We need your time and expertise to help us provide the best possible service
Our volunteers play a vital part in helping us make decisions about the financial help we give. Whether it is in the form of a grant, advice on welfare benefits, or accommodation for our older beneficiaries, we couldn't possibly do this without the commitment of our 200 local volunteers (Hon Reps).
By visiting applicants in their own home, you will collect the detailed and personal information we need in order to tailor the support we give to each case.
As an Hon Rep you would be based at your home and receive reimbursement for any reasonable travel expenses. We will provide training, support and guidance. We’d expect you to be available to visit at least four people per year at our request.
Once you become an Hon Rep, you'll be granted access to a restricted section of this website, which contains further information which will be of use.
What our volunteers say
"I have found the role to be interesting and worthwhile, but also rewarding, especially when one hears of the transforming effect which the OA's support can have on a beneficiary's life."
Geoffrey Smith, Honorary Representative
Geoffrey Smith QVRM served in the Royal Air Force as a regular from 1962-2001, retiring as a Wing Commander. He continued to serve as a RAF reservist – both full-time and part-time – and finally retired from military life in 2008.
The Honorary Representative Role
As one of our volunteers, you will act as an ambassador for us, and carry out in-depth interviews with our applicants and beneficiaries. You will help verify they are eligible for our help, and where necessary, assist them in completing financial assessment documents and collating required supporting information.
You do not need specialist welfare benefits knowledge: This is provided to beneficiaries by the paid Benevolence staff at Central Office, London.
You will also complete a separate visit report to record the applicant’s local situation, health mobility and other needs. If the beneficiary has been with us for some time, you'll carry out Annual Review visits to update the team on the individual’s circumstances. Hon Reps do not make more frequent visits, as this is not a befriending scheme.
You might also be able to tell them about other possible sources of help, in particular local organisations, other charitable funds, or heath condition websites.
The Ideal Hon Rep
Our Hon Reps are very special people. They have an ability to listen to our applicants’ stories in an empathetic way, as well as the skill to report objectively and clearly on the meeting, using one of our template forms.
When visiting people in their own homes, discretion, respect and confidentiality are ‘musts’, as is the ability to look beyond the initial application to other needs the applicant may have.
Our Hon Reps need to be highly organised and have experience of talking with people from a wide range of backgrounds. On a practical level you will need to be able to communicate with us using email, and have good access to travel links.
How we support you
The Benevolence Department at Mountbarrow House is here to help you through our induction process, which includes asking you for two references, and an initial induction day.
Once you have joined our team, we will give you support and guidance, and contact you when a visit needs to be arranged. We can talk with you if need briefing or reassurance before or after a visit, and note your visit preferences, for example the distance you are prepared to travel.
We also arrange our briefing days, some of which take place at our Central Office and by arrangement elsewhere.
You will be insured for personal/ public liability and accidents while volunteering with us, and your reasonable travel expenses will be reimbursed according to our policies.
From time to time we send newsletters and updates on our progress and welcome informal visits to our office (though we ask that you ring in advance to make sure we are available to see you).
How to join us
If you would like to join us as an Hon Rep, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, to arrange to speak with our Hon Rep Support Manager.
We will talk through your interest in the role, our requirements and answer any queries you may have, and then decide together whether to proceed. We only recruit in areas where we have vacancies for Hon Reps and beneficiaries to visit. We are particularly keen to recruit in the Bristol, Mid-Wales, and the Sussex coastal areas.
We will then send an application pack, asking for your background information and two references.
Once the pack and references are returned to us, we will arrange your induction and supply you with the handbooks and stationery you need.