nelink.info is the easiest way to find something useful to do, widen your circle of contacts and improve your chances of gaining work. Everything we offer is free, unique to the North East and supported by informnorth and our partners.

You will find the headings to the most frequently asked questions we receive below, if you click on something you want more detail about, the panel will move to the answer.

We hope you find nelink useful, but if you think there's something we have missed or any area in which we can improve what we offer, please just get in touch by email (faq@nelink.info) to let us know, and we will do the rest.

nelink for volunteers
I want to volunteer and help somebody
Who will contact me?
Do I have to accept?
Is there a cost?
I want to volunteer as it may lead to more work or a great job opportunity…
Increase your chances of success
Get a LinkedIn profile started

nelink general volunteering FAQs
Why do people volunteer?
Who can volunteer?
Do you offer training to volunteers?
What will I get out of volunteering?
How much time do I have to give as a volunteer?
What skills do I need to volunteer?
Will volunteering affect my benefits?
I’m an asylum seeker/refugee, can I volunteer?
Will it cost me anything to volunteer?
Disclosures and pre-registration checks
Applying from outside the UK   

nelink for employers and others
I'm an employer and could do with a helping hand from a volunteer...
Am I limited in the help I'm asking for?
What do I donate an administration fee for?
Do I have to pay each time I contact the same volunteers?
How many volunteer details will I receive?
Where do you get volunteers from?
I want to use nelink…
As an employer, what else can I do to help?
Offer paid-for work whenever it arises
Make more requests for help
Link to us online from your own website
Use our logo* on your stationery/campaigns and show your support
Share your files with others
We want your feedback

nelink for volunteers

I want to volunteer and help somebody
That's great, after all that's exactly what volunteering is really all about. If this is you, then fill in your details by clicking here and we will do the rest by matching your skills, interests, experience and enthusiasm to employers of all sizes, who really need a helping hand and will welcome your support.

Who will contact me?
When you ask us for help, we scan our comprehensive database and wherever possible match you with any interesting opportunities that are available and relevant to you. In this way we help you to make use of your skills and enthusiasm in an organisation that needs a helping hand. We will pass on your details to them and you will contacted directly by telephone or email, whichever you prefer.

Do I have to accept?
Not at all - it's up to you and the organisation that contacts you what you do next. If you are happy to provide a possible solution then it should be on your terms. After all, they need you and your skills, but everything should be as mutually acceptable as possible.

Is there a cost?
No, it's totally free to register on our database and be placed with an organisation. The employer or organisation you are helping should/might also pay for your travel and out of pocket expenses too, so make sure you ask at the outset.

I want to volunteer as it may lead to more work or a great job opportunity…
Now you're talking, after all what have you got to lose? And what is it they say about "nothing ventured - nothing gained?" So there's nothing wrong with using your volunteering experience to get a foot in the door and make more contacts. Fill in your details by clicking here and we will do the rest.

Increase your chances of success
By volunteering your time and experience to help somebody where and when it counts, you are already doing something positive to make a real difference. But at a time when competition for jobs is at an all-time high and the number of jobs available is reduced, nelink can help you increase your chances of gaining paid employment. Where possible, we do this by helping you build on the connections you will make through volunteering.

Get a LinkedIn profile
A good way of doing this is by getting a LinkedIn profile and asking for testimonials wherever you volunteer and whenever you help out. In this way, you can show potential employers the different things you have been doing. This is especially true when you are young and might not have much to put on your CV.

Visit LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com) and complete a profile for yourself - this website is just like Facebook, but more professional and of much more use to businesses.

Every time you accept a request to volunteer, you will receive a testimonial from the business or organisation you have helped. In this way, potential employers will be able to see the things you have been doing that compliment your CV. They will be able to build a more rounded picture of you as a person and as a possible employee.

We try to get things right but sometimes errors do occur and we welcome your comments and suggestions, particularly if you think it is something that would improve what we offer.

If we have missed a question that would have helped you then please let us know by emailing a short message to faq@nelink.info and we will add it for you.

Volunteer - and do something that's great for you

Why do people volunteer?
There are many reasons why people choose to get involved through nelink. We offer individuals a way to use their skills and enthusiasm by volunteering and link them with businesses and community-based organisations that need a helping hand.

In this way, we can help you to continue to develop as an individual and help you to quickly grow the network of people you know and are linked up with.

Here are just a few of the reasons:
• To make a difference to vulnerable young people
• To do something inspiring
• To learn skills and improve their CVs
• To meet new people.

Who can volunteer?
Absolutely anybody can volunteer through nelink! There's an opportunity for almost everyone who shares our values and vision. We are committed to ensuring equality of opportunity for everyone who volunteers with us. We have volunteers who are former service users, students, retired, unemployed, employed, disabled, non-disabled, old and young, from a variety of ethnic and religious backgrounds.

We aim to find a volunteering role to suit the individual, and all our volunteers who will have contact with children will be screened by the organisations they are linked with.

Do you offer training to volunteers?
We want to provide the best service we can and provide a match making service, linking people with opportunities. For those volunteers coming into contact with children a high level of support and training is provided by the organisation you will be supporting. Induction training can also be provided to ensure that volunteers are able to carry out their tasks in a safe way.

We will ensure there is someone available if you need additional help and there is often further training to help volunteers develop in their role. We also ensure that volunteers who raise money and campaign for us are fully supported in their important role.

What will I get out of volunteering?
It depends on what motivates you. Volunteering through nelink will mean you are making a difference (directly or indirectly) to businesses and community-based organisations that really do need a helping hand at a time when they are stretched and resources are short.

But that's just the start, you could also benefit from helping or supporting other people, using existing skills or learning new ones, gaining confidence, being creative, responding to challenges, and being with other people. You may feel satisfaction from playing a positive role in someone else's life.

And if you're looking for work, you will gain valuable experience for your CV. Above all else we want our volunteers to have fun and enjoy their experience.

How much time do I have to give?
As much or as little as you want. You tell us what you are interested in, what you can do and when you can do it - we will then help you find a volunteer role which is rewarding and suitable.

Some roles, especially those working with vulnerable people, need volunteers who are available on a long term basis, but most probably, it could be just a short term form of support that is needed, helping somebody update their website, set up a Facebook or LinkedIn page, sort out an administration problem, or help them contact customers. In our experience, really effective volunteers can also make a decent brew, just when it's needed most!

So really, it's about matching what you are interested in and have to offer with a business or organisation that needs a helping hand. Some roles might have a minimum time commitment of a few hours per week or might be a one-off. But some people volunteer for a couple of hours a week or a day when it suits, whilst others help out at one-off events or during school holidays.

What skills do I need to volunteer?
This will depend on what you want to do and where you are. What we offer is totally different to traditional volunteering, we aim to match you and what you have to offer to somebody that will benefit from knowing you. Once you are linked up, we expect you to develop that relationship yourself.

If you don't have the skills that are needed for a particular request that has been made to nelink then where possible, we'll help you to develop them. Often, enthusiasm and the ability to smile and encourage are the most important skills required.

Will volunteering affect my benefits?
No it definitely won't. Volunteering does not affect the benefit payments you will receive. Volunteers are not paid for their time but are entitled to be reimbursed for their travel and other legitimate expenses, so make sure you ask about this whenever you do volunteer and help.

People claiming Job Seekers’ Allowance (JSA) can volunteer as long as they remain available for work and are still actively seeking paid employment. 

People claiming Income Support and/or Disability Living Allowance can also volunteer.
People claiming Incapacity Benefit can volunteer for as long as they want. The rule that people receiving Incapacity Benefit could only volunteer for 16 hours a week no longer exists. Volunteering does not affect your "permitted work".

I’m an asylum seeker/refugee, can I volunteer?
People who have refugee status or have exceptional leave to remain are allowed to do any type of work, including voluntary work. You may have a letter saying that you must not engage in paid work - but this does not apply to roles that are voluntary and you are entitled to receive out-of-pocket expenses.

However, if you do want to help with a project for children, you will undertake a check with the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and if you are a recent arrival this can take some time.

Will it cost me anything to volunteer?
Volunteers should not be out of pocket when they work with any organisation through nelink or through any other organisation, and we will reimburse expenses.

Disclosures and pre-registration checks
To ensure we safeguard and protect the children we work with, we have a number of pre-registration checks before recruiting for some positions. nelink is entitled to ask questions about a volunteer's entire criminal record because it is exempted from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

Having a criminal record does not necessarily bar someone from volunteering though. It depends on the nature of the position applied for, and the circumstances and background of the offences.

We will ask for your consent to do a clearance check. Any information supplied will be treated in confidence and in accordance with the Data Protection Act. You do not have to agree to these checks, but objecting could affect your recruitment.

Our partners, the organisations you might be matched to and volunteer with, will seek information on criminal records in two ways. Firstly, the safeguarding form requires volunteers to supply written information on any convictions, cautions, reprimands or final warnings, both spent and unspent.

Secondly, the volunteer will be asked to undergo a check via the Criminal Records Bureau (England and Wales) and this will be either a Standard Disclosure or an Enhanced Disclosure depending on the nature of the volunteer role.

Standard Disclosure - would be needed for a role whose duties involve regular contact with children. A Standard Disclosure contains details of any spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings recorded by the police centrally. It will also indicate if there are no such matters on record.

Enhanced Disclosure - would be needed for a role whose duties involved regularly caring for, training, supervising or being in sole charge of children aged under 18. An Enhanced Disclosure will contain the same information as a Standard Disclosure but may also contain non-conviction information from local police records considered relevant.

Applying from outside the UK
nelink can only consider placements if they are supported by an official agency or government department in your own country. This is because volunteers may need support to find accommodation and also need funding for everyday expenses which we are unable to meet.

nelink for employers and others

I'm an employer and could do with a helping hand from a volunteer...
Perfect - nelink is a great way to quickly find somebody that can help you, no matter what it is you need a helping hand with. Think of it as having a match-making service and access to the most comprehensive database of individuals as a resource to call upon.

If you contact us with a description of the opportunity you have for a volunteer then we will search our database and match you with somebody that could help. In this way it doesn't really matter what area you need a helping hand with, the problem you are encountering, or where you are based - nelink can help.

Am I limited in the help I'm asking for?
No, far from it, nelink is a great way to get help in areas that you wouldn't normally consider for a volunteer. Think of any areas within your business or organisation that you would love to improve or make better, if only you had the resources. For example, you might be a community based organisation or a charity and need help with marketing, producing a newsletter or poster or updating your website.

Or you could be a business who wants a helping hand with administration, customer service, book keeping or with a powerpoint presentation - the whole idea is to find and match you with somebody that can really help you in an area that you need more help and support with.
We have access to people who have skills in all areas so think laterally, we can help you find a book-keeper, accountant or legal advice, but we could also help you with your web site, online marketing or a special project.

What do I donate an administration fee for?
The £10.00 donation you make as an employer or community-based organisation is a one-off fee that is charged for each request. This helps towards the administration costs for nelink, web hosting and development.

All additional costs are paid for by informnorth, our parent organisation. Informnorth is a social enterprise business that is unique to our region and was established in 2002. It produces and distributes informnorth magazine with its partners.

Do I have to pay each time I contact the same volunteers?
No, absolutely not. You pay to be linked up with an individual who can help you in the area related to that particular request. After you have made the link, opportunities for you to work together and help each other again should present themselves. When that happens, it is up to you, the employer or organisation to discuss the opportunity directly with the volunteer, who might choose to do it for free or might want paying. The idea is to look for mutual benefit where both sides win.

How many volunteer details will I receive?
Wherever it is possible we will match you with the details of a minimum of two people. We will make the best match possible between the request you have made and the wide range of people who are registered on the nelink database - the region's most comprehensive resource of its kind.

Where do you get volunteers from?
We have volunteers who are students, former service users, graduates, post-graduates, retired, unemployed, employed, disabled, non-disabled, old and young and from a variety of ethnic and religious backgrounds. We have volunteers who have experience in all areas and across the widest possible range of employment sectors. Our volunteers have the skills and expertise to help you.

I want to use nelink…
That's great, no matter what kind of business or organisation you work in. Just now when resources are tight nelink provides you with a fantastic additional way of getting help and support. Fill in your details by clicking here and we will do the rest.

As an employer, what else can I do to help?
In addition to making that initial link with an individual who will use their time, skills and expertise and give up their time, skills and expertise to help you, a further condition of acceptance when you use nelink is to help those volunteers who are searching for employment to find work. You can do this by visiting their LinkedIn profile and giving them a personal recommendation that other potential employers can view.

Offer paid-for work whenever it arises
You can also watch out for potential opportunities for volunteers to use their skills in a paid-for capacity within your organisation or business. This might be on another project, or as a continuation of the original opportunity you offered them.

Make more requests for help
You can help by using nelink for other additional requests and by mutually supporting the volunteers and individuals we link you with wherever it is possible.

Link to us online from your own website*
Download the small web version of our logo from our resource folder - the words are highlighted at the bottom left of each page. If you click on the text that is underlined, a folder opens with additional web resources and files in it which you are free to access and use. Let us know when you are using it - we'd be grateful and you could feature in a future issue of informnorth as a thank you in return.

Use our logo* on your stationery/campaigns and show your support
You can download our web and print resolution logos from our special nelink Dropbox public resource folder in just a few quick clicks - the words are highlighted at the bottom left of each page where it says "Click here to access more resources".

This will take you to our special Dropbox folder, where you can access additional resources and files. Download our website and print quality logos - which is saved as nelinklogo.zip file. This contains our logo as a web .png file and 300dpi professional print quality logo, as well as full web instructions for making our logo clickable on your own website.

In the same zip file there is also an nelinklogo.tif file, if you use it on your posters, leaflets, stationery, display materials and marketing campaigns it's the same as using our logo on your website and shows your support for nelink as a social enterprise. Using our logo helps us raise our profile/awareness and if you let us know when you use it, we could feature you in a future issue of informnorth magazine for free, as a thank you in return, so you have nothing to lose by taking advantage of this.

Share your files with others
Our resource folder is a safe way to keep copies of anything that you might want to share with others at a later date. If you have any files or additional resources, images, audio, presentations or documents that you would like to keep in a secure location for others to access quickly and easily, then we can help you do this and we provide this as a FREE service. You can send us any type of file to be added to the resource folder - including Powerpoint presentations, Word documents, pdf files, video show reels, audio, Photoshop, Quark Xpress or Excel files.

It's a really safe way to ensure you can access your files and key presentations and share them with others to view or alter and amend when you are away from the office or work. You can do this just by emailing your file to us at info@nelink.info - and we will do the rest.

Due to file size constraints involved with web hosting, please try to reduce the file size or compress your files wherever possible, but don't worry we have lots of space. Everybody can access the additional resources and files for free, you just need to give them the www.tinyurl.com/nelinkpublic web address. They can also access the folder through nelink by clicking the words that are highlighted at the bottom left of each page where it says "Click here to access more resources".

We want your feedback
nelink is run by a small team, supported by informnorth, which is one of the leading social enterprises in the United Kingdom.

We try to get things right but sometimes errors do occur and we welcome your comments and suggestions, particularly if you think it is something that would improve what we offer.

If we have missed a question that would have helped you then please let us know by emailing a short message to faq@nelink.info and we will add it for you.

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