A Hyde Park nursery volunteer with her back to the camera
Hyde Park

Volunteering FAQs

Volunteering is an incredibly rewarding experience, and we understand you may have many questions on how you can get involved, what volunteering entails, what skills you may need and whether training is included. 

The frequently asked questions below will help answer many of these queries.

We look forward to seeing you soon.

What happens next?

You can get an idea of the types of opportunities by looking at our webpage. You can also search all our live volunteer opportunities on our Volunteer Hub. Once you’ve seen something you are interested in you must register on the Volunteer hub. You may be able to join the opportunity straight away or it may be a more formal application.

If you have any further questions you can fill our enquiry form.

Who can volunteer?

We do not have an upper age limit for volunteers, unless legally stated e.g driving opportunities. For most volunteering opportunities the minimum age to volunteer as an individual is 18 years. People under 18 years old are welcome at family volunteering events which require that they are always accompanied by an appropriate parent or guardian. These events may have their own appropriate age bracket, assessed by the event organiser.  Children aged 16-17 years old may also be able to volunteer with us without a parent or guardian present, providing we have their written consent in advance of the activity taking place. These volunteering opportunities will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and will follow The Royal Parks safeguarding guidelines. We will clearly state on the role description whether the opportunity is suitable for 16-18 year olds.

Please note, we cannot always guarantee supervision for a task day, in which case younger people may have to be accompanied by their parent or guardian.

Yes. Volunteering should not normally affect a person’s right to benefits. There is no limit on the amount of time a volunteer can commit to, as long as they continue to meet the conditions of the benefit or tax credit they are in receipt of. Volunteers should be advised to discuss their volunteering activity with their benefits agency or job centre. For full details see the GOV.UK website.

We aim to offer a variety of opportunities to suit many needs. We know how important volunteering and being outside is for all, and do our best to make sure there is something for everyone. 

Due to the nature of the park environment, some opportunities such as the conservation volunteering, may not be accessible to people with mobility issues and may require a reasonable level of fitness. When there are restrictions to consider for a volunteer opportunity, it will be stated on the opportunity advert on the volunteer hub. If you are not sure whether an opportunity is for you, get in touch and we can assist you further. 

We hope you can find the perfect opportunity; however, we are always happy to hear from you if you feel there is potential for us to be more inclusive.

It’s your responsibility to make sure you can volunteer while in the UK. 

At present there are no restrictions on volunteering for members of the European Union. The same freedom is extended to nationals of Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland, which are members of the European Economic Area (EEA).

Individual volunteers from outside the UK should take responsibility for ensuring they are permitted to volunteer, as breaching their visa conditions could jeopardise their status. Holders of a visitor visa can volunteer for up to 30 days for a charity registered in the UK.

Yes. People who have refugee status or humanitarian protection, and their family members, can volunteer. Asylum seekers (people in the process of applying for refugee status) and family members are not allowed to work while their claim is being decided by the Home Office, but they can volunteer, even when they are appealing against a decision to refuse them asylum. If your final appeal is refused and you’re denied leave to remain then you must stop volunteering.

How does volunteering work?

In general, there’s no minimum time volunteers must give, and we make sure that we have flexibility in our roles as much as possible. However, for some roles, e.g Volunteer Rangers and gardening opportunities benefit from regular involvements due to the more in-depth training that is needed. 

A suggested time commitment will be outlined in each Role Description.

We reimburse reasonable travel expenses between your home and where you volunteer. The cap is limited to the same price as a Zones 1-6 TfL travelcard. We have a travel expense claim form which outlines the terms.

As a Royal Parks volunteer you will receive training relating to your role and relevant health and safety instruction so that you can complete tasks safely and successfully. The amount and nature of training offered will vary according to your role and any existing experience or skill level.

For most roles you will receive training from your Volunteer Co-ordinator but for some roles, formal training may be required, and this will be discussed during your induction.

Every volunteer receives an induction to The Royal Parks and their role. Your induction may be part of your first day of volunteering or may be arranged as a separate training day before you start. The length and depth of induction will be dependent on your role.

The Volunteer Team sends out a monthly newsletter this will include any key volunteering updates and any new and interesting volunteering opportunities. Most site and role specific updates will be through your volunteer coordinator with face-to-face briefings or one-to-one chats, or update emails. These both keep volunteers informed and ask for volunteers’ input on decisions.

There’s also our dedicated Volunteer Hub where volunteers can access key documents and policies, record their hours, sign up for sessions and keep their key information up to date.

Yes. We run thank you events across the parks. Volunteer’s work is promoted on our social media channels and internal publications. We also have a scheme of recognition based on recorded hours and many other ad hoc thank yous across the year.

The Royal Parks has Employer and Public Liability Insurance which covers volunteers in the event of negligence caused by volunteers whilst working in the Parks during their session. Make sure you only carry out tasks that are part of your role description or have been given to you by your Volunteer Co-ordinator, otherwise you may not be covered by our insurance. You must be registered on the Volunteer Hub to be covered by TRP insurance.

The Royal Parks insurance does not cover personal accidents or loss/ damage of personal belongings or valuables. We recommend that you do not bring any non-essential items with you when you volunteer.

Volunteering can be an even better experience when doing it alongside friends. If a friend wants to come along, they must also register as a volunteer on our volunteer hub and sign up to the specific session or opportunity.

The Royal Parks does not allow dogs (or any other animal) at any volunteering sessions unless it is a registered qualified service/support assistance dog. If you are attending and have the need for a service or assistance dog to join you, please do let your volunteer coordinator know before attending the session.

Otherwise, unfortunately, due to the type of volunteer opportunities that we offer we do not allow volunteers to bring along their dogs. Most of the areas that we work in are refuges for wildlife and so this is not appropriate. However well behaved your dog is, not everyone feels comfortable around dogs.

All volunteer opportunities will state what is the minimum required age to take part. If the task is not suitable for the age of your child please do not bring them to the session.

Can groups get involved?

Yes. We run a Corporate Volunteering programme. Please get in touch with our Fundraising team to get more information.

If you are a school group, please get in touch with our learning team to hear more about how you can get involved. Students and staff can expect a warm welcome in our iconic green spaces, connecting with nature, learning about the park environments, wildlife and heritage through hands-on practical activities.

We offer opportunities for local groups, charities and organisations to gain access, connect and learn about nature, heritage and wellbeing.

If you’d like to visit the Royal Parks with your community group or charity, would like to participate in our programmes, or have an idea for a community project, please get in touch with our Access and Engagement team.