Volunteering opportunities

Information about volunteering opportunities across North Yorkshire and how to apply.

Volunteering provides the experience and qualifications employers look for and it shows them you are committed and have employable skills.

We have a number of volunteering opportunities across a range of services.

Record office

Are you interested in local history and heritage and have a few hours to spare?

We are committed to encouraging and developing volunteer involvement in our work where possible. We recognise and value the important contribution that volunteers can make towards achieving our aims and objectives, complementing the work of paid members of staff. Last year volunteers gave over 4,000 hours of their time towards the work of the record office.

We offer a range of volunteering opportunities, varying according to our current projects and priorities. They range from transcribing and listing records to gathering oral histories and helping at open days and events.

Once we have identified a suitable opportunity, you can give as much or as little time as you would like. Some roles need to be undertaken at agreed times but others are more suitable for those who like to work on their own and at their own pace. Project related volunteering roles are often time-limited but some roles have the scope to continue long term.

If you are interested in volunteering with us, please  complete the application form (doc / 5 MB).

The page below shows the volunteer policy for North Yorkshire county record office.

Issue date: January 2015
Review date: January 2018
Links to other North Yorkshire County Council documents: Equality and diversity policy

1. Introduction

The function of the North Yorkshire county record office is the acquisition, preservation and provision of public access to archive material for the whole of the county of North Yorkshire. It cares for millions of documents of all shapes, sizes and ages which are housed in one purpose-adapted repository in Northallerton.

The county record office is committed to encouraging and developing volunteer involvement in its work where appropriate. It recognises that volunteers can make an important contribution to achieving its aims and objectives, complementing the work of paid members of staff. Volunteering has also been shown to benefit the volunteers themselves by developing skills and confidence.

For the purposes of this policy, a volunteer is defined as an individual who provides a service of their own free will, under the supervision of paid staff and without monetary remuneration, in order to assist in the achievement of county record office's organisational objectives.

This policy should be read in conjunction with the North Yorkshire County Council equality and diversity policy.

2. Scope

This policy relates to all volunteers working at the county record office or under the supervision of county record office staff.

3. Aims

  • To clarify the role of volunteers, their rights and responsibilities, and to establish clear principles for their involvement with the county record office;
  • To confirm county record office's commitment to involving volunteers with its work;
  • To address the relationship between volunteers and paid members of staff;
  • To establish a framework for the recruitment and support of volunteers; and
  • To acknowledge the contribution made by volunteers to the work of the county record office.

4. Principles of good practice

  • Volunteer work will complement, not replace, the work of paid members of staff;
  • Volunteer work will be of sufficient scope and duration to justify the use of paid staff time and resources in training and supervision; and
  • Tasks to be undertaken by volunteers will be clearly defined so that volunteers and paid staff are sure of their respective roles and responsibilities.

5. Recruitment

  • Information about volunteer work will be made widely available, including information about volunteer projects, necessary skills and time commitment;
  • Every effort will be made to match a volunteer's knowledge and skills to the projects available;
  • Potential volunteers will be required to complete an application form and to attend a preliminary interview before any volunteer work can commence;
  • The county record office reserves the right not to accept a volunteer or to terminate an arrangement if it is considered necessary; and
  • The North Yorkshire County Council equal opportunities policy will be adhered to when recruiting and selecting volunteers.

6. Support for volunteers

  • An induction to the record office and appropriate training will be provided for each volunteer;
  • All volunteers will have access to a named member of record office staff who will provide appropriate support and supervision; and
  • Regular review sessions will be held with each volunteer to resolve any problems and to assess progress.

7. Rights and responsibilities

County record office recognises the rights of volunteers to:

  • Have a clear understanding of what is expected of them and to receive any necessary training;
  • Have specified lines of supervision and support;
  • Gain enjoyment and satisfaction from the work they do;
  • Be given clear information about the record office, including its health and safety procedures;
  • Work in safe working conditions;
  • Raise any problems or grievances and have them properly considered;
  • Ask for a reference; and
  • Withdraw from volunteer working.

County record office expects that volunteers will:

  • Comply with existing policies and procedures and work within agreed guidelines and remits;
  • Carry out voluntary work to the best of their ability;
  • Behave in a safe, responsible and professional manner whilst working as a volunteer;
  • Work at times agreed with county record office and give notice of any variations;
  • Respect the confidentiality of sensitive information about county record office's business or within the records held by county record office;
  • Attend training and support sessions as agreed; and
  • Give county record office reasonable notice if withdrawing from voluntary work.

8. Relationship with paid staff

  • A good working relationship will be encouraged between paid staff and volunteers and steps will be taken to ensure that both are clear about their respective roles and contributions;
  • The roles of volunteers and paid staff will be complementary and mutually supportive;
  • Volunteers should be aware that paid staff have many duties and might not always be able to give volunteers immediate attention; and
  • In the event of industrial action, volunteers may continue with their regular work provided supervision is available, but will not be asked to carry out the work of paid staff.

9. Review

This policy document was issued in January 2007; reviewed and updated in 2010 and 2015. It will be reviewed and updated as necessary, and at least every three years.


Libraries across North Yorkshire are looking for volunteers to help with a variety of duties. In return, they offer people the chance to make a positive difference in their local communities.

Trained volunteers of all ages, abilities and experience can gain valuable work experience and learn new skills, with young people in particular able to add volunteering to their CV. More information on the  roles a volunteer may perform and the skills required can be found here (pdf / 34 KB).

To apply for a volunteer role you can fill in our online application form.

Volunteers need to be available to deliver the books on a set weekday, during the day, and it usually takes about two hours. We are often looking for volunteers to help organise the delivery rotas, too. For more information and details about where volunteers are needed or visit our home library service page. Your library can also provide more information.

Once you have expressed an interest in becoming a volunteer, we will meet to discuss the role in more detail and will ask you to fill in a registration form. We will also ask you to give details of two people (not relatives) who we can contact to ask for a character reference.

Many of the people using our service are vulnerable adults, so we have to carry out an enhanced Criminal Records Bureau check before you can start volunteering. We are not able to accept CRB certificates from other organisations. You will attend a short induction and be paired with another volunteer and allocated a route. Usually, an existing volunteer will show you your new route and will introduce you to the people who use the service. Then you are ready to start delivering the books.

  • You need to be able to make a regular weekday commitment of about two hours, once a fortnight, on an agreed day;
  • You will visit the same people each time and we are looking for caring people who don't mind spending some time chatting to customers, many of whom are elderly and/or have a disability;
  • Each pair of volunteers usually visits between five and nine addresses, including residential or nursing homes;
  • Volunteers use their own cars and are paid out-of-pocket expenses. Many of the visits are in and around each town, but you may also travel to villages or hamlets;
  • Some people prefer to be relief volunteers, covering holidays etc; and
  • We sometimes also need help with administration and organising rotas.

All our volunteers must have a Disclosure and Barring Service (previously Criminal Records Bureau) check before they start volunteering. This involves disclosing all previous spent and unspent convictions. As part of this process, we will meet you face-to-face to carry out an identity check and will tell you what information you need to provide. The check will take four to six weeks and you will not be able to begin volunteering until you have been cleared. Having a criminal record is not an automatic bar to volunteering with us and each case is dealt with separately. All information is treated in strictest confidence.

Anyone with questions about library volunteering can email: libraries@northyorks.gov.uk or telephone 01609 533800. You can also drop into your library to ask about volunteering opportunities and the role of volunteers. 

 Read about the experiences of other volunteers (pdf / 389 KB) in the North Yorkshire library service.


North Yorkshire countryside volunteers is for anyone who wants to help maintain access to the countryside and support nature conservation.

There are two types of volunteering activities:

Rights of way inspections, surveys and low-level maintenance

The volunteers are our 'eyes and ears' on the 6,000km of footpaths and bridleways that we look after. Volunteers help by inspecting reported problems on rights of way and photographing what they see. The photographs are very valuable to us as a lot of information can be conveyed in one photo. If the problem can be addressed there and then, e.g. by cutting back overgrowth around a sign, nailing down a decking board or tightening a gate hinge, we ask the volunteers to do this while they are there. Otherwise, we ask them to write a brief description, sometimes to take measurements and then send the full report with the all-important photos back to us. 

Volunteers also help by putting up notices e.g. for a diversion or a temporary closure and then removing them once they are no longer needed.

Once or twice per year we run large scale surveys of paths, or sections of paths. This may include bridge surveys, checking regrowth after strimming, or surveying the general condition of promoted walks.

We have over 100 volunteers spread around the county and requests for an inspection or survey may not come up very regularly. For each volunteer, there could be one or two in one month and then nothing at all in the next few months as it is difficult to predict where the next report will come from.

Inspections and surveys can be done at a time to suit the volunteers, including weekends. There may sometimes be a short deadline when an inspection is needed urgently - for example within a week, but usually it is quite flexible.

Conservation tasks in the Howardian Hills area of outstanding natural beauty

These task days only run in the Howardian Hills area of outstanding natural beauty area (roughly, between Easingwold, Helmsley, Malton and Sheriff Hutton). They are group tasks aimed at clearing invasive plants such as Himalayan balsam, rhododendron, bracken, and scrub to allow native species to flourish or to protect scheduled monument sites e.g. round barrows. Task days are usually on Thursdays and are mostly fortnightly. There is less activity in April and May when birds are nesting and more, often weekly, in summer when we tackle Himalayan balsam.

Volunteers must be 18 years or over. No experience or qualifications are necessary, as training is provided. The activities are outside in all weathers and often in remote locations away from public transport routes. Volunteers need their own transport to get to tasks, but we do encourage car-sharing depending on where volunteers live. Tools, protective equipment and reasonable travel expenses are provided. The volunteer co-ordinator is in regular contact with the volunteers and there are volunteer meetings across the county approximately once per year.

Please note: volunteers are not permitted to take dogs with them when carrying out activities for the countryside volunteers.

To find out more about joining the countryside volunteers, contact the volunteer co-ordinator on 01609 532435 or email countryside.volunteers@northyorks.gov.uk

Children's centres

Children's centres across North Yorkshire are looking for volunteers to help in a variety of roles helping local children and families.

As a volunteer, you will be supported by the staff at the children's centre and will be encouraged to meet with and talk with other volunteers. You will also be able to access training. Volunteering will help you gain valuable experience to add to your CV when applying for future employment. You can also claim any expenses that you incur as the result of volunteering. Volunteering is also very satisfying and we truly value your help.

Session assistants/crèche assistants

In the session assistant role you would help with meeting and greeting families; encouraging families to register with the centre; preparing and serving refreshments; setting up and packing away; and assisting our parent support staff. As a crèche assistant you would support qualified staff to care for and provide play and learning opportunities for children who attend the centre.

Community champion volunteers

In this role volunteers would be trained to act as advocates for the children's centre. You will attend community events and will market the children's centre, telling families about our services and encouraging more families to access them. You will need to work independently and be a keen and confident communicator. Community champions could also deliver our service information leaflets to local community organisations and schools.

Family mentor volunteers

This role would be suitable for someone with previous experience of family work or for someone with relevant qualifications who needs to develop their experience under the supervision of the children's centre team. You would work with families to support their attendance at the children's centre and would act as a mentor/point of contact for families who need temporary support.

General volunteer

If you feel that you have other skills that might be of benefit to our centre and our families, we are always keen to hear from you. We also have a wide range of other general tasks that we constantly need help with so please make contact if you have spare time and are willing to get involved.

To apply, contact your local children's centre and ask for an application form.

You will need to provide two referees as we will need to take up references. Once we have your completed form we will arrange to meet with you to agree your volunteer duties. Depending on your role, we may need to obtain certain clearances but we can discuss this with you when we meet.

Reducing food waste and home composting

North Yorkshire Rotters are volunteers from all over the county who offer friendly advice and expertise to people in their local communities who would like to reduce their waste and save money.

We are looking for community-oriented people who are keen to reduce the amount of waste they create while helping others do the same.

The North Yorkshire Rotters are fully trained volunteers who:

  • raise awareness amongst the wider public of the importance of home composting and the 'Love Food Hate Waste' campaign;
  • advise on reducing food waste and help the average household to save up to £720 per year by effective planning, storing and cooking with leftovers;
  • encourage more people to compost at home;
  • help those already composting to do so more effectively; and
  • attend shows, events and talks.

The Rotters can also raise awareness through a variety of desk-based activity. We will try to find an activity that suits your interests.

Are you enthusiastic, passionate about environmental issues and interested in helping your community? Are you eager to reduce the amount of waste you create and help others to do the same? If so, then the North Yorkshire Rotters need you.

If you would like to find out more or how to apply, please ring 01609 797212 or email nyrotters@northyorks.gov.uk.

Ready for anything

We can’t predict when a major incident might happen, but we do know that they cause distress and disruption for the people affected. The North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum coordinates the response across North Yorkshire during an emergency and we’re looking for people to join our team of Ready for Anything volunteers. During the Boxing Day floods in 2015 resources were stretched, however, the practical support offered by members of the public and businesses was invaluable. To ensure the response is even better in the future we are creating a database of enthusiastic volunteers who we can call upon to help.

You’ll provide practical support to people during incidents, such as making refreshments at rest centres, delivering information to households, or simply being a friendly face. There’s no obligation to offer a regular commitment, but we will notify you when there’s an incident and if you’re able to help, you can confirm to us by text message. We’ll also provide you with appropriate training, awareness sessions and keep in regular contact.

To register your interest please complete our online form.

Express interest in Ready for Anything volunteering