Frequently asked questions
How old do I have to be to volunteer with Second Step?
The minimum age to volunteer with Second Step is 18.
How long does it take to be a volunteer with Second Step?
As we work with adults at risk we have a rigorous recruitment procedure. This includes a DBS check and a reference. We also ask that volunteers complete our basic training, which takes 1 and a half days, before joining the service they will volunteer with.
We estimate that it takes approximately 8-10 weeks to complete all the stages required before being ready to volunteer. If you have opted to be a one to one mentor there may also be a period of waiting to be matched with a suitable mentee.
I am a student of counselling /psychotherapy, can I do a placement with you?
We are not able to provide counselling or student placements. We do not have staff capacity for appropriate placements and supervision for counselling students.
I would like to be able to practise counselling or CBT. Will I be able to do that if I volunteer with Second Step?
We do not offer our service users one to one counselling. As an organisation we are committed to providing a recovery-focused support and we ask that our volunteers are committed to working within this approach.
I am receiving support, am I able to volunteer?
We are unable to accept volunteers who are receiving a high level of support. For people on a lower level we will evaluate your suitability on a case by case basis.
I am in supported housing, am I able to volunteer?
Volunteers need to be able to live independently for six months, whether on their own or within shared accommodation. If you receive a low level of support we will consider your suitability on a case by case basis.
I’m in recovery from alcohol and drug misuse, can I volunteer?
You need to be in recovery for 6 months. If you are on a low level prescription for substance misuse then please let us know and we’ll have a chat with you about it.
I have a police record. Will I be able to volunteer?
All volunteers need to complete a DBS before starting to volunteer with us. If you have convictions it does not necessarily mean that you can not volunteer, we will complete a risk evaluation and management plan if necessary.
I am on benefits. Will I be able to claim expenses?
We pay expenses for travel, including bus or car travel. We also will pay for refreshments over five hours volunteering in a day, and drinks to a maximum of £2 per drink for mentors per meeting. Volunteering with us should not affect your benefits in any way.
What training is available before starting volunteering?
We require that our volunteers attend a one day core training programme, covering issues such as boundaries, confidentiality, mental health stigma and Recovery. We also have a half day induction to Second Step that also includes Safeguarding. There is Mentoring and Befriending training for volunteers who would like one to one roles. After this training there is a service specific induction. Second Step also runs training programmes that volunteers can request to attend alongside staff.
What support will I get from Second Step?
All volunteers have one to one support and supervision from a volunteer coordinator, they are also invited to group supervision with other volunteers who are doing the same role. You will also have regular check – in’s from your coordinator.
The staff of volunteer services are based in the Second Step offices at Brunswick Square and are available from Monday – Friday if you need anything.
I’m only available on the evenings and weekends, can I still volunteer?
Yes, however, most of our projects run during office hours. We can try to match you in a one to one mentoring relationship or see if there is a request for an activity group, but please be aware that it depends on the service user’s needs and requests and you may be waiting some time.
Please also be aware that the training is held during the week.
What commitment do you need from me?
We ask all volunteers to commit for up to 4 hours per week (including travel time) for 12 months.