Looking to volunteer?

Our doors are always open. Like other organisations and charities, we have a large and vibrant volunteer base.We have a proud tradition as a voluntary organisation.

Our volunteers are vital to us and give their time to make a difference in their communities.

Volunteers are at the heart of our work, and arevital to supporting the growth of adult education across England and Scotland. From organising courses through our branches and Scottish local associations to supporting our learners in the classroom and helping to find and share good new stories from across the SPƵվ.

We currently have around1,900 volunteers who take on a variety of roles for us.Our volunteer roles match your skills, interests and personal development goals.

These roles include:

  • Branch members, who arrange and promote local courses through our extensive branch network
  • Community outreach volunteers,who promote adult learning, particularly in disadvantaged communities
  • Classroom support volunteerswho help learners develop essential life and/or work skills. They can also support individuals with specific physical or learning difficulties
  • Class secretaries and learner representatives,who gather feedback from learners. This ensures that our courses are meeting their needs, and we continue to improve our offer
  • Activists, who organise promotional and fundraising events for us, and
  • Volunteers who take on formal governance roles. Each SPƵվ region and Scotland has its own governance committees. They rely upon the time and expertise from volunteers. They have local knowledge and a passion for lifelong learning. At a national level, the SPƵվ Trustee bodyare all volunteers.

What are the benefits of volunteering?

  • It helps develop your own skills and interests
  • It allows you to meet new people in your community
  • It helps develop friendships
  • It allows individuals to become more sociable, improving your communication skills
  • The NHS lists many health benefitsthat come from volunteering. These include improvements in quality of life, self-esteem, and the ability to cope with illness
  • It gives you the opportunity to learn new skills
  • It can boost your chances of finding a new job
  • It helps you to allow others to take action to improve their life through adult learning

SPƵվ volunteer stories - be inspired

Learning is truly for life!

Interview with Andrew Cole of the SPƵվ Walthamstow branch

When did you start volunteering at the SPƵվ?
I joined in 1999.

What is your background / story and how did you come to volunteer for the SPƵվ?
I worked as a health journalist until very recently. I’ve always had an interest in the local history of Waltham Forest and wanted to discover more about it. In 1999, I joined a course on industry in the Lea Valley being run by Jim Lewis (broadcaster, researcher, author) and haven’t looked back. I have attended nearly all of the evening classes run in Walthamstow since then!

What is your role within the Walthamstow branch, and what does this involve day to day?
I have a dual role where I am Class Secretary, and Chair of the branch.

The role of Class Secretary involves lots of administration and logistics related to organising and confirming new courses, liaising with tutors, registering learners and obtaining feedback, as well as sourcing venues for courses.

As Chair of the Branch, I am involved with the rest of the committee in making more strategic decisions, such as choosing the right courses and tutors, and planning marketing strategies for social media and communication to generate interest in the courses. We currently have eight people on the committee, and we meet bi-monthly.

The Walthamstow branch was officially set up in 2005. I became Class Secretary in around 2010, when Eric stopped attending evening classes and then Chair in 2012 when he sadly died.

What courses / activities are available at the Walthamstow branch?
We run two courses each year on the theatre and local history:

  • Theatre(daytime course) – examining plays by a range of playwrights past and present.
  • Local history(evening course) – focuses principally on local history but over the years we have on occasions branched out into archaeology, social anthropology and philosophy.

We also run social activities each summer; we ask the local members what they want to participate in, then organise events based on their interests. In the past, we’ve organised visits to Neasden Temple, Docklands, National Gallery, Walthamstow Wetlands and Highgate cemetery among many others. We try to keep the branch diverse and open to all.

What has been your experience of volunteering at the SPƵվ so far?
It has been interesting taking part in most of the evening classes and being involved in the social activities. There is always a lot to learn on different topics. I developed an interest in the houses on my road and their surprising history – which I would not have done if I hadn’t been part of the SPƵվ. I also helped form the Wanstead Flats history working group, part of the Leyton and Leytonstone Historical Society.

What are the benefits of volunteering at the SPƵվ?
It’s great to be part of an organisation that’s socially aware and committed to supporting adult education, and truly believes that learning is for life!

From volunteer to career

One young woman who so warms the hearts of so many in and around York is twenty-two-year-old Beth Cameron.

Last year, Beth began volunteering for the Families Get Active (FGA) project, which the SPƵվ runs in conjunction with Sport England to help families find ways to get fitter.

Prior to this, Beth had a job in retail while doing graphic design at the University of York, having previously completed a level 3 digital marketing apprenticeship before going to university.

On the FGA project, she created graphics and posts for social media and other outlets and helped promote free workshops aimed at empowering people and increasing self-esteem.‘Working with such an amazing team of people who are so passionate about helping others has been such a great opportunity,’Beth said,‘It has really boosted my confidence and developed my skills.

SPƵվ project lead Rebecca Rowan told us:‘Last year this young lady started as a volunteer with us on FGA and through the project we have been able to provide her with many opportunities to showcase her skills and build her confidence. How she has developed over the last year has been phenomenal.’

Now Beth, who has been promoting her talents via on Instagram, is ready to start a new role at Mind, the mental health charity, where she will be creating graphics and marketing material for the charity's team in York.

She told us:‘A few years ago I wouldn't have had the confidence or skills to be able to do this, I thank the team on the Families Get Active project for not only being so welcoming and for giving me the opportunity to show what I can do, but also to develop. It has been so great to work on a project that's had such a positive impact on so many people's lives, and I'm going to carry this mind-set through the rest of my career.’

Ready to become a SPƵվ volunteer?

Complete the register your interest form below and one of our team will be in touch!

If you have any questions about any of the volunteering roles, or volunteering with us in general, please drop the team a line at [email protected].

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You can read the SPƵվ volunteer privacy notice at our policy page.