Last reviewed and updated June 2023


The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) defines volunteers in this way: Volunteers give time, carrying out activities that aim to benefit community or society. Volunteers are unpaid and choose how they wish to give their time.

NB Helping close friends or relatives does not count as volunteering.

The University recognises that volunteering programmes can promote public engagement and widen access. Volunteering can also contribute to social outcomes such as well-being.

The University acknowledges that it is important for volunteers to feel appreciated. They work in a distinctive but complementary role alongside paid staff in a mutually beneficial way. The University uses volunteers to add value to its core activities and to promote public engagement; not as a replacement for paid staff.

Volunteers are not employees of the University and so they should be treated in accordance with the terms of the University’s volunteer policy and the volunteer guidance issued by the departments in which they perform their voluntary activities.

The University’s volunteer policy is available to download as a PDF file from the right-hand side menu, along with guidance for recruiting and managing volunteers. Departments that offer volunteering opportunities should issue a volunteer letter (found on the right-hand side menu) to the volunteer, which sets out the expectations from both the department’s and the volunteer’s perspective.

Supervisors or volunteer coordinators should give details of the more general University policies and procedures that apply to volunteers, eg health and safety, information security, etc. during the induction training.