Youth Social Action

We believe that young people can make all the difference to their communities and their lives through the power of volunteering. We run a wide range of volunteering programmes and projects across the country that help them do just that.

With us young people discover what they care about, and are empowered to do something about it. We refuse to see any young person, no matter their circumstances, as anything other than an asset. Volunteering enables them to make a positive difference in their communities. It not only boosts their confidence and expands their social circle, it enhances their life skills and future employability.

Our Full Time Volunteering programme has been changing the lives of its volunteers and the communities they support for over 50 years. Our Positive Futures programmes work with young people to design and deliver the social action they care about. Our peer-led sexual and mental health programmes, such as Sex Matters and Mind Matters, improve volunteers’ confidence and awareness. Our volunteers also support children and young people – through befriending, mentoring, reading in schools and supported volunteer programmes.

But don’t take it from us – we regularly share stories from our volunteers about their experiences!

                                           

Activ8

Activ8 is a peer-led project delivering bespoke and tailored activities to young people, aged 18 – 24 years, who are not in education, employment or training (NEET)
behind every kick youth football club hackney

Behind Every Kick

Volunteering Matters was part of the Behind Every Kick pilot from 2016 - 2018. The project has now received charity status and will lead on volunteer management for the project moving forward.

Beyond Transitions

Beyond Transitions was a volunteer project based in Torfaen, South Wales, set up to support young disabled people through their transition into adulthood.

EVS

EVS (European Voluntary Service) is an international volunteer program funded by the European Commission. It enables all young people legally resident in Europe, aged between 18 and 30 years, to carry out an international volunteer service in an organisation or in a public body in Europe, Africa, Asia or South America for a period ranging … Continued

Full-time Volunteering

Full-time volunteering is a unique opportunity for people aged between 18 and 35 to undertake the challenge of living away from home for 6-12 months.

Futures East

Futures East is a project focused on enabling young people between the ages of 16-25, who have learning disabilities, on the autism spectrum or have additional support needs, to take part in exciting and worthwhile voluntary roles within their local communities of Hackney and the surrounding Boroughs. 

Futures Matter

Futures Matter trains and supports volunteer leaders to devise and run volunteering initiatives for the benefit of their local community in Ipswich.

Futures Midlands

Futures Midlands matches volunteer mentors with young people aged 17-19, who have complex and life limiting illnesses and conditions.

Get Out Get Active

Get Out Get Active (GOGA) is a UK wide programme, funded by Spirit of 2012 that aims to encourage disabled and non-disabled people to take part in and enjoy activity together.
filmon grandmentors intergenerational mentoring

Grandmentors

Grandmentors is an innovative mentoring project pairing volunteers aged 50 and over with young care leavers to empower them to achieve their full potential.

Hounslow Allies

The Hounslow Allies project recruits, trains and supports adults from the local community to become allies (Independent Visitors) to looked after children and young people.

Learn Together Cymru

Learn Together Cymru is a project supporting children and young people one-to-one with their reading, maths, languages in schools and community learning settings across Wales.

Learn Together Scotland

Learn Together Scotland hopes to close the attainment gap by involving older volunteers from the local community in Primary and Secondary schools in Edinburgh and Midlothian.

Learning Matters

Learning Matters was a study programme for 16-18 year olds, specifically tailored to those who don’t speak English as their first language.

Mind Matters

Mind Matters aims to improve the mental health and well-being of young people aged 14 - 25 living across Torfaen through peer-led workshops in youth settings.

Positive Futures London

Positive Futures London is a youth-led programme offering fantastic volunteering opportunities for young people aged between 13 and 25 years old as volunteers or leaders.
reading in schools volunteering

RSVP Reading in Schools

Our Retired and Senior Volunteer Programmes (RSVP) offer volunteering in local schools across the UK, for people aged 50+, where they can support pupils with with reading, maths or specialized subjects.

SAFE (Sexual Awareness for Everyone)

The S.A.F.E project (Sexual Awareness For Everyone) is for women living in Gwent aged 16 – 35 who have a learning need or disability. The project aims to give vulnerable young people the tools to identify appropriate and safe relationships.

Sex Matters Too

Sex Matters Too ran from 2016 - 2018, and trained volunteers aged 16-25 to deliver peer-led workshops around sexual health, sexual exploitation and healthy relationships to young people in various youth settings across Wales.

The Loop

The Loop gives beneficiaries the opportunity to become volunteers. It enables participants to access the social group as and when they need support, progress onto the Goals Group when ready and take their learning further within the Projects Group.

Volunteer Centre Newcastle

Volunteer Centre Newcastle acts as a connector between people and communities with a database of opportunities across the city.
WASSUP

WASSUP (Women Against Sexual Exploitation and Violence Speak UP)

WASSUP is a project run by local young women in Ipswich. They focus on raising awareness of sexual exploitation, domestic abuse, honour based violence and gang grooming. They also prioritise lobbying for changes to social policy and practice on these issues promoting young people’s voice.

GRANDMENTORS – VOLUNTEER (WOLVERHAMPTON)

Grandmentors is an innovative project that sees older volunteers use their lifetime of skills and experience to support vulnerable young people leaving the care system. This opportunity is for Grandmentors Wolverhampton.

GRANDMENTORS – VOLUNTEER (Milton Keynes)

Grandmentors is an innovative project that sees older volunteers use their lifetime of skills and experience to support vulnerable young people leaving the care system. This opportunity is for Grandmentors Milton Keynes.

Futures Midlands – Volunteer Mentor (Worcester)

Futures Midlands, running across Birmingham, Worcester and Walsall, matches volunteer mentors with young people aged 17-19, who have complex and life limiting illnesses and conditions. This opportunity is for Worcester.

Futures Midlands – Volunteer Mentor (Walsall)

Futures Midlands, running across Birmingham, Worcester and Walsall, matches volunteer mentors with young people aged 17-19, who have complex and life limiting illnesses and conditions. This opportunity is for Walsall.

Futures Midlands – Volunteer Mentor (Birmingham)

Futures Midlands, running across Birmingham, Worcester and Walsall, matches volunteer mentors with young people aged 17-19, who have complex and life limiting illnesses and conditions. This opportunity is for Birmingham.

GRANDMENTORS – VOLUNTEER (Wiltshire)

Grandmentors is an innovative project that sees older volunteers use their lifetime of skills and experience to support vulnerable young people leaving the care system. This opportunity is for Grandmentors Wiltshire.

GRANDMENTORS – VOLUNTEER (Stockton)

Grandmentors is an innovative project that sees older volunteers use their lifetime of skills and experience to support vulnerable young people leaving the care system. This opportunity is for Grandmentors Stockton.

Activ8 – Youth Volunteer (Gwent)

Are you aged 18 to 24? Looking for support to gain experience and help you get skills to move into employment, education or training?

Futures East – Community Mentor (London)

Futures East is a project focused on enabling young people between the ages of 16-25, who have learning disabilities, on the autism spectrum or have additional support needs, to take part in exciting and worthwhile voluntary roles within their local communities of Hackney and the surrounding Boroughs.

SAFE – Peer Mentor Volunteer (Gwent)

The SAFE (‘Sexual Awareness for Everyone’) project running across Gwent will help improve the personal safety and good sexual health of young women (aged 16 to 35) with learning difficulties through peer led workshops, one to one peer support and through the production and distribution of a SAFE card.

Futures – Volunteer Mentor (Wells-next-the-sea)

Futures enables young people with additional support needs to realise their full potential through volunteer placements. Mentors support them to achieve their goals & play a role in their community.

Futures – Volunteer Mentor (Aylsham)

Futures enables young people with additional support needs to realise their full potential through volunteer placements. Mentors support them to achieve their goals & play a role in their community.

Futures – Volunteer Mentor (Docking)

Futures enables young people with additional support needs to realise their full potential through volunteer placements. Mentors support them to achieve their goals & play a role in their community.

Futures – Volunteer Mentor (Wymondham)

Futures enables young people with additional support needs to realise their full potential through volunteer placements. Mentors support them to achieve their goals & play a role in their community.

Futures – Volunteer Mentor (Marshland St James)

Futures enables young people with additional support needs to realise their full potential through volunteer placements. Mentors support them to achieve their goals & play a role in their community.

Futures – Volunteer Mentor (Hingham)

Futures enables young people with additional support needs to realise their full potential through volunteer placements. Mentors support them to achieve their goals & play a role in their community.

Futures – Volunteer Mentor (Harleston)

Futures enables young people with additional support needs to realise their full potential through volunteer placements. Mentors support them to achieve their goals & play a role in their community.

Futures – Volunteer Mentor (Mundesley)

Futures enables young people with additional support needs to realise their full potential through volunteer placements. Mentors support them to achieve their goals & play a role in their community.

Futures – Volunteer Mentor (Caister-on-Sea)

Futures enables young people with additional support needs to realise their full potential through volunteer placements. Mentors support them to achieve their goals & play a role in their community.

Futures – Volunteer Mentor (Gorleston-on-Sea)

Futures enables young people with additional support needs to realise their full potential through volunteer placements. Mentors support them to achieve their goals & play a role in their community.

Futures – Volunteer Mentor (Great Yarmouth)

Futures enables young people with additional support needs to realise their full potential through volunteer placements. Mentors support them to achieve their goals & play a role in their community.

Futures – Volunteer Mentor (Cromer)

Futures enables young people with additional support needs to realise their full potential through volunteer placements. Mentors support them to achieve their goals & play a role in their community.

Futures – Volunteer Mentor (Norwich)

Futures enables young people with additional support needs to realise their full potential through volunteer placements. Mentors support them to achieve their goals & play a role in their community.

Futures – Volunteer Mentor (Fakenham)

Futures enables young people with additional support needs to realise their full potential through volunteer placements. Mentors support them to achieve their goals & play a role in their community.

Futures – Volunteer Mentor (Dereham)

Futures enables young people with additional support needs to realise their full potential through volunteer placements. Mentors support them to achieve their goals & play a role in their community.

Futures – Volunteer Mentor (Downham Market)

Futures enables young people with additional support needs to realise their full potential through volunteer placements. Mentors support them to achieve their goals & play a role in their community.

Grandmentors – Volunteer (Ipswich)

Grandmentors is an innovative project that sees older volunteers use their lifetime of skills and experience to support vulnerable young people leaving the care system. This opportunity is for Grandmentors Ipswich.

Grandmentors – Volunteer (East Kent)

Grandmentors is an innovative project that sees older volunteers use their lifetime of skills and experience to support vulnerable young people leaving the care system. This opportunity is for Grandmentors Folkestone.

Grandmentors – Volunteer (Islington)

Grandmentors is an innovative project that sees older volunteers use their lifetime of skills and experience to support vulnerable young people leaving the care system. This opportunity is for Grandmentors Islington.

Grandmentors – Volunteer (Hounslow)

Grandmentors is an innovative project that sees older volunteers use their lifetime of skills and experience to support vulnerable young people leaving the care system. This opportunity is for Grandmentors Hounslow.

Futures – Volunteer Mentor (King’s Lynn)

Futures enables young people with additional support needs to realise their full potential through volunteer placements. Mentors support them to achieve their goals & play a role in their community.

Full-Time Volunteer Opportunity (All over the UK)

Full Time Volunteering is a unique opportunity for people aged 18 and 35 to assist on social care projects across the UK – developing skills, improving self-confidence, meeting new people and changing lives.

Futures East: Beth and Halimah

Lisa, our Project Officer for Futures East, recently spoke to two of our volunteers about their roles. Futures East is a programme that empowers young people with learning disabilities, autism and additional support needs to undertake a fulfilling and worthwhile voluntary role in the community. 

Full-Time Volunteering: Lea’s Story

Lea volunteers in a school with children with disabilities, and she loves it. She feels she has grown in confidence and has developed her personality, getting to know her strengths and her flaws.

SAFE: Rhianydd’s Story

Rhianydd has autism and feels she’s a good candidate to volunteer on a project for people with learning disabilities. She says “I am their peer and they engage with me as I understand.”

Full-time Volunteering: Sandy’s Story

Sandy spent a year as a full-time volunteer on project Vocal, supporting people with learning disabilities to become actively involved in their community by volunteering.

Full-time Volunteering: Larry’s Story

Ever wondered what a full-time volunteer actually does? Each opportunity is different, and we heard from Larry who volunteers for the disability and well being service at the London School of Economics.

Behind Every Kick: Rosalind’s Story

Meeting on the pitch for training sessions before one-to-one mentoring helped Rosalind to build a positive relationship with her Behind Every Kick mentee.

North Lanarkshire Befriending Project: Ross’ Story

'After I graduated volunteering as a befriender gave me a sense of satisfaction and reward that no desk job ever could – giving your time to someone who just needs a pal is an amazing gift, and one that a young person will remember forever.'

Learn Together Cymru: David’s Story

David is 79 and has been volunteering as a schools reading volunteer with Volunteering Matters since 2000. He told us about his favourite parts of the role, and shared some stories from his time in primary schools in Wales.

Grandmentors: Karen’s Story

Karen heard about Grandmentors through the local business community, and is already seeing a great difference in her mentee, only a few weeks into supporting her as a volunteer.

North Lanarkshire Befriending Project: Evelyn’s Story

'I originally thought as a befriender I was there just to give my young person time out from their family life and to allow them to have some fun whilst also helping them make positive choices going forward in their lives. I didn’t think for one minute how much I would benefit and gain from being a befriender.'

Learn Together Cymru: Tim’s Story

"If you’re not sure whether you’re the right person to be a reading volunteer, then think again.   Some aspect of your life will contribute something to the school and I believe personality and an interest in education matters as much as personal circumstances. Once you give it a go, stay with it – you’ll get more confident and the rewards will come!”

Grandmentors: Ed’s Story

"Mentoring gives us an opportunity to continue to deploy our skills and knowledge, but in a very different environment."

Sex Matters Too: Rhys’s Story

"I think that volunteering with Volunteering Matters and having it on my CV made me stand out from the crowd and more able to get a full-time job."

Employee Volunteering: Simon’s Story

"Getting involved with this project has been one of the best decisions I have made during my time at Pearson, and I am grateful to the company for its support."

Futures: Richard’s Story

"Volunteering gives me a sense of pride and makes me feel I am doing something worthwhile – I would definitely recommend it to others."

Grandmentors Programme Review

An external review of the Grandmentors programme, conducted between June and September 2017. The review looks at what Grandmentors offers in the current policy and commissioning environment, and how the model could be evolved for the future.

Our Volunteer Awards 2018

At this year's AGM we wanted to recognise the incredible individual efforts made by our volunteers, and the impact they make every day up and down the UK. We developed a new set of Volunteer Awards, to cover the full range of our work

Volunteers attend Queen’s Garden Party 2018

For the second year, volunteers from our North Lanarkshire Befriending Project, Help at Hand, and the Employee Volunteering team from the Co-Op were honoured at the Royal Garden Party at Holyrood Palace!

Mind Matters team wins at Wales Volunteer of the Year Awards

Our Mind Matters team were awarded at the Wales Volunteer of the Year Awards 2018! The peer-led approach allows for a safe space for young people to discuss worries, concerns and work towards supporting the 1 in 10 children in the UK who are affected by mental health problems.

Volunteering Matters scoops charity award!

We are delighted to announce that Volunteering Matters has won the award for ‘social care, advice and support’ in the 2018 Charity Awards for our Grandmentors programme.

Volunteering for all – all year round!

As thousands of volunteers are being celebrated up and down the country as part of Volunteers’ Week, we of course couldn’t let the moment pass without three cheers for our incredible volunteers!

We’re challenging young people to start their revolution!

This month sees the launch of our brand new campaign to change young people’s perceptions of volunteering. Titled ' Revolution You ', our campaign aims to challenge preconceived notions of volunteering and encourage more young people to consider a gap year in the UK. 
Karen and Sarah

Taking Grandmentors to new places!

Both Stockton Council and Wiltshire Council will be teaming up with Volunteering Matters to launch Grandmentors in their area, providing new inter-generational mentoring to young people leaving care. 

Positive Futures for young people in Ipswich

We’re delighted to announce that our work with and for young people across Ipswich has been given a boost this month with the arrival of a new youth volunteering project in the area – Positive Futures.

Mind Matters volunteer Sophie scoops Diana Award

We are delighted to announce that one of our amazing volunteers, Sophie, was presented with a Diana Award at the Inspire Wales award ceremony in Cardiff City Hall today for her outstanding contribution to our Mind Matters project.

Ipswich Through the Looking Glass

Volunteering Matters took over Christchurch mansion in October 2017 to showcase our volunteering projects running across Suffolk.
AGM Awards

Volunteers take centre stage at our AGM

We have launched many amazing new projects in the past year, all made possible by talented and dedicated volunteers across the UK. We were delighted to shine a spotlight on some of them at the Volunteering Matters 2017 Annual General Meeting which took place on the 28th of September.

Sex Matters Too volunteer Ryan wins Diana Award

Ryan Crewe-Rees, a young volunteer on our Sex Matters Too project from Pontypool (south Wales), was given a Diana Award at the Inspire Wales award ceremony at Cardiff City Hall today.
#givingtuesday

Volunteering Matters mobilises people power on #GivingTuesday

In 2015, #GivingTuesday broke the world record for the highest amount of money donated online in a 24 hour period. We think this is brilliant – but #GivingTuesday shouldn’t just be about giving money so we are asking our supporters to donate the gift of time by volunteering in their communities.

WASSUP win big at the House of Commons

Women Against Sexual exploitation and violence Speak UP (WASSUP), our Ipswich-based youth volunteer project, has been named runner-up in the British Red Cross Humanitarian Awards.
North Lanarkshire Befriending project beneficiaries, nominated for VOSCAR awards

We’re going to the VOSCARS!

Our North Lanarkshire Befriending project has been shortlisted for the Voluntary Action North Lanarkshire VOSCAR awards - the voluntary sector Oscars!
uk volunteering wales learn together cymru

CARMARTHENSHIRE CANINES ENCOURAGE PUPILS TO READ

On 9th June in Llandeilo Primary School, Carmarthenshire, dogs Riley and Layla enjoyed a star-spangled celebrity reception for the launch of new project, Reading with Dogs associated with Learn Together Cymru and Carmarthenshire Therapy Dogs.

Sex Matters Too Awards Success

Our Sex Matters Too project had a fantastic end to Volunteers Week 2016, deservedly recognised with not one, but two awards.

Employee Volunteering

Deutsche Bank and Volunteering Matters are celebrating 15 years of working together to support young people from economically deprived areas through a Volunteering in Schools Programme.
Read On. Get On. Report for Save the CHildren - two young girls reading

Reading Wales’ Future

Over the course of the next Assembly, an estimated 26,000 children in Wales, including 10,000 of the poorest children, are at risk of leaving primary school unable to read well, if action isn’t taken.

Continued austerity a threat to communities

Worries of continued austerity, calling for the next government to acknowledge the value of the volunteering sector given its critical role in helping to promote and sustain the well-being of individuals and communities.
Young Volunteers in Health and Social Care

Prescribed reading

Our Director of Strategy Paul Buddery reflects on what we can learn when we focus on empowering young volunteers in health and social care

The power of a relationship

Could our innovative intergenerational mentoring programme for care leavers become a new national norm? Our Head of National Programmes Gethyn Williams and Will Bibby, Programme Manager at Nesta gave their take.

After education: Why should I volunteer?

This month has been an exciting and nerve-wracking time for students across the UK; those in Scotland received results for their Highers, and UK A-level results were released last week. Whatever your next move, whether you’re happy with the results you received or whether you missed out on the opportunities you had planned, we think … Continued

What would a week without volunteers be like?

Volunteers are invaluable. For older and isolated members of the community, young people leaving care, for disabled volunteers, for the NHS, and many more. Out Chief Executive Oonagh considers what a world without volunteers might look like.
Youth Social Action

“A spur to action” – Our response to the National Youth Social Action Survey

Volunteering Matters is a proud supporter of the #IWill campaign.  Alongside over 700 organisations –  everyone from charities and businesses through to councils – we are committed to ensuring that as many 10 - 20 year olds as possible benefit from participating in meaningful youth social action, which includes volunteering. 

Volunteering runs in the family!

This Mother’s Day we celebrated a member of our own staff and her daughter – who together show how a passion for volunteering can clearly run in the family!

Young People’s Focus Week

For seven days, imaginatively titled “Young People’s Focus Week”, we’re going to be shining the spotlight on just this area of our work.
Full-time volunteers - Our response to the Holliday review

Our response to the Holliday review of Full Time Social Action

This weekend Steve Holliday released his independent review of Full Time Social Action. Here our Chief Executive Oonagh Aitken responds on behalf of Volunteering Matters, the UK's leading provider of full time volunteering opportunities.