Please read our FAQs to find out more details about hosting a TfG volunteer.
- What is a TfG volunteer?
- What sort of things does a TfG volunteer do?
- What do we need to consider before applying?
- How does TfG support its volunteers?
- How do we apply to become a TfG placement?
- When do we need to submit an application to be a TfG placement?
- How would a volunteer be found for us once we’ve become a TfG placement?
1. What is a TfG volunteer?
TfG volunteers are usually international and come from a variety of backgrounds, denominationally, culturally and economically. They are usually aged 18-30 and have many different reasons for wanting to serve: some are taking time out before, during or after higher education; some are pursuing a particular calling; some are looking to explore their options before choosing a vocation to follow.
TfG does not require its volunteers to have any specific qualification, and the opportunity to serve God in this way is open to everyone. Many placements, however, have specific requirements of their volunteers. They might require a particular theology, experience relevant to the project, or simply have a preference about the age or sex of the volunteer. Let us know your preferences and we will aim to match a suitable volunteer with you.
2. What sort of things does a TfG volunteer do?
The remit of the volunteer’s role is really up to you, depending on the needs of your individual organisation and community. Some volunteers are self-starters and are happy to set up new programs, and some work alongside staff in existing areas of work. You will be asked to include a volunteer job description and draft weekly timetable in your application to TfG, and we are happy to discuss this further with you if you would like.
3. What do we need to consider before applying?
A good place to start is to define the role by writing a clear and concise job description, as you would for any
other member of your staff team.
You will need to appoint a member of staff to be the volunteer’s supervisor, who will meet regularly with the volunteer to discuss the work, review and plan ahead. TfG runs
Supervisors' Training Days which help in preparing properly for the supervision relationship; placements agree to send supervisors to one of these.
In addition, placements are asked to think about the volunteer’s support outside the workplace, and to appoint a ‘TfG Friend’ who provides pastoral care, particularly for the first few weeks/months.
You must decide where your volunteer will live; it could be private accommodation within the placement, with a local host (family) or perhaps in a shared flat or hostel. It will need to be approved by TfG, and we ask that each volunteer has their own room.
The financial aspects need consideration, too. Placements pay TfG a monthly contribution once a volunteer is serving (which includes the volunteer’s pocket money), they also provide accommodation, all meals (or a food allowance), and any tools and training necessary for them to do the job. Also bear in mind employer’s liability insurance to cover their work, and all out-of-pocket expenses.
TfG is about helping young adults to explore themselves and their faith as well as the new environment in which they’re volunteering. Contact with a helpful local church or other appropriate group must be available to each volunteer for fellowship and friendship, in addition to any spiritual development work which a placement is willing and able to do with the volunteer.
4. How does TfG support its volunteers?
TfG knows that every volunteer needs access to quality support and training to ensure they get the best experience possible.The primary sources of TfG’s support are our Field Officers, staff members who keep in touch with the volunteer through emails, telephone calls, and at least two visits during their placement. Field Officers and other
TfG staff will get involved in mediation, conflict resolution and crisis management as necessary. Placements or volunteers facing an emergency situation outside office hours can contact a TfG staff member at any time by calling the number given on our answerphone.
TfG monitors the supervision and support given to the volunteer by the placement through the Field Officer’s visits and by requiring the completion of an On-Arrival Checklist and a Mid-term Review.
Volunteers take part in residential training conferences organised by TfG within the UK. Currently all TfG volunteers attend a Preparation for Service conference (at the beginning of their placements) and a Mid-Service event (about four months later) in the UK. Some volunteers are required to join extra training during their time at a placement (e.g. On Arrival and Mid Term meetings for EVS-approved volunteers). TfG endeavours to distribute all necessary information with as much notice as we can, and placements must accept the importance of this and release the volunteer for this training.
Since 2012 TfG volunteers have been given the option to attend an accredited course at Cliff College, Derbyshire, which supplements the training provided by TfG. Volunteers from one of our US partners usually take this course which requires them to be away from their placement for a further two weeks.
5. How do we apply to become a TfG placement?
Please complete our online application form. Once we receive the completed form, a TfG staff member will arrange to visit you to discuss your application in more detail. Obviously we are keen to understand all the placement details as clearly as possible, in order to recommend the most suitable volunteer to you.
6. When do we need to submit an application to be a TfG placement?
Our main volunteer intake is in September, and we also have a smaller intake in January. For the September intake, volunteer recruitment starts in the previous February – all placement applications should be received by 15th May.
For the January intake, volunteer recruitment starts in July – all placement applications should be received by 1st October.
However even if you have missed the above deadline, please do get in touch with the office as there may be last minute opportunities.
7. How would a volunteer be found for us once we’ve become a TfG placement?
Once we have interviewed a candidate for volunteering (usually face-to-face at an event organised by TfG or one of our partner organisations), we produce a report to accompany the candidate’s application form and references. At a placing meeting, we then carefully and prayerfully match the candidate to an available placement, possibly yours.Firstly, we send all the information about the volunteer to you, and we will be able to discuss this further with you if necessary.
If you are happy to proceed, the volunteer is then sent all the information TfG has on your placement and will then contact you directly to find out more usually by email initially then (we insist upon this) by telephone and/or Skype. In the case of a UK-based young adult (and occasionally some other Europeans) going to a UK placement, we ask that the volunteer visits the placement for a couple of days; otherwise the process relies on email and telephone conversations alongside the paperwork
(At this stage, TfG usually ‘takes a back seat’ to let you and the volunteer come to your own decisions but we are happy to be involved in the discussion too, to discern the right way forward for all concerned).
If placement and volunteer are happy and willing to commit, TfG is informed and confirms the placement, discussing arrival and starting dates, details of training, etc.
Then, the adventure begins!