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Volunteering to Work with Children and Young People
in Islington

Islington has a wide variety of volunteering opportunities for those looking to work with children and young people. How you donate your time is entirely up to you and whether it’s a few hours or a few days per week there are a wide range of childcare placements that will suit you.

Why Volunteer?

People volunteer for a whole host of reasons, and each volunteering opportunity provides its own unique experience. Volunteering can help you to:

  • develop new skills and experience
  • enhance your CV
  • gain valuable references
  • meet new people
  • make a difference to other people’s lives
  • build your confidence in the workplace

Things to Consider

Once you have found a volunteering opportunity that you are interested in, you should take time to consider the following:

  • How much time can you give? Are there specific days and times that you are available?
  • What transferable skills or experience can you offer and what do you hope to gain?
  • Is there any training offered in the role, or qualifications that can be gained while volunteering?
  • Does the position require a CRB (Criminal Record Bureau check) and if so will the organisation pay for it? Please note that a CRB check is a general requirement for anyone working with children and young people.
  • Will you have to pay for travel and food, or will the company offer to help with expenses?
  • Are you receiving any form of state benefit? If so will volunteering affect this?
  • Before contacting an organisation, think about what you want to know about them, and what questions they may ask you.

How to Find a Volunteer Opportunity

The Family Information Service does not directly place volunteers but can signpost people to a wide variety of resources available. Please follow the links below:

Early Years Islington Volunteers Scheme

Islington Early Years Service offers a volunteer programme which enables volunteers to be supported in an appropriate placement in early years settings within Islington. Volunteers, who must have undergone a satisfactory Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) disclosure, are supported by a named supervisor at their place of work as well as by the Early Years Volunteer Coordinator.

The scheme includes the opportunity to gain a Level 1 or 2 accredited CACHE Qualification Caring for Children (QCF).  The qualifications are designed to stimulate interest and encourage the volunteers understanding of the skills and knowledge needed to care for a child. The qualifications are aimed at a range of leaners, including young people needing to develop life skills as well as those who are thinking of working in childcare. It is also suitable for parents who wish to develop parenting skills, mature learners with special educational needs, or where English is an additional language.

Although the qualifications will not fully qualify volunteers to work with children, it does support them in preparing for the 'next steps' either in training or moving towards the world of work. The qualifications will provide a straight forward progression to the next level of study in childcare.

The training involves classroom learning, self study and skill assessment in the work placement.

For further details, please contact Sudeshni Singaperoumal,
Volunteers Coordinator:

Opportunities in the Voluntary Sector


Voluntary Action Islington, VAI

VAI offers support and advice for people living, working or studying in Islington who want to offer their own time. VAI also supports organisations looking to recruit volunteers. Individual confidential interviews are available to new volunteers.

Here To

Website of volunteering opportunities in Islington, enabling people to develop specific skills while volunteering for local organisations. 

Kith and Kids

Kith and Kids
Kith and Kids provides support, activities and a common meeting ground for families who have a person with learning, physical and/or sensory disabilities to share experiences and support each other. Kith & Kids depends on its volunteers for all projects and activities and will help you make your experience count by providing disability-awareness training and on-ongoing support. The vast majority of the 300+ volunteers who join Kith & Kids every year are new to this type of ‘work’. All that is asked for is an open mind, energy and enthusiasm.
National Children's Home / Action for Children

Action for Children
Action for Children is one of the UK's leading children's charities which aims to help children achieve their full potential. Through a range of services and volunteers Action for Children supports some of the UK's most vulnerable and excluded children and young people who face difficulties such as poverty, disability and abuse.

Keen LondonKeen
Keen provides free weekly sports and recreational sessions for children and young adults with special needs in the London area. It does this by pairing them up with trained volunteer coaches. KEEN London can only undertake its work through the involvement of its dedicated volunteers. To become a KEEN volunteer and work one to one with these special children requires no previous experience or sporting ability, just an enthusiasm to get involved. Full training and support is offered along with the reimbursement of travel costs.
Home Start

Home Start
This charity has been supporting families in Islington since 1996. Home-Start Islington recruits and trains volunteers to offer practical and emotional support to families with at least one child under five years old. Many of the families that Home-Start Islington work with are feeling isolated and one of the volunteers roles is to raise the parents' self esteem so that they are able to become more confident to access other services. Volunteers visit families in their own homes once a week for three to four hours. Local volunteers undertake an eight week accredited preparation course which covers a number of topics including safeguarding children. Volunteers are interviewed and are subject to a CRB check. Volunteers receive expenses and have individual and group supervision as well as the opportunity for ongoing training and personal development.

Barnardo's works with the most vulnerable children and young people, helping them transform their lives and fulfil their potential. They are the UK's largest children's charity, supporting 100,000 children and their families through more than 300 projects in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Volunteers help Barnardo’s in a variety of ways. They volunteer directly with children and young people, in Barnardo’s shops or offices, or raise vital funds. Depending on your interests and skills, Barnardo’s can make sure that you find the right volunteering opportunity to suit you. There are also special opportunities for employee volunteering, young volunteers and university students.
Community Service Volunteers (CSV)

Community Service Volunteers (CSV)
This is the UK’s largest volunteering and training charity which involves people in high quality volunteering and learning opportunities that tackle real need and enrich lives. CSV organises full-time, part-time and one-off volunteering opportunities for different groups in the community, including young adults (through Millennium Volunteers for 16-24 year olds), people over 50 (through the RSVP - Retired and Senior Volunteer Project) and for employees of large corporations. Please click here for information on CSV & Islington Think Family volunteering opportunity.

Beanstalk, formerly Volunteer Reading Help

Beanstalk is a national charity which trains and supports volunteers to work one-to-one with children and help them with their self-esteem and confidence through the medium of reading. Children (usually in primary schools) are referred by their class teacher as being likely to benefit from the scheme; many of the children Beanstalk helps never or rarely have the undivided attention of an adult.
This is an online database listing opportunities to volunteer throughout the UK. Enter your postcode and interests, browse the opportunities, and apply online.

Volunteering England
Volunteering England's website offers a range of resources for anyone who works with or manages volunteers as well as to those who want to volunteer. Volunteering England is at the centre – bringing ideas and people together, developing better networks and structures, and initiating projects to support volunteering in a wide range of fields, such as health and social care, sport and employer supported volunteering.

This is a national charity inspiring and connecting a new generation of people to volunteer in their communities, and enabling charitable organisations and businesses to develop innovative and effective volunteer recruitment programmes. Anyone can join a Time Bank and offer their time and skills in exchange for those of other members. Activities can be anything people might need and range from gardening to music lessons or a member giving someone a lift in their car and all time given is equally valued. Some other Time Banking activities might include; neighbourhood renewal and environmental clean ups, community safety, health, DIY and involving older people as active citizens.

PALACE (Play and Learn and Creative Education)
Palace offers services primarily for children with physical and or learning disabilities to enable them to reach their full potential by providing a place where children of all abilities can meet, play and learn in an inclusive environment. If you are interested in volunteering please contact Sue King, Co-ordinator at Palace for All either on 020 7561 1689 or by email at  

Chance UKChance UK
Chance UK is a registered charity that organises mentoring programmes for 5-11 year olds (in Hackney and Islington) who have behavioural difficulties, and are at risk of developing anti-social or criminal offending behaviour later in life. Our innovative, individually tailored programmes are delivered by carefully screened and trained volunteer mentors who are closely supervised and supported in their work. We received GoldStar status in 2006, and our programme is currently being replicated across the UK in partnership with Action For Children.

Toynbee HallToynbee Hall
Toynbee Hall works with the local community in the East End of London aiming to develop local action into national solutions. Their work tackles poverty. Importantly this includes tackling the causes of not only financial poverty but poverty of opportunity and aspiration.