Volunteer placements, rights and expenses

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.