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Volunteer policy



Refugee Workers Cultural Association (RWCA) recognise that there can be situations in which volunteers’ help can make an appropriate and significant contribution to the work and service objectives of RWCA. This document, the RWCA volunteer policy, defines the term and sets out the principles, practices and procedures which RWCA will follow in the appointment, management and control of volunteers.


Volunteers may be described as individuals who put their experience, knowledge and skills at the disposal of an organisation, free of charge, with the primary aim of helping the organisation to achieve its service objectives and or with the primary aim of bringing some benefit to the local community. In this sense, volunteers are to be distinguished from students, other work placements, and secondees, where the primary aim is usually for the student or secondee to obtain certain work experience or to carry out work or research in certain areas.


In appointing volunteers RWCA will adhere to the following principles:

  • Volunteers will not be engaged in work which facilitates the loss of an existing employee’s

post, nor on any tasks or projects which (within the past two years) were done by paid employees whose posts have since been deleted;

  • Volunteers will not be used to do the work of paid staff during an industrial dispute;
  • Current RWCA employees will not be engaged as volunteers at RWCA.

Recruitment of volunteers

Volunteers will be selected through the following process:

Step 1

The following items must be agreed by the Director, in consultation with the trade union, before a proposed volunteer placement at RWCA is implemented:

  • a role description, outlining the specific tasks, responsibilities and reporting lines of the volunteer;
  • terms and conditions including the duration, hours, expenses, insurance, etc, relating to the placement;
  • a specification, outlining the relevant experience, skills, knowledge, abilities and equal opportunity awareness necessary to carry out the role effectively.

Step 2

The prospective volunteer will be invited to a panel meeting with the intended line manager and the Director or her/his representative. Using the role outline and the specification the parties will engage in a two-way discussion of the proposed role, of its requirements and of each other’s expectations, with a view to assessing mutual suitability. Following the meeting, the two [organisation] representatives will make a decision within one week regarding the individual’s suitability for the particular role.

Step 3

Prior to commencing their placement at RWCA successful volunteers must provide a reference from a suitable person (excluding relations) attesting to their character and suitability for the position.

Step 4

Prior to commencing their placement at RWCA, each successful volunteer shall be formally allocated to a particular employee who will manage and supervise the volunteer throughout the duration of her/his placement at RWCA. The manager’s responsibilities will include ensuring that the volunteer receives the following:

  • a planned induction to RWCA;
  • regular supervision and support sessions;
  • positive feedback on their contribution;
  • adequate office accommodation, equipment and services to perform their tasks effectively.

Equal opportunities

RWCA recognises that the activity of volunteering can provide a volunteer with experiences and opportunities for self and career development. In accordance with RWCA’s equal opportunity policy, volunteer placements at RWCA will be therefore be open to individuals irrespective of race, gender, disability, sexuality, age or marital status. In addition, the specification must set out the equal opportunity dimension and any specific equality requirements of the role. Where, during the panel meeting (see above) a prospective volunteer demonstrates hostility to, or a clear lack of support for equal opportunity policy, s/he will be deemed automatically to be unsuitable for a volunteer position at RWCA


Where appropriate, the role and placement of the volunteer may be terminated by the Director at one week’s notice, or immediately, where behavior equivalent to gross misconduct has occurred. In all cases the volunteer will be entitled to an explanation of the decision and action taken. The Director will report any such terminations to the Chair of the executive committee.

Discipline and grievance

Volunteers will not be subject to RWCA’s disciplinary procedures. Correspondingly, volunteers will not have access to RWCA’s grievance procedures. However, volunteers will be entitled to use RWCA’s complaints procedure. Where appropriate, the complaint will be investigated fully by

the Director or her/his representative.


Volunteers will be entitled to travel expenses, and subsistence allowance, but may not receive payment for any reason.


Volunteers will be covered by RWCA’s employer’s public liability, professional indemnity where appropriate, and personal accident insurance.

Training and involvement

Where a volunteer is based at RWCA on a day to day basis s/he will be expected to be involved and included in general staff activities, such a staff meetings, and to have general access to RWCA offices. Such volunteers will also be entitled, subject to availability, to undertake two RWCA training courses free of charge in a calendar year.

Monitoring and review

It will be the responsibility of the Director to regularly review the operation of RWCA’s volunteer policy to ensure that it is in accordance with RWCA’s equal opportunity policy.

Information to be provided by the volunteer

It is a requirement that all volunteer are required to provide their names, contact details, addresses and in the circumstance of working with children and vulnerable adults all volunteers will undergo a enhanced CRB check.