Volunteer policy


Re-engage volunteers work together to create better communities. They help to enrich the lives of older people by giving them something to look forward to, and by making sure they know that they are important.

We believe that volunteers bring skills, experience, knowledge, energy, and excitement to Re-engage and that without volunteers we wouldn’t be able to achieve our goals.

This policy sets out our approach to volunteering and outlines:

  • Our commitment to volunteers
  • How we manage the six key volunteer stages
  • What we expect from volunteers

About Re-engage

Re-engage is a charity that is positive about older age and committed to fighting loneliness so that people can have social lives and friendship groups however old they are.

We inspire and enable meaningful connections and shared experiences within communities across the UK for people over 75 facing loneliness and social isolation.

What is volunteering

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) states that:

“Volunteering is when someone spends unpaid time doing something to benefit others…Volunteering can be formal and organised by organisations, or informal within communities. It should always be a free choice made by the person giving up their time.”

Re-engage volunteers are people who freely choose to contribute their time, energy, and skills to support Re-engage’s work. Our volunteers are unpaid; however, expenses are paid for certain activities.

Volunteering at Re-engage

Volunteering has been central to Re-engage since the charity began in 1965. Our volunteer opportunities enable people to connect with and make a real lasting difference to the lives of older people who are experiencing social isolation and loneliness.

We advertise all volunteer opportunities on our website and our roles are varied, offering different time commitments in locations across the UK, including some that can be done remotely. All volunteer roles are open to anyone over the age of 18.

We ask volunteers to commit to volunteering for at least 12 months (except community Christmas call companions who only volunteer throughout December) and provide all volunteers with training, support, regular updates, and communication.

Our commitment to volunteers

We are dedicated to developing, maintaining, and enjoying mutually beneficial relationships that are underpinned by our values, and we empower volunteers to carry out their roles with confidence and enthusiasm.

What volunteers can expect

Communication – we will make it easy for volunteers to get the support they need, we commit to:

  • Open, honest, and transparent two-way communication and timely responses.
  • Providing support and assistance via our online frequently asked questions (FAQs), web contact form, mailbox, and telephone line.
  • Letting volunteers know about changes that are relevant to their role and keeping them abreast of developments within Re-engage.

Community – volunteers are part of the Re-engage community, we commit to:

  • Working alongside volunteers to strengthen the fabric of our society by bringing generations together.
  • Meeting the needs of older people by providing high-quality, effective services that reduce loneliness and social isolation.
  • Encouraging all volunteers to use their local knowledge, insight, and connections to inspire, promote and encourage others to become involved with Re-engage.

Compliance – safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility, we commit to:

  • Working within the principles of safeguarding and safer recruitment.
  • Providing safe services for older people.
  • Providing training and guidance to all volunteers and a clear way for volunteers to give feedback, raise concerns, and complain.

Culture – our values form the basis of how we work and communicate, we commit to:

  • Achieving our mission to end social isolation and loneliness in older people.
  • Working towards our five strategic goals which will enable us to achieve our mission.
  • Following our policies and guidelines that underpin our values, treat people fairly and empower staff and volunteers to support older people safely.

The six key volunteer stages

1. Recruitment

We ensure that volunteer applicants aren’t discriminated against by following a robust recruitment process and our policies and guidelines.

  • We promote volunteering opportunities on our website, via our social media channels, and on local jobs and volunteering boards both nationally and regionally. We promote roles to existing volunteers via a regular section in our e-news and use promotional leaflets where relevant.
  • All volunteer roles have a role description which is available on our website and that clearly outline the requirements of the role, the time commitment needed, the checks and training required, and the benefits of the role.
  • All volunteer applicants must complete an application form which is available on our website and that contains mandatory fields so we can capture the essential information that we need to process the application.

2. Induction, checks and training

We empower people to make informed decisions about volunteering by being transparent about our recruitment process.

  • All volunteer applicants are invited to attend an online group induction where they can learn more about Re-engage and the role(s) they have applied for.
  • Volunteer applicants must provide a reference and complete a check at the required level for the role(s) they have applied for.
  • Volunteer applicants must complete three core training modules and a role specific training module for each role they have applied for.

3. Matching

We prioritise the safety and wellbeing of everyone at Re-engage by only ‘matching’ volunteers who have completed all stages of the recruitment process.

  • Volunteers for remote service are matched to an older person based on their availability and location.
  • Volunteers for in-person services roles are matched to a particular group or club based on their location.
  • Once ‘matched’ remote volunteers are sent a letter explaining how to make their first call, and in-person volunteers are contacted by their local group coordinator.

4. Support

We create bespoke volunteering experiences by offering volunteers a package of support.

  • The Re-engage team is made up of regional staff who are contactable during office hours via our web contact form, mailbox, and telephone line and who respond to requests from help in a timely manner.
  • Our library of FAQs, volunteer training, guidelines and resources are available on our website and refresher training, hints and tips are published in our monthly volunteer newsletter.
  • The safeguarding team are available during office hours to respond to incidents and concerns and to provide support.

5. Reward and recognition

We celebrate and honour volunteers in a person centred and proportionate way by recognising that not all volunteers like to be rewarded and recognised in the same way.

  • We formally recognise the outstanding contributions made by volunteers twice a year through the Marsh Awards and the Re-engage volunteer awards.
  • We provide volunteer references and have reminders built into our systems so that we can celebrate individual milestones with volunteers.
  • We invite and encourage volunteers to take part in projects, steering groups, and advisory panels, and we seek feedback through our annual volunteer survey.

6. Stepping back

We recognise how valuable volunteers are by taking the time to understand and learn from volunteers who choose to step back.

  • We keep volunteering roles interesting and flexible by offering a choice of roles, locations, and time commitments.
  • We don’t overburden volunteers and put into place boundaries and guidelines, support, training, and opportunities to feedback.
  • We make it easy for a volunteer to take a break from volunteering for up to one year, to return to Re-engage as volunteers, and offer alternative ways for them to keep in touch and to stay involved.

What we expect from volunteers

We need volunteers to keep older people safe and at the centre of all that they do, we expect:


  • Communicate in an open, honest, and timely manner.
  • Look or ask for help and support by using our FAQs, web contact form, mailbox, or telephone line.
  • Tell us about changes that will impact on your volunteering, older people, or fellow volunteers in good time.


  • Work alongside staff and other volunteers to strengthen the fabric of our society by bringing generations together.
  • Protect Re-engage and its services by not acting outside of the volunteering role and by sticking to the volunteer boundaries and guidelines.
  • Use local knowledge, insight, and connections to inspire, promote and encourage others to become involved with Re-engage.


  • Take safeguarding seriously and follow our safeguarding policies and procedures.
  • Update volunteer checks and keep up to date and highly skilled by reading Re- engage Matters.
  • Treat older people as adults with capacity who can make their own decisions, regardless of your personal opinion.


  • Work alongside staff and other volunteers to accomplish our mission of ending social isolation and loneliness in older people.
  • Follow our policies and guidelines that underpin our values, treat people fairly and support older people safely.
  • Help us improve by completing volunteer surveys and becoming involved in steering groups, advisory panels, and projects.

Dealing with difficulties

Although from time-to-time difficulties can arise, we find that most issues can be resolved informally, when we are told about them in good time.

When issues do arise, volunteers should contact their group coordinator as soon as possible.

If there is no group coordinator, if the group coordinator is unreachable or if the issue is with the group coordinator, volunteers should then contact the Re-engage team by emailing knowledge@reengage.org.uk or by calling 020 7240 0630.

Formal complaints can be made via the complaint form on our website if an issue has not been resolved or handled satisfactorily.

We promise to:

  • Treat all complaints seriously and deal with them properly.
  • Treat everyone with courtesy and fairness in all their dealings with us.
  • Treat complaints with sensitivity, discretion and understanding.
  • Resolve complaints promptly whenever possible.
  • Learn from complaints and take action to improve.

After a complaint has been submitted, we will:

  • Acknowledge that we have received it.
  • Investigate.
  • Aim to respond within 10 working days.
  • Notify the person making the complaint if we think it will take us longer than 10 days to investigate.

The full Re-engage complaints procedure can be found on our website.

Important volunteer resources

Contact us

We have teams across the UK.


7 Bell Yard


0800 716543

Office phone:

020 7240 0630