US students often ask about volunteering opportunities while in the UK. If you have a Tier-4 Visa you may work or volunteer. If you are a student visitor you are now able to volunteer for clearly-defined periods of time. From the UK government website‘s  Immigration Rules Appendix 3:


  1.  A visitor may undertake incidental volunteering (i.e. the main purpose of the visit is not to volunteer), provided it lasts no more than 30 days in total and is for a charity that is registered with either the Charity Commission for England and Wales; the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland; or the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator.”

You may find the guidance provided on the UCL’s Student Union page to be useful in explaining what does, or does not, constitute volunteering as opposed to unpaid work, which is treated differently.

Every hosting university Students’ Union has information on local opportunities, and often a dedicated officer or coordinator. Most universities designate certain times of the year to run intensive charity RAG [Raise and Give] programmes.

Many universities have mentoring programmes that place university students in schools to help younger students with homework.

You can also contact local volunteer groups throughout the UK. Check http://www.volunteering.org.uk  and http://www.volunteerscotland.net.

University alumni clubs in the UK or the Cornell-Brown-Penn Centre can sometimes help identify contacts.

* Please note that there are background checks for anyone wanting to work with vulnerable groups such as children, asylum seekers and the elderly. Look into getting a background check in the US before coming to the UK. There are many volunteering opportunities that do not require such checks. References are sometimes necessary, so some organisations (e.g. hospitals) are unlikely to be able to offer volunteer places to students who are in the UK for less than six months.



The National Trust

 Vinspired Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO)

 Volunteering Centre Network Scotland

Volunteering Made Easy


Federation of City Farms & Community Gardens

National Playbus Association, mobile community projects

Student Community Action at Bristol University

Volunteering Bristol


Cambridge University Student Community Action

Cambridge & District Volunteer Centre


Leeds University Union – Volunteering

Voluntary Action-Leeds


Abbeyfield (Housing & Care for Elderly People)

 Action for Sick Children

Age UK

 Alzheimer�s Disease Society

 Apex Trust

 Arthritis Care

 British Association of Settlements and Social Action Centres

Charities Evaluation Services (CES)

Child Poverty Action Group

Comission for Racial Equality

Community Matters Community Service Volunteers

Contact A Family

Disability Alliance

 Institute of Race Relations

Islington Volunteer Centre

Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants

Kensington & Chelsea Volunteer Bureau

 London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard

 National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders

National Association of Citizens Advice Bureau

National Centre for Volunteering (NCV)

National Council for Civil Liberties

 National Council for Voluntary Oraganisations (NCVO)

Queen Mary University of London  

 Radio Lollipop 


Refugee Council 

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds 

Terrence Higgins

Southwark, Volunteers In Action

University College London Volunteering Services Unit

Trust Urban Forum Volunteer Reading Help


 Manchester Student Volunteers

Student Action Manchester


Norwich and Norfolk Voluntary Services

University of East Anglia Volunteers


University of Nottingham, Student Volunteer Centre


Oxford University Student Union (OUSU)

 Oxford Hub

 Oxford Conservation Volunteers

Oxfordshire Council for Voluntary Action

Oxfordshire Community and Voluntary Action


Newbury Volunteer Bureau

Reading University Student’s Union – Volunteering


 University of Sussex Volunteering

Brighton Volunteer Bureau


University of Warwick Volunteers

Coventry University Union


York Council for Voluntary Service

York University Student Union – Volunteering


Volunteer Centre Edinburgh Action for Sick Children

Children�s Hospice Association

Scotland Youth Clubs Scotland

Alzheimer Scotland-Action on Dementia

 Edinburgh University Volunteering

Help the Aged

 MacMillan Cancer Relief Office for Scotland

National Trust for Scotland Conservation Volunteers

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

Scottish Wildlife Trust


 Community Learning Scotland

 Volunteer Development Scotland

Prince’s Trust – Scotland


The Volunteer Centre ChildLine Scotland

NCH Action for Children

Scotland British Red Cross

Crossroads (Scotland) Care Attendant Schemes

Radio Lollipop (Yorkhill NHS Trust)

St. Andrew�s Ambulance Association

Prince�s Trust Volunteers (Scotland)

Glasgow University – Volunteer


St. Andrews First Aid

St. Andrews University Student Voluntary Service

University of St Andrews Volunteering Opportunities

Volunteer Centre Fife


Volunteer Development Scotland (VDS)

University of Stirling Volunteer Centre