• How much time do I need to volunteer?

    You can volunteer as much time as you like. Volunteering opportunities take place at a variety of times, some are set times and some may be flexible. They can be for as little as an hour a month or less up to volunteering every day. They can last for short periods of time or can be on-going. You can also volunteer at one-of-events. Volunteering can occur at any time, day or night and on any day of the week.

    Some opportunities require a time commitment, such as befriending – where you are given training and matched with a vulnerable person. You need time to build up a trust with the individual.

  • Can I leave if I don’t like it?

    Yes, you are giving your time freely as a volunteer.

    Some organisations have ‘volunteer agreements’ that explain expectations on both sides, others are more informal.

    If you feel unhappy in your volunteering role you may like to discuss this with someone and discuss what you feel would make your volunteering experience better.

  • Do I get my expenses paid?

    Some organisations do but others, e.g. small charities and informal groups cannot afford to. Check with an organisation before volunteering to see if expenses for travel, out of pocket expenditure, agreed expenses, are reimbursed before volunteering.

  • Can I volunteer while on benefits?

    Yes, you are free to volunteer while you are receiving benefits. This is as long as the work you do is unpaid and you meet the rules of your benefit. Always check with your work coach before you start volunteering

  • Do I need qualifications?

    Not usually, but some volunteering opportunities require certain skills and qualifications e.g. counselling. Some organisations will provided training. Some organisations may look for particular skills in relation to their volunteering opportunities.

  • Will I get training?

    This depends on the role you are undertaking and varies quite a lot. Some opportunities require training e.g. Citizens Advice Bureau volunteers.

  • How old do I have to be to volunteer?

    You can volunteer at any age, however, some opportunities will have an age restriction, for example: volunteer drivers need to be a certain age.

  • Can I volunteer from home?

    Some opportunities are available to undertake at home e.g. telephone befriending or knitting blankets.

SALTIRE AWARDS for volunteers:

  • What are the Saltire Awards?

    The Saltire Awards are the Scottish Government's way of celebrating, recognising and rewarding the commitment, contribution and achievements of young volunteers in Scotland.

    Young people gain nationally recognised certificates, signed by Scottish Government Ministers, for the different amounts of volunteering they do. These are awarded locally through Voluntary Action Shetland.

  • How old do I have to be to be eligible?

    Saltire Awards are for young people aged 12 to 25.

  • How do I register?

    To register, all you have to do is fill out this form and email to VASVolunteering@shetland.org or post to:

    VAS Volunteering

    Market House

    14 Market Street



    ZE1 0JP

  • How do I receive an award?

    After you have registered with us, you will need to keep track of your volunteering hours. You can do this by downloading this timesheet.

    When you have reached a certain amount of numbers (10, 25, 50, 100, 200 or 500) you are eligible for an award.

    We make sure to get in touch with everyone registered with us once a year. We will then ask whether you would like to hand in your timesheets to receive an award at our next annual Saltire Awards Ceremony.

  • When is the annual Saltire Awards Ceremony?

    We usually have an annual ceremony in March and start contacting registered volunteers and Saltire registered organisations in January to give plenty of time for paperwork to be handed in. We do this to honour the hard work that everyone puts in throughout the year. You can have a look at past Ceremonies here

  • What is a Challenge Award?

    A Challenge award is for those who are getting started in volunteering through a group effort. Challenge Awards are a one-off and cannot count towards total hours of other awards.

  • What is a Summit Award?

    The Summit award is for those who have made an outstanding contribution to volunteering in Shetland. Summit Awardees have to be nominated by their organisation, school or by VAS and are selected by a Summit panel.

  • Can I have hours from different organisations count towards my award?

    Yes, you can volunteer for many different organisations and have each of your hours count to an award as long as each of the organisations you volunteer for are registered for Saltire with us.

    If the organisation you volunteer for is not yet registered for Saltires you can ask them to have a look at the FAQ Saltire organisation section to get signed up.

SALTIRE AWARDS for organisations:

  • Does my organisation need to register for Saltire Awards?

    Yes, your organisation needs to register with us. To check whether you are already registered speak to our Youth Volunteering Support Worker.

    If you are not registered, it’s a simple process and you can download the form here.

  • How do I support my volunteers to achieve an award?

    Your organisation needs to provide a volunteer supervisor who can verify their hours with a signature on the volunteer’s timesheet. Once a year the supervisor will need to request an award for all their volunteers who want to receive an award. You can request an award for your volunteers with this form.

    Representatives of organisations whose volunteers are receiving a Saltire Award are also invited to the annual Saltire Awards Ceremony to show their support.

  • Where can I get more support?

    If you need help with anything regarding your young volunteers or Saltire Awards paperwork our Youth Volunteering Support Worker is here to help.

Volunteer Involving Organisations

  • Do we need a formal agreement with Volunteers?

    No, but it may help to set our clear expectations of what you have agreed a volunteer is expected to do and give the volunteer clarification on what is expected of them, including what you will provide e.g. insurance, training, expenses, safety guidelines. This is not a contract it is an agreement.

    Organisations should ensure that their working practices offer appropriate protection to volunteers, as well as paid staff e.g. Health & Safety. Ensure all your policies and procedures include volunteers as well as paid staff.

  • Are we allowed to pay volunteers?

    No. Benefits in kind can also be seen as payment and you risk entering into employment rules and regulations where you will be expected to pay volunteers the national minimum wage and they will have rights as an employee.

    Expenses can be reimbursed. Tokens of appreciation like badges, awards, or certain social activities are not a problem. Paying Expenses is good practice.

  • Should organisations request disclosure checks for volunteers?

    It is not necessary to check every volunteer with Disclosure Scotland. For groups working with children and vulnerable adults you should carry out checks on volunteers who meet the required criteria. CRBS Disclosure Services offer advice to voluntary groups and organisations.

  • Do organisations need to have insurance in place for volunteers?

    Yes, Voluntary organisations are obliged by law to have employers’ liability insurance to cover all volunteers and employees who are not family members. Employers’ liability insurance covers the cost of compensating volunteers and employees who are injured at or become ill through work. Where volunteers provide information, it is recommended you have professional indemnity insurance. You should consider, where necessary depending on the type of volunteering: employer’s liability insurance, public liability insurance and where relevant motor insurance.

  • Do you need car insurance for a voluntary organisation?

    If your voluntary organisation has its own vehicles for volunteers to drive, it is up to you to arrange insurance for your entire fleet. If your volunteers use their own vehicles for voluntary purposes, they should be covered by their own regular motor insurance policy, but they should check with their insurer to be sure.

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