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Volunteers are a cornerstone of Islamic Help and fundamental to the work of the organisation. Islamic Help values its volunteers and their willingness and enthusiasm to donate the most precious of resources, namely, their time. As such we are able to provide a range of volunteering opportunities and experiences based on volunteers' interests, desires and skills.
We are committed to making the volunteering experience a truly reciprocal one and work hard to ensure that while benefiting from the contribution volunteers make, we provide volunteers with a rewarding and beneficial experience of volunteering with us.
Let your imagination shape your
volunteering experience at Islamic Help
Volunteering with Islamic Help takes any form that the volunteer wishes it to take. We start by asking about your skills and interests and then try to provide you with the most appropriate of volunteering experiences. Of course, fundraising remains the most popular form of volunteering but there are many other ways in which our volunteers contribute. Many assist with office and administrative support duties, others steward at events that the organisation holds, and others organise events.
Islamic Help offers its volunteers opportunities to volunteer abroad and recognises the value of the experience to them. Of course, logistically it can be tricky taking volunteers overseas and the opportunities are fewer than with domestic ventures, but Islamic Help is always pushing the boundaries to allow volunteers to maximise their potential.
We rely on the contributions of our volunteers and over the years have developed programmes to help them participate in our overseas programme. Mission Possible, our flagship volunteering programme, evolved from Mission to Mafia, a ground-breaking initiative which started in 2008 and was an unmitigated and resounding success for all those involved.
For the two Missions - the second one was in 2010 - a group of UK-based volunteers went to Mafia Island off the coast of Tanzania to carry out aid work. The volunteers had to demonstrate a certain level of commitment in order to be accepted onto the Mission, including raising £5,000 to pay for their own travel and the aid they distributed. After their recruitment, the volunteers were trained and supported by the Islamic Help team in readiness for their journey.
That philosophy and policy has continued with Mission Possible, which now enlists volunteers for several deployments each year. The work carried out by volunteers at their destination includes, among other things, working with orphans, schoolchildren, distributing health and medical aid, taking part in community building projects and helping establish livelihood ventures. Full details of Mission Possible and how to take part can be found at the Mission Possible pages on this website (http://islamichelp.org.uk/missionpossible).
In 2014, Islamic Help widened the range of opportunities it offers volunteers by starting deployments to the Middle East to help distribute aid to Syrian refugees. On the first of these, three volunteers raised fund to travel to Jordan where they joined Islamic Help staff in distributing aid to Syrian families in refugee camps (see Volunteers Blogs).
There are other opportunities to travel to our country offices and with our International Programmes Team. Volunteers have travelled out on numerous occasions - however, those wishing to travel abroad will need to demonstrate a certain level of commitment to Islamic Help and to international development work.
Why do people volunteer?
There are many reasons why people choose to get involved. Here are just a few:
Who can volunteer?
Anybody is welcome to volunteer for Islamic Help - we are committed to ensuring equality of opportunity for everyone who volunteers with us. We have volunteers who are students, retired, unemployed, employed, elderly and young and our volunteers are drawn from a variety of ethnic and religious backgrounds.
Any volunteers who want to work with children may be subject to CRB checks.
Do you offer training to volunteers?
We hold volunteer seminars and also provide induction training to ensure that volunteers are able to carry out their tasks in as safe a way as possible. We also train our volunteers so that they are familiar with the organisation and its work. In addition we provide training and materials so that volunteers have the requisite knowledge and skills to carrying out any given task.
The volunteer co-ordinator or another member of staff supervises the work of volunteers and will be on hand to answer questions and queries. Volunteers who undertake fundraising are supported in their role by the Fundraising Team and staff who are able to address questions and queries.
What will I get out of volunteering?
You can get whatever it is that you want to get from the experience but you can expect to acquire skills, experience, confidence, new friends and contacts and the satisfaction of knowing that you have made a difference to the lives of countless people around the world!! Oh… and you will definitely get hours of fun and laughter along the way!
How much time do I have to give?
As much or as little time as you have to spare! Simply tell us how much time you can give and when you can give it and we will find a volunteering role to accommodate you. Remember your contribution is valued by us no matter how big or small.
Our volunteers give their time according to their circumstances - some volunteer on a regular basis for a few hours a week, others volunteer at one-off events, still others join our database and are happy to step in we need extra volunteer support.
What skills do I need to volunteer?
This will depend on what you choose to do. We have many highly skilled volunteers who contribute to our work. However, many roles do not require a specific skill set. We will work with you to identify volunteering roles and if you do not have the necessary skills for a particular role it may be that we can support you in developing them.
Will volunteering affect my benefits?
No. Volunteering should not affect the benefit payments you receive. Volunteers are not paid for their time. People claiming Job Seekers' Allowance (JSA) can volunteer as long as they remain available for work and are actively seeking paid employment.
People claiming Incapacity Benefit, Income Support and / or Disability Living Allowance can also volunteer.
However, we recommend that you contact the Benefits Agency or your Jobcentre Plus and take their advice on any implications volunteering may have on your benefits.
I'm an asylum seeker / refugee, can I volunteer?
People who have refugee status or have exceptional leave to remain are allowed to do any type of work, including voluntary work. You may have a letter saying that you must not engage in paid work but this does not apply to roles that are voluntary and you are entitled to receive out-of-pocket expenses.
Again we recommend that you take independent advice if you have any concerns about volunteering.
Please note too that any volunteering involving work with children may mean that we have to carry out Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks - if you are a recent arrival this can take some time.
Will it cost me anything to volunteer?
No, volunteering for Islamic Help should not leave you out of pocket - in fact, we will try to reimburse legitimate expenses.
Volunteer Success Stories
Countless Islamic Help volunteers have made a real difference to the lives of others whilst gaining practical experience, skills and insight for themselves. Here are just a few!
"I have been a volunteer for Islamic Help since April 2010 and have really enjoyed my experience of volunteering! Having started with helping out at events I then applied to go on the Mission to Mafia. Following an intense period of fundraising to raise £5000 I was thrilled to be part of the team deployed to Mafia Island, Tanzania. The experience was phenomenal and opened my eyes to the realities of poverty and to how hard charities work to try to alleviate it. Islamic Help has helped me more than words can describe and I definitely recommend volunteering with Islamic Help as they make you feel valued and appreciated!"
Shabana Parveen 23 Years Old - Graduate in Social Policy
"It is a great privilege to be volunteering with an organisation like Islamic Help, the amazing and unique work they do in the most needy parts of the world is truly exceptional. It was this reputation that brought me to volunteer for this amazing charity, after I was made redundant from a senior position in the NHS. I wanted to do something worthwhile and rewarding with my time and work with people I admired and respected, which I found in Islamic Help. I have learnt new skills and have been given opportunities to help me in this world and more importantly in the next world. I am truly amazed at the dedication of the staff and the large number of volunteers at Islamic Help and look forward to continuing to work with Islamic Help"
Waheed Saleem BSc, FRSA - Director of WS Associates Midlands Ltd
Volunteering at Events
There's nothing quite like being part of a team that organises and manages a major event in the Islamic Help Calendar – most such events are designed to highlight any number of the issues that we seek to address, raise much needed funds for tackling such issues or to contribute to events held by other organisations that we support.
Thanks to a large contingent of dedicated volunteers we always have a strong presence at one such event - the GPU – the sense of satisfaction that our volunteers get from seeing the fruits of their contribution is palpable!
You too can help make our events memorable, raise the profile of Islamic Help and most importantly of all raise money for our work across the world.