Rohima_BegumBelow are some of the questions frequently asked about volunteering for SANE. Rohima (right) Volunteer Welfare Officer, deals with all volunteer enquiries.

1. What kind of volunteers does SANE need?
We recruit Services Volunteers to support our e-mail, helpline and Support Forum services. We also recruit Office Volunteers, Database (SID) Volunteers and Service User/Carer Volunteers. Find out more about these roles here.

2. Do I have to know anything about mental illness to volunteer?
No. All you need is an interest in mental health matters. Services Volunteers also need a range of personal qualities and abilities to enable you to undertake the work effectively. We provide ongoing support for all roles, enabling you to learn about SANE and mental illness. Details of all roles can be found here.

3. Is training provided?
A 5-day training course is provided for Services Volunteers.  Ongoing support helps you develop your practice. For other roles, you get on-the-job training. Find out more about Services Volunteer training here.

4. Does the training have accreditation?
Training for Services Volunteers is endorsed by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and is accredited to NVQ Level 2 equivalent.  The accreditation process can be undertaken once probation is completed. Material from the training course and probation practice can be used as part of your evidence portfolio.

Colourful_question_marks5. What commitment is involved?
As a Services volunteer you gain most if you remain with SANE for a year or more. This allows you to get experience and learn from our range of service users. In turn, our service users gain enormously from experienced and committed volunteers.

For other volunteer roles, the organisation and individuals gain most from a commitment of at least three months – working at least one half-day per week.

6. What are the hours/shifts?
Services Volunteers work four-hour shifts. E-mail and Support Forum services operate from 10.00am to 11.00pm, whilst the helpline operates from 6.00pm to 11.00pm. We ask volunteers to do one shift in four as a weekend shift.

7. Can I work from home?
All volunteers work from SANE’s office in East London.  This is particularly important for Services Volunteers because of the nature of the work and the need to ensure your wellbeing, and that of our service users.

8. Is this the only branch, or does SANE have branches elsewhere?
SANE has only one location, which is our office in East London.  From here we provide services nationally.

9. Will this become a paid position?
Our volunteer roles are designed specifically as voluntary positions. Vacancies for paid positions at SANE are advertised internally, thus allowing volunteers to apply on an equal basis in an open recruitment process. 

10. Do you provide references for volunteers?
Yes. The type of reference depends on the length of time you have been with us. References for those who have worked six months or more are more detailed than those who have worked for shorter periods of time. 

11. Are travel expenses paid?
SANE offers reimbursement for travel expenses up to the value of a one-day travelcard.