A guide for volunteers at YouthNet
“On behalf of everyone at YouthNet, welcome and
thank you for volunteering with us.
Your hard work is vital to making a difference to the lives of
young people who come to YouthNet for support. We
wouldn’t be able to reach or support as many young people,
were it not for people like you, who give up their time to help
We really want you to feel part of the team and get the most
out of your time volunteering with us at YouthNet. So I’d
really encourage you to ask questions, make suggestions and
find out more about what everyone does here. We’d also
value your feedback as well, so we can work hard to ensure
everyone who volunteers with YouthNet has a positive
Emma Thomas, Chief Executive
In this handbook you will find…
• Who we are and what we do
• The essentials
• Our volunteer agreement
• Meet the staff and volunteers
• The benefits of your volunteering
YouthNet is the UK’s leading online
charity, providing advice, information and
support to young people aged 16 to 25
and was founded by Martyn Lewis CBE in
1995. We provide emotional support to
young people through online advice and
guidance, and help them give back by
providing a fast, easy route to all types of
YouthNet is the charity behind TheSite,
an online guide to life for 16-25 year olds.
You can read more about Youthnet on the
Volunteers network here or visit
Who We Are
There’s only one way to get to know what we do - visit
TheSite and see it in action!
The Discussion Boards are
an safe moderated space
where young people can talk
about anything with their
Look at over
Ask a Question
CAB, SANE and
many more we
can answer any
Our Live chats are open 4 times a week
giving young people a space to talk
about anything’s that on their mind. We
run expert chats once a month, where
young people can ask an expert any
question on a specific subject in real
If you’re office based your volunteer manager
will meet with you to give you an induction.
If you’re a virtual volunteer, your induction
will take place via email, over the phone or
through the online community. You can start
your induction here once you’ve signed up to
the Volunteers Network.
While you’re with us
Training and Support
We want to ensure all of our volunteers feel
supported and adequately trained to carry out
their role to the best of their ability. You will be
supported throughout your volunteering by your
volunteer manager. They will regularly check in to
see how you’re getting along and if there’s
anything else you’d like to do whilst volunteering
We offer training tailored to your role and
encourage all volunteers to complete our online
training Essentials Skills for Online Support.
Please speak to your volunteer manager if you feel
you would benefit from any other additional
YouthNet will reimburse reasonable expenses –
see our appendix for the full list.
Travel costs and lunch if you’re office based
Phone or internet costs if you’re a virtual
You will find a copy of our expenses form on the
network – your manager will help you fill it in.
Worried? Don’t bottle it up.
At YouthNet we encourage open dialogue and want
to do our best to ensure you are in a role that you
feel comfortable and happy with.
If you encounter any difficulties whilst volunteering
with us please speak to your volunteer manager. For
example, if you feel the role isn’t right for you, or
you don’t understand what you’ve been asked to do.
If you ever feel the work your set is unrealistic or
not suitable for yourself, please let your volunteer
manager or someone else know.
If you do not feel able to speak to your volunteer
manager please approach either:
Laura Owen (Volunteering Development Manager)
Jade Stapleton (Central Services Director)
We’re happy to give references – please speak to
your volunteer manager. For us to give you a
reference you’ll need to have volunteered for a
reasonable amount of time.
While you’re with us
Make the most of your time here
• Always let your volunteer manager know if you
can’t make your regular shift
• Make sure you join the Volunteers network to get
involved and stay connected with us and other
• Keep a log of what you do every week- this will
help heaps when you come to write CV’s or
• Commit a regular time each week/month for your
volunteering, with an amount that you can manage.
• Keep in touch with your volunteer manager- what
do you enjoy, what don’t you, if there’s any other
ways you’d like to be involved etc.
Chill out, chat, meet people!
Every Friday afternoon from 4.30pm is Wine club
at YouthNet’s head office near Old Street, London.
If you’re in the area please do drop in to unwind for
an hour with other volunteers and staff. It’s our
chance to say thanks and for you to meet us. Just
let us know you are coming so we can welcome
Connect with your fellow volunteers
All YouthNet volunteers can connect to each other and us through the Volunteer Network. You’ll
be able to chat to one another and read the latest news from YouthNet HQ via our online
While you’re with us
Take a look at our “Finding your
way around” discussion to get
you started on the network.
Health & Safety
YouthNet’s volunteers are covered by our
Health & Safety policy in the same way
that our staff are. Please see the
appendix to read the policy in full.
DBS Checks (formerly known as CRB)
If your role involves directly working with
young people it may be necessary for you
to complete a DBS check. This is part of
our safeguarding procedure and your
volunteer manager will speak to you
about this before or during your
Equality & Diversity
YouthNet is firmly committed to diversity
in all areas of our work, we only accept
volunteers based on their suitability for
the role for which they apply. Please take
time to read our Equality & Diversity
Policy in the appendix.
Confidentiality YouthNet volunteers need to maintain
the confidentiality of information gained through their
work with YouthNet. You can take a look at the policy in
the Appendix for guidance on how to do this.
What you can expect of us….
•To agree with you, your voluntary role
•To provide the information and training
you need to carry out your role with
•To provide support and supervision and
support your development in the role
•To appreciate the contribution you’re
making to YouthNet
•To ensure that you are reimbursed for
expenses, as agreed
•To provide references, where requested,
and support with job search skills where
What we expect of you….
•To try to perform your volunteer role as
agreed and to the best of your ability
•To let us know as soon as you can if
you’re unable to carry out any tasks or
timings for your role
•To read and stick to our Confidentiality,
Diversity, General Behaviour and Health &
Safety policies and procedures of YouthNet
The work we do wouldn’t be possible without our
volunteers across the UK. Read below about our
volunteering roles and speak to your volunteer manager
if you’re interested in getting involved in any of them.
Discussion Board Moderators check on posts on
TheSite’s boards to enhance advice and emotional
support given to users.
Live Chat Moderators facilitate and encourage peer to
peer support in our live chat sessions which take place
four times a week.
Relationship Advisors answer relationship
questions from young people through our Ask a
Question service. They are supported by relationships
experts throughout their training.
TheSite Leaders are a group of 16-25 year olds who
help shape the content and direction of TheSite.
Through the online Leaders network they discuss and
develop ideas to help young people.
Photographers Volunteers share their photos to be
used throughout YouthNet’s services, with the majority
of their images used on the articles on TheSite.
What our volunteers do
Communication Champions are a group of
16-25 year olds who provide insights into
young people’s opinions on employability in the
UK, through live chats, blogs and sharing their
employability stories the media.
Commenting Moderators pre-moderate
comments that come through on over the
2000 articles we have on TheSite. They make
sure it fits our commenting policy and respond
to users who have questions and are in need of
guidance and support.
Meet the Staff
Here are the members of staff who work
directly with volunteers and may be your
Visit YouthNet.org to
Meet our staff and our Trustees
Hi I’m Clare
and I support
Hi I’m Laura B and I
I’m Sean, I
Hi I’m Helen! I
support our Live
I’m Jo and I look after
our Board Moderators
Hey, I’m Emma and I
support our commenting
Hey, I’m Katy and I
look after our
My name is
Laura and I
As a volunteer you give your time and skills to
benefit YouthNet and 16-25 year olds, but
volunteering also benefits you too.
The vinspired awards If you’re 16-25 you can start
logging your volunteering hours to work towards a
v10, v50 or v100 award through signing up to
vinspired.com and going to the awards page.
For more information about the vInspired awards
and other accreditation schemes please visit the
YouthNet Volunteers network.
The benefits of
Including Volunteering on your CV
Having volunteering on your CV is just as important
as paid work and qualifications. We’re sure that
through volunteering with YouthNet you will have
gained a wide range of skills that will stand out to
potential employees. So what could these be?
• Commitment of your time
• Communication (particularly for moderators)
• Ability to work with different groups of people
(young, professional etc)
And many more!
Think about: what was my role? What were my
Remember to a include specific examples to back up
your statements, well as any training you may have
been given during your volunteering. If you’d like
anymore guidance on how to communicate the
benefits of your volunteering, please speak to your
For more guidance take a look on the Volunteers
Network at the Making volunteering look great on
your CV discussion.
• Volunteer policy: outlines YouthNet’s vision for volunteering, how we work and the
principles which drive this.
• Health & Safety policy: outlines the health and safety procedures we have in place for staff,
freelancers and volunteers whilst at work.
• Equality & Diversity policy: outlines how YouthNet works to ensure equality and diversity
at work and to our users.
• Confidentiality policy: sets out how employees, freelancers and volunteers should maintain
confidentiality of any information given to them during the course of their duties with YouthNet.
• Email policy: sets out the proper use of YouthNet’s email system.
• Expenses form: your volunteer manager will always be able to provide you with an expenses
form. Here’s a copy for those of you that would like to familiarise yourself with one now.