The United Kingdom’s Community Service Volunteers Offers a Range of Opportunities to Serve

CSV logoThis post has been contributed by my summer intern Ceyhun Arslan, who is researching service opportunities around the world for non-U.S. citizens.

Community Service Volunteers (CSV) offers a plethora of volunteering opportunities in the United Kingdom to British and non-British citizens of all ages.

Founded in 1962, CSV is today the United Kingdom’s largest volunteering and training organization, which involved nearly quarter of a million people last year.  Below is the essential information for some of its main programs.

Full-time volunteering

A full-time volunteer term lasts between 4 and 12 months. All volunteers work in the United Kingdom, and British citizens have to volunteer far away from their home town. Volunteers work in a range of fields, including health care, environmental protection, and education. Full-time volunteers live away from home, and are provided with accommodation and a weekly allowance, which is approximately £74 (about $122USD).  The organization also covers the volunteer’s travel and out-of-pocket expenses incurred while volunteering.

People ages 16 to 35 who are citizens of the United Kingdom, Austria, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, France, Germany, Honduras, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Taiwan, Turkey and the United States are eligible to apply to the program. CSV arranges interviews with applicants, and upon admission, will search for a volunteer assignment that fits each volunteer’s preferences and skills.

Part-time volunteering

Each year, CSV involves thousands of part-time volunteers in a diverse range of projects, from clearing a canal to helping people with learning disabilities or mental health issues. The participants choosea program the best fits their schedule, background and abilities. The website offers short summaries and the requirements of each program.

Senior volunteers

Any British citizen over 50 who wishes to volunteer in their local community is welcome to join the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, which has a non-rejection policy.  The RSVP will pay for the out-of-pocket expenses. Participants volunteer “as much or as little as they like,” and can pursue any kind of volunteering activity in their local region. Read more on the program’s website.

CSV posterYouth volunteers

CSV offers a wide range of options to the British youth, aged 16-25.  The participants might work only one day at a historic place of faith or for a couple of months at a hospital.  Any prospective volunteer may look at the short program summaries at the website and choose the one that best suits their needs.

Other offerings

Whether you are an individual or you represent an organization, you might also also want to consult the website to request a volunteer.

CSV also offers training programs that contribute to the attendee’s organizational skills or technical knowledge about the media at CSV and Springboard Training Centers.

The organization underlines that in addition to making a solid difference in the community, a CSV volunteer attains transferable job skills and stands out among other prospective employees in the competitive job market of the UK.


CSV’s Executive Director Dame Elisabeth Hoodless has been a long-time supporter of national service in the United States, serves on the board of Innovations in Civic Participation, as well as chairs the International Association of National Youth Service (IANYS). Hoodless won the Alec Dickson Servant Leader Award earlier this year — you can see her acceptance speech and read more here.

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