3. When you can volunteer

Age limits

There’s no upper age limit on volunteering. However, some organisations’ insurance policies don’t cover you if you’re under 16 or over a certain age (usually 80).

You can’t work for a profit-making organisation if you’re under 14, even if you’re not paid.

Your local councils might have extra rules about the work you can do as a young person. For example, you might not be able to volunteer at a charity shop if the council decides that it’s a profit-making organisation.

People aged 50 or older can find volunteering opportunities with the Retired and Senior Volunteering Programme.

Volunteering and benefits

You can volunteer and claim benefits if:

  • the only money you get from volunteering is to cover expenses, like travel costs
  • you continue to meet the conditions of the benefit you get

Criminal records

If you have a criminal record you can still volunteer in most roles, depending on your offences. You might need a Disclosure and Barring Service check if you want to volunteer with children or vulnerable adults.