reading ability, practice reading skills and help children discover the magic of books and reading.
6. Support early childhood development in Sri Lanka
If you would like to volunteer with children further afield and combine your passion for working with young people with your love of travelling there's an array of opportunities available.
Working in Sir Lanka with Projects Abroad, you'll work in kindergartens, day care and community centres and help staff with their day-to-day duties. You'll arrange and carry out fun activities to promote early childhood development, provide specialised care to children with special needs and create educational resources.
Based in the Sir Lankan town of Colombo you'll live with a host family.
7. Care for disadvantaged children in India
India struggles to care for the increasing number of children born into poverty; because of this the country is home to thousands of vulnerable young people. As a Kaya volunteer you'll work to develop the cognitive, academic, emotional and social skills of children by assisting local educators with their day-to-day activities.
Working in schools, day-care centres or schools for children with learning disabilities you'll teach basic English and maths skills, lead songs and rhymes, play games, undertake outdoor activities and monitor child development. You'll complete weekly progress reports for each child and attend volunteer meetings.
You’ll be based in Jaipur, known as the Pink City.
Learn more about working in India.
8. Work on community projects in Ghana
Based two and a half hours from the capital city of Accra, Pod Volunteer gives you the opportunity to get stuck in to community projects that directly benefit children in Ghana.
As a volunteer you'll be involved in building a brighter future some of the poorest communities. Living and working with locals you'll get stuck in to a number of projects including delivering solar lamps to children in remote communities, giving children in isolated communities access to bicycles so they can get to school, helping after school clubs, promoting hygiene initiatives in schools to prevent illness and coaching sports such as football and volleyball.
You'll usually work five days a week and enjoy two days off. In your spare time you can experience Ghanaian life and culture and visit local sights including waterfalls, national parks and vibrant markets.
9. Teach English in Thailand
Located in Krabi you’ll teach English with Projects Abroad in local primary and secondary schools to help children develop their language skills, which will hopefully lead to better future education and work opportunities.
You'll work Monday to Friday teaching English classes. You'll also help out with other subjects and extracurricular activities where necessary. You'll attend teaching workshops and run basic English lessons in the school holidays.
While on project you'll also be able to take advantage of all that Thailand has to offer. You'll be able to visit islands, beaches, caves, parks and temples.
10. Provide after-school care in Italy
In disadvantaged areas of Naples children often spend their free time on the streets due to a lack of safe after school leisure activities. As an after school care volunteer for International Volunteer HQ you'll organise after-school workshops and educational activities, which incorporate art, cooking, games and music.
The project runs in the afternoons so your mornings are free to plan activities or to take advantage of the Italian language lessons provided. Volunteers also enjoy weekends off duty so you'll have plenty of time to explore this culturally-rich country. You'll be free to visit historical sites, drink espresso and sample the world-famous cuisine. What's more, Rome, home to the Colosseum, Vatican and Sistine Chapel, is just an hour's train ride away.
Discover what it's like to work in Italy.
Find out more
- Search for volunteering opportunities.
- Learn more about working abroad.
- Read up on working with children.
- Find out more about work experience and internships.