Example Volunteer Policy

Volunteering the Woodcraft Way



So what is a volunteer?

  • Woodcraft Folk Volunteer Policy
  • Policy Implementation

Job Descriptions For Key Volunteering Positions In The Woodcraft Folk

  • Job Descriptions: Group Roles
  • Job Descriptions District Roles


  • Incidental Expenses
  • Travel Expenses

Training for Volunteers

  • Some DO’S and DON’TS for volunteers


So what is a Volunteer?

Usually the definition implies that you ‘give your time freely for the benefit of others’. The Woodcraft Folk is an organisation made up of volunteers who give freely of their time because they are committed to the aims and principles of the organisation and enjoy working with children and youth in the informal education context.

The Woodcraft is made up of many different types of Volunteers some of which are members, others supporters and others parents or young people wanting to do something to promote the development of the aims and principles of the organisation.  Some are not even aware that they are doing this whilst others view this as their lifetimes challenge.


Volunteers come to us in various ways but clearly share these common objectives.

As a Woodcraft member you may not recognise this volunteering aspect to your membership, however it is increasingly evident in today’s world that we need to understand some fundamental principles of volunteering and recognise, value and celebrate our volunteers. 

The Volunteering Policy has been developed with this in mind and the additional guidance papers on roles and responsibilities to further develop our work with young people.


Do you recognise any of these as volunteers?               

  • Group Leaders and helpers
  • Young adult members  
  • Parents on the rota at group
  • Minibus drivers for camps and outings   
  • Retired supporters who help with a project for our members
  • Parents or others who fundraise to support our work, locally and nationally.
  • Millennium Volunteers and Playout volunteers who help us reach some of our goals in the wider community
  • Adults who help with administration and finance in some way. 

I am sure you could add to the list, but our challenge is to understand the various contributions being made, so as to enable others to volunteer within our organisation and to sustain and develop our volunteer base.

Whilst we can acknowledge that there are thousands of people who want to volunteer we need to understand why they should come to us and how to enable them to make a positive contribution to our common goals.


Woodcraft Folk Volunteer Policy

Statement of Values

The Woodcraft Folk is an educational movement for children and young people.  It is designed to help develop their self confidence and activity in society, with the aim of helping to build a world based on equality, friendship, peace and co-operation.  We seek to develop in our members a critical awareness of the world and shall help to develop the knowledge, attitudes, values and skills which are necessary for them to secure their equal participation in the democratic process, thus enabling them to bring about the changes that they feel are necessary to create a more equal and caring world.

The Woodcraft Folk recognises the important contribution that volunteers make to our organisation. We believe that we should invest in our volunteers. To this end, we shall provide regular and on-going support, supervision and training, to enable volunteers to develop their skills, both in order to enhance their volunteering work with us and to help them contribute to the wider community.

All volunteers in the Woodcraft have rights and responsibilities. This will include involvement in a variety of decision-making bodies, the payment of out of pocket expenses where possible, and access to grievance procedures.


The Rights of Volunteers

All Woodcraft Folk volunteers are entitled to be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of gender, race, colour, disability, religion, age or sexual orientation.


Volunteers have a right to:

  • Accurate information on the organisation and its policies;
  • A clear description of the tasks that they expected to undertake and the skills needed to undertake those tasks effectively;
  • Opportunities for self development, through training and support;
  • Have a safe working environment;
  • Have agreed, out-of pocket expenses reimbursed where possible;
  • Negotiate a choice of roles and tasks;
  • A named person they can go to for advice, training, support and peer mentoring;
  • Protection from exploitation by other volunteers and service users;
  • Say ‘no’ without feeling guilty;
  • Have their contribution valued by all sections of the organisation;
  • Receive constructive feedback on their contribution;
  • Be covered by appropriate insurance;
  • A clear understanding of accountability.


The Responsililities of Volunteers

  • To treat everyone associated with the organisation – children and adults - with courtesy and respect;
  • To be reliable, particularly with agreed arrangements;
  • To co-operate with other volunteers.
  • To undertake relevant training when necessary;
  • To exchange information and feedback;
  • To ask for support when and where it is needed;
  • To carry out agreed roles and tasks;
  • To respect the confidentiality of members, visitors and the organisation;
  • To be reliable and communicate the agreed level of commitment;
  • To notify the appropriate person if you are unavailable or unable to fulfil your volunteer duty.
  • To be aware of national policies and procedures;
  • To follow our Child Protection policy.


Recruitment and Selection of Volunteers

All prospective volunteers will be:

  • Provided with information on the aims and principles of the Woodcraft Folk;
  • Invited to an informal interview to establish their reasons for wanting to volunteer and the skills and experience they could contribute;
  • Offered confirmation when they have been accepted as a volunteer;
  • Provided with clear information on what is expected of them and what training and support will be offered to them;
  • Offered a trial period of up to 6 months, after which they will be confirmed as an established Woodcraft volunteer.
  • Confirmed as an established volunteer after a meeting with the volunteer co-ordinator, where the trial period will be reviewed and any issues that have arisen discussed and agreed.



  • All volunteers are expected to provide two references;
  • All volunteers are required to undergo a CRB check if working with children on a regular basis;

These references and checks are important in order to give assurance to service users and the general public; they also offer volunteers a degree of credibility and reassure other volunteers and parents.



Districts will consult with volunteer members about their training needs, and will offer volunteers training and support to maintain their interest and job satisfaction.

Volunteer support will be provided through:

  • Formal training opportunities;
  • Informal advice & information sharing;
  • Counselling where needed;
  • Having work reviewed from time to time;
  • Reviews and discussions at District Meetings;
  • One to one supervision where needed;
  • Peer mentoring;



Every Volunteer has Public Liability cover when taking part in agreed Woodcraft activities, such as group activities and camps.

Volunteers need to ensure that any vehicle used for transporting children or adults is covered for this purpose.



The Woodcraft Folk believes that volunteers should be able to claim back reasonable, agreed expenses they incur in the course of their activities. The following benefits can be claimed without effecting entitlement to benefits:

  • Travel to and from the place where the volunteering takes place;
  • Travel whilst volunteering;
  • Miscellaneous expenses – such as telephone calls, postage, meals (if agreed in advance);

All expenses need to be claimed by following Woodcraft financial procedures, and require original receipts.


A Final Note

Volunteers are important to us. It is important that you as volunteers enjoy your experience as a volunteer and that your needs and expectations are met. If you have questions, concerns or if you are unhappy about anything, please talk with your volunteer co-ordinator. Many problems can be sorted out through discussion.


Woodcraft Folk Training Policy

I have read the information in this policy and would like to discuss ways of volunteering with the Woodcraft Folk.






Policy Implementation

To implement the Volunteer Policy each district will need to discuss and make plans to ensure they are able to meet the requirements. Here are some documents that may help you.


Job Descriptions For Key Volunteering Positions In The Woodcrafat Folk

The following are job descriptions with a concise list of tasks for Woodcraft Folk Groups and Districts to function at what is currently considered best practice.

The roles are not prescriptive and, if required, can be combined or altered to suit local conditions.

However, there must be a clear understanding of what the volunteer’s tasks are in any role that the volunteer might carry out on behalf of the Woodcraft Folk. (For further guidance on this issue please refer to the Woodcraft Folk's Volunteering Policy and Code of Good Practice.)

At the present time all volunteering roles within the Woodcraft Folk in England, Wales and Scotland require a Standard Enclosure by the CRB(S). Some roles within Woodcraft Folk Scotland require an Enhanced Disclosure by the CRBS.

Group Roles

  • Group Helper - Undisclosed (a transitionary role while waiting for Disclosure)
  • Group Helper – Standard Disclosure
  • Woodcraft Folk Group Leader – Enhanced DisclosureWoodchip Leader (up to 6 years)

·          Elfin Leader (6 – 9 years)

·          Pioneer Leader (10 – 12 years)

·          Venturer Leader (13 – 15 years)

  • Group Treasurer
  • Group Coordinator
  • Group Secretary

District Roles

  • District Coordinator/Chair
  • District Volunteer Coordinator
  • District Treasurer
  • District Membership Secretary
  • District Secretary
  • District Child Protection Officer – Enhanced disclosure
  • District Disclosure Signatory – Separate form required, enhanced disclosure

In order for groups and/or districts to be fully proactive within their community there are other roles where volunteers could play an important part. Some possibilities are given below.

Other Roles

  • Funding Officer
  • Publicity
  • Web-site Manager
  • Training Officer
  • Local Co-op Representative

In any of the roles outlined in the following pages where contact with children or young people is involved then all volunteers should remember that the safety and well being of the children attending any Woodcraft activity is their prime responsibility.


Group Roles


Group Helper Undisclosed: While waiting for their disclosure they must continually be in presence of two other disclosed volunteers and not be given any child care responsibilities

Where working with young people is involved all volunteers should be encouraged to become a registered member of the Woodcraft Folk and ideally an “acknowledged” Woodcraft Folk Leader by a mixture of experience through participation in group nights and other events, and attending specific training events as suggested by the group leader or district coordinator.

Group Helper: must be over 14.  – Standard Disclosure

  • Take an active role as agreed with the Leader(s).
  • Encourage and help the children to participate fully in the activities.
  • Are aware of Woodcraft Aims and Principles, Code of Conduct, Child Protection Policy and Safety Guidelines.
  • Is fully supported and supervised by the Group Leader or other assigned responsible person.

Group Leader: must be over 18 – Enhanced Disclosure

  • An experienced Woodcraft Member – with an accepted minimum standard of experience  (what we mean by “minimum” is still under discussion)
  • Ensures group is run according to the aims and principles and program of the Woodcraft Folk
  • In co-operation with others (including young people) plans and co-ordinates the activities of the group
  • Where necessary supervises and empowers helpers to lead activities and be involved.
  • Attend District meetings

Group helpers and Group Leaders may have other tasks that they can carry out on behalf of their group or District.

Group Treasurer

  • Collect subs
  • Keep good Group accounts
  • Prepare financial report for Group meetings
  • Reimburse volunteer expenses
  • Keeps Records of Gift Aid declarations
  • Prepares end of year accounts for AGM or passes to District Treasurer for consolidation into District accounts.
  • Pays Group contribution to District Treasurer (including registration fees)
  • Gives annual account at District AGM
  • Returns annual accounts to Head Office for consolidation into their accounts
  • Pay Group registration fees

 Group Co-coordinator

  • Oversees the group activities and is its contact number
  • Ensures the group functions within its constitution or district constitution
  • Ensures the group is functioning well and working within the Woodcraft Folk Constitution, its Aims and Principles and Program.
  • Calls group meetings
  • Encourages the groupto take part in District, national and international events.
  • Receive complaints and grievances
  • Ensure all adults are made aware of group program
  • Liaises with other group leaders on group progression of young people

(The task below could be given to a Volunteer coordinator if you decide to have one)

  • Acts as contact number for new volunteers
  • Help recruit and place volunteers
  • Develop effective partnerships with individuals and organizations that can support the local volunteering strategy.
  • Plan, organize and co-ordinate the induction of all new volunteers
  • Help volunteers develop the knowledge, skills and competence they need, both to fulfill

their roles within the Woodcraft Folk and as part of their personal development.

  • Gather and record personal information about volunteers, store this information securely and use it only for agreed purposes in line with data protection legislation. - (duplicate withDistrict Membership Secretary)
  • Provide volunteer support
  • If one is not already in place, develop with others, a volunteering strategy for the Group and /or District.
  • Conduct exit interviews

The tasks below could be given to a Group Secretary if you decide to have one.

  • Keep a copy of all the children health forms
  • Keep records of all children attending the group
  • Processes membership applications
  • Pursues applicants references
  • Keeps up to date records of all Adult volunteers in the group
  • Takes minutes at Group meetings
  • Distributes Minutes and Correspondence to Group Members
  • Receives and Distributes letters


District Roles


District Coordinator/Chair

  • Oversees District and its groups.
  • Is the contact number for the Woodcraft Folk in the area
  • Ensures District functions within its constitution
  • Calls District meetings and draw upan agenda
  • Ensures groups are functioning well and working within the Woodcraft Folk Constitution, its Aims and Principles and Program.
  • Acts as contact number for new volunteers
  • Receives and Distributes letters
  • Encourages groups to take part in District, national and international events.
  • Receive complaints and grievances

District Volunteer Coordinator

  • If one is not already in place, develop, with others, a volunteering strategy for the Group/District
  • Help recruit and place volunteers
  • Develop effective partnerships with individuals and organizations that can support your volunteering strategy.
  • Plan, organize and co-ordinate the induction of all new volunteers
  • Help volunteers develop the knowledge, skills and competence they need, both to fulfill their roles with the Woodcraft Folk and as part of their personal development.
  • Gather and record personal information about volunteers, store this information securely and use it only for agreed purposes in line with data protection legislation. - (duplicate with DMS)
  • Provide volunteer support
  • Conduct exit interviews

District Treasurer

  • Keeps good District accounts
  • Prepare financial report for District meetings
  • Reimburses volunteer expenses
  • Gives annual account at District AGM
  • Returns annual accounts to Head Office
  • Pays group registration fees.
  • Keeps Records of Gift Aid declarations

District Membership Secretary

  • Processes membership applications
  • Pursues applicants references
  • Keeps up to date records of all Adult members in District
  • First contact in District for volunteer enquiries.
  • May be first contact in District for group membership.
  • Directs enquiries to appropriate groups.
  • Holds Disclosure outcome Information.
  • (This post-holder could also be a district disclosure signatory – see below description)

District Secretary

  • Takes minutes at District Meetings
  • Distributes Minutes and Correspondence to District Members
  • Sends letters as directed by District committee
  • Receives Letters

District Child Protection Officer  - Enhanced disclosure

  • Have some training in the area of child protection
  • Provide training to new volunteers in child protection
  • Keep up to date with current legislation regarding child protection
  • Be responsible for ensuring that procedures regarding child protection (inc, health and safety, checking volunteers etc) are followed
  • Be ready to intervene in any hazardous situations involving a child and encourage others to do so as well
  • Be the first port of call for any leader, helper etc. who has concerns about a child
  • Liaise with (and at times pass on information to) the statutory child protection agencies.

District Disclosure Signatory – Separate form required, enhanced disclosure

  • Meet disclosure applicants and check their photographic identity and other ID documents in their presence, and that details have been correctly entered on their form
  • Help applicants with any queries regarding the disclosure form
  • Complete the signatory part of the form and check the form has been filled in correctly
  • Send forms to the collator (Scottish officer).
  • Be responsible for informing group leader / district coordinator of outcome of disclosure process (this job is often taken by the district/group membership secretary).


All the volunteers described above will need a disclosure if they are at any time, in a childcare position.

“A child care position is a position whose normal duties include caring for, training, supervising or being in sole charge of children.”

It is clear that all volunteers, helpers or leaders that run groups nights, outings and camps will have to be disclosed.



Woodcraft Folk financial procedures allow for reasonable expenses to be paid to volunteers. It is good practice to offer to pay all volunteers out of pocket expense for costs incurred whilst volunteering, otherwise some people will be prevented from doing so.

It is always possible for a volunteer to donate back to the organisation and Gift Aid can effectively do this. Clearly, there are financial implications in this policy and each district needs to discuss how they are going to meet these obligations.  It is recognised that districts will only be able to achieve this goal with collective responsibility to raise funds and to support each other.

Expenses could be paid for the following:

  • Travel/Transport
  • Meals/Refreshments
  • Postage and telephone costs if working from home
  • Care of dependants
  • Woodcraft Folk clothing
  • Camp/Residential fees

Volunteers can only be paid actual out of pocket expenses and not fixed amount per sessions or lump sums.

The following forms are here to assist groups.

Incidental Expenses



Cheque/Cash Requisition


Please pay the following amount to   _________________________


Amount Required:         

                                                                                                             £          P





















Authorized by:


Signed                      __________________________ Date  ________             



Name (IN CAPITALS) ________________________________________________       

Travel Expenses


Claim Form for Travel Expenses


Date: _______



Name: _____________________________________________________



Journey(s) For:






Expenditure (complete where applicable)


Mileage (at 32p per mile)                  £_________

Petrol claim                                       £_________

Ticket                                                £_________

Parking                                              £_________


Total Claimed                                    £_________





Authorised by: ______________________________________________



Signed: ________________________                  Date: _____________



In today’s world it is now accepted that training should be available for any given task to enable us to develop our skills and be both safe and competent in what we do.   

The Woodcraft Folk adopted a training Policy in 2003 for its members and volunteers to establish a set way forward for the organisation to ensure that all necessary requirements were met, with respect to government guidelines and legislation. But we also want our members and volunteers to feel confident, skilled and enjoy the experience as well as being enthusiastic. This is especially important when working with children and young people, because as adults we are responsible for them and the activities that we engage in.

There is no difference whether you are a parent, a volunteer or a life member of the Folk the same rules apply as far as Child Protection and Safeguarding are concerned, behaviour, knowledge and attitude along with policy and procedure is as important as the activity its self and training for this is a minimum expectation.

We aspire to work together co-operatively and safely within our aims and principals to be good role models encourage children and Young People to be, educated and empowered by the movement whilst having fun.

To help everyone achieve this we have a range of in house training opportunities available

  • 2-hour introductory course
  • 12-hour basic training course
  • 12-hour distance learning course


And we encourage and support external courses in

  • 1st Aid
  • Food Hygiene courses
  • Minibus driver training


Training is available to everyone involved with us and through it we will cover

  • Our History and background
  • Child protection
  • Health and Safety
  • Teamwork and communication
  • Programme and structure
  • Other relevant topics as identified


For more info contact-

Some DO’S and DON’TS for volunteers


DO think about why you want to volunteer.


DON'T start volunteering until you know what is expected of you.


DO ask about the Woodcraft Folk and where you will fit in.


DON'T over commit yourself. Reliability is vital.


DO make sure you know to whom you are responsible to and to whom you can go for help and advice.


DON'T leave because you are fed-up, having problems. Discuss how you feel with others in local or national Woodcraft Folk.


DO accept volunteer expenses. You can always give them back as a donation to the Woodcraft Folk if you do not need reimbursing.


DON'T ever accept money as payment from someone you have helped in the course of volunteering. Explain to them that they can make a donation to the Woodcraft Folk if they so wish.


DO keep any arrangements you have made. If you cannot make a meeting, or you are going to be late, let others know in plenty of time.


DON'T betray any confidences entrusted to you as a volunteer.


DO enjoy yourself and encourage others who may be interested in volunteering with the Woodcraft Folk.


(Submitted by Southwark Woodcraft)