How to volunteer

What you need to do to become a SSAFA volunteer.

Before becoming a SSAFA volunteer there are a few steps you must take.

These steps depend on the role you apply for and they exist to make sure that the role is right for you and that you are prepared to start volunteering.


Find out about opportunities near you

The first thing any potential volunteer needs to do is search their local area for volunteer opportunities.

Enter UK postcode

Search for your local volunteer opportunities

* If you have a direct link with your local Armed Forces base, you may be able to volunteer for a SSAFA Service Committee.

Application Form

Once you have found a role and applied, we will contact you to complete a full application form as well as provide contact details for two referees (please check your junk email inbox as our emails sometimes get filtered out).

Referees can be colleagues, friends or any other person not related to you that know you well, have been in contact with for at least 2 years, and are still in contact with.  

Your interview

After you have submitted your application form we will be in touch to carry out an informal interview. This is an opportunity for you to find out more about SSAFA and the role and for us to get to know you and what you want to achieve.

Please note: If you have already been interviewed by someone from your local Branch before applying online, you will not need to undertake this step again.

Your induction

Before starting in your role every volunteer must undertake an induction. Your induction will cover all aspects of preparation for your role including some required training for example, safeguarding and data protection.

Some volunteer roles require more training than others. Training can involve online learning in your own time, face to face courses from a SSAFA trainer or a mix of both.

A local SSAFA representative will support you throughout and our central office Volunteer Experience and Learning and Development teams will be available to answer any questions.


Background checks

Some volunteer roles entail supporting adults at risk or children and are positions which are eligible for background checks. This means that volunteers applying for them will be asked to undertake a check before they can complete their induction and commence in their role.

The type of check will depend on the role and the country in which you are undertaking your volunteering. For example, in England the checks are undertaken by the DBS, however in Northern Ireland it would be AccessNI.

Note that the requirement for a background check will be detailed on the role description and we will make clear to you which checks will be required and at what stage of the process. If you have any questions about background checks please email

Keeping volunteers safe

The safety of our volunteers and beneficiaries is paramount. Many of the steps above form part of our safer recruitment practices. They are measures which make sure we recruit the right volunteers into the right roles for example, by collecting references and undertaking background checks.


Your privacy and data

SSAFA is also committed to keeping your data, including personal information, safe by adhering to the GDPR principles.

If at any point you do not continue with your application, we will dispose of the information you have provided to us in line with data protection legislation. 

You can read SSAFA's privacy notice here.


How long will it take before I can volunteer?

Depending on your role it can take anything from a few weeks to a couple of months before you are fully active in your role. We value everyone who is interested in volunteering and will always keep you informed about your progress.