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Application process

  • When can I apply to volunteer with Oxfam?

    New volunteers can join our mailing list at any time, to receive updates and email alerts about when applications are opening. The application form is a two part process.

    Part 1:The Pre-Application, is accessible year-round and allows you to input and upload your basic information in advance. 

    Part 2: The Festivals Application, becomes available in the Spring when recruitment opens and stays open throughout our festival season. In this form you select the festivals you can attend, a training session if required and pay your deposit. Steward places are filled on a first come, first served basis and each festival's recruitment will close once all the places there are full. However if a festival is full, you can join the waiting list to be notified if it re-opens. 

    If you have volunteered with us before and meet the stewards priority application criteria, you will be notified by email during January. If you have not been notified and feel you were eligible please contact us at before February. Please also get in touch if there are any changes to your contact details, most importantly your email address and phone number, since you last volunteered with us.

  • How do I apply to steward?

    You can only apply for volunteering online via the Oxfam website. You will be able to access our website and complete your application on your smartphone, iPad or tablet device; however the application form is not optimised for use on mobile devices, so you may find it easier to apply on a laptop or desktop computer.

  • What information do I need to fill in my application?

    Please see our 'Before you apply' section for everything you need to know and have prepared beforehand.

  • I've already applied but want to add another festival – how do I do that?

    You can do this at any time by logging in to the volunteer login page with your volunteer username and password as entered on the application form. You can find your username on your registration confirmation email. If you forget your password - follow the link to reset it. If you still can't log in then you can email or phone us to reset it manually for you.

  • What is Priority Status?

    Priority status is a benefit we offer returning stewards, which enables them to apply before we open applications to the general public. Priority applications usually open a week or two before the main public launch in March and priority volunteers are given specific login details so they can access the online forms early.

    As the number of new volunteers increases each year, it has become necessary for us to limit this privilege to our most active volunteers, who generate the most fundraising for Oxfam through festival volunteering.

    To qualify, you must have volunteered at 2 festivals in the previous year to have priority for the current year, unless one of the following exceptions applies:*

    • You have had a supervisor role at any festival for the last 2 consecutive years
    • You have volunteered in 4 of the past 5 years and have volunteered 8 festivals within that period
    • You have volunteered at 10 or more festivals in the past 10 years

    For the small number of regular long term volunteers who do not meet the exception criteria, due to short term changes to personal circumstances (injuries, weddings, babies, family commitments etc) or limitations due to a reasonable adjustment, please email by February to explain your situation. Any exceptions to the rule will be considered on a case by case basis.

  • How do I upload a photo?

    To upload your photo, click on the browse button, then navigate to where you have saved the photo on the computer and click OK. The photo must be to passport standard as it will be used to identify you onsite. Please see for guidelines on providing an acceptable photograph. 

    This includes:
    • Do have your eyes open, visible and free from reflection or glare from your glasses.
    • No sunglasses
    • It must be a close up of your head and shoulders, facing forwards
    • It must only be you in the photograph
    • Do not have hair in front of your eyes
    • Do not have a head covering (unless it's for religious or medical reasons)
    • Do not have anything covering your face
    • Do not have any 'red eye'
    • Do not have any shadows on your face or behind you

    If in doubt use a passport photo rather than a photo from social media.

    The image needs to be in JPEG format with a maximum file size of 5MB. The photo must be in a portrait format, the application form will not accept landscape images. Any unacceptable photos will be dismissed. This may affect your chances of applying and you will be contacted for another one.

  • A festival I want to volunteer at is full – how does the waiting list work?

    If a festival is full and we have started a waiting list, the words 'waiting list' will be displayed next to the festival name. You will be asked to enter your first name, last name and email address. You only need to do this once.

    If we re-open a festival (due to a high drop-out rate, or we are asked to provide more volunteers at that festival) we will send you an email to let you know the date and time when we will be re-opening for volunteers at that festival. The date/order people have joined the waiting list does not impact when they can apply - places are filled on a first come, first served basis when applications re-open.

    If you are really keen to volunteer at a certain festival, keep the dates free, as places may become available anytime up to the week before. If we only have a few spaces available, experienced volunteers who are on the waiting list may be contacted first.

  • How many festivals can I apply for?

    As many as you like, as long as they don't clash. If you apply for lots of festivals please make sure that you have enough time, or annual leave, to attend them.

  • I haven't got my own email address, so I always use my partner's, is that OK?

    Our computer systems will not send two emails to the same email address, so if two volunteers apply using the same email address one person will not receive emails about their application or about attending festivals they have applied for. If you share another volunteer's email please set yourself up with a free online email account, such as Google, Yahoo or Hotmail for the purposes of this application. Please use a different email address for each person who applies. We will be sending you important information via email throughout the festival season so please ensure that you will have access to this email inbox.

  • Who can be my referee?

    Similar to applying for a job, we would consider a college lecturer, employer, or someone who knows you in a formal capacity to be appropriate, please do not enter the name of a relative or someone who has known you for a short time. Your referee will be email ed and they will need to answer these statements:

    • I have known this person for over six months.
    • I am not related to this person.
    • I know them through a professional capacity.
    • I can confirm they will be over 18 at the start of the festival.
    • I know them to be honest and responsible.
    • I know them to be punctual and reliable.

    If we fail to get a satisfactory response from your referee we will contact you, otherwise your reference has been accepted as we don't have the capacity to email everyone top confirm this.

    If we do not hear from your referee, we will contact you, so please put the details down of someone who is able to access email, and perhaps let them know to expect this email before you apply.

  • Why are you asking about DBS checks?

    DBS checking (previously CRB checking) tends to be for a designated geographical area. Anyone who is allocated a role involving children (e.g. stewarding the children's area, found child escort) must have an up to date DBS check. If you are selected to carry out one of the above roles in advance of the festival, we will ask your permission to apply for an advanced DBS check on your behalf.

  • Why are you asking for my National Insurance number?

    Certain festivals are being spot-checked by the Department of Work and Pensions for people volunteering and working without the valid permissions to do so. We are now being required to provide National Insurance numbers for all our volunteers attending these festivals in order for pre-checks to be conducted. Your details will not be passed to any third parties apart from our Festival clients. If you do not have a national insurance number (which will only be the case if you are from outside the UK) then enter AB123456C on the form and we will contact you for further information if we need to.

  • Why are you asking me about unspent criminal convictions?

    Under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, offenders are required to declare any unspent convictions when applying for voluntary or paid roles. Individuals who are being managed under the criminal justice system are classified as vulnerable workers, leading to a requirement for Oxfam to assess the reasonable adjustments these individuals may need for individual voluntary positions.

  • I've not had my confirmation emails, but thought my application went through OK – what should I do?

    Firstly check your spam/junk folder, as the email(s) may be there. You should then add these addresses to your contacts so that future emails will be accepted into your Inbox:

    If the email is not in your junk mail but you were directed to a confirmation page after you processed your payment which stated your SmartPay transaction number, then your application and deposit payment will have been received. You can easily check whether your application to volunteer and deposit payment was received by logging in to the volunteer login screen with the username and password you created in your application form. (If you cannot remember your username and password, you can reset this from the Volunteer Log in page).

    If, on logging in, you can see we have received your application to volunteer at the festivals you applied for and your deposit is being processed, then you can be reassured that your application is OK.

    If you find your deposit payment did not go through, then you can log back into the application form and add the festival again, and pay the deposit.
    (If the festivals that you wanted to volunteer at are still available). If the festivals that you wanted to apply for have filled up before your payment was processed, then I'm afraid there is nothing we can do, we suggest that you add yourself to the waiting list.

  • What will happen to the personal information I give to you?

    Once we receive your application your personal information will be stored on our database. We will use the information to allocate you to festivals and roles, and to facilitate your attendance at the festivals. We will be sharing your name and National insurance numbers with the organisers of the festival/s you are going to, so that they can issue the relevant people/ vehicle passes. For some festivals we may need to share your name and date of birth with the local Police to allow them to carry out Police National Computer (PNC) checks. You are asked to agree to this on your application form.

    If you have expressed an interest in finding out more about Oxfam, we will share your contact details with other departments within Oxfam. We will not share your personal information with anyone else.

  • What is 'denied status'?

    Denied means they have been formally requested not to steward with Oxfam again. You will receive a letter in the post and you have the right to appeal in writing, all appeals looked at by the Festivals Manager on a case by case basis.  If you have ever been asked not to volunteer for any department of Oxfam, and this decision has not been overturned in writing through the appeals process detailed in Oxfam's Resolving Differences Policy (which is saved in your volunteer log in My Downloads within the terms of reference document)  you will not be eligible to steward and your application will not be accepted.

    Some possible reasons for this are that: you did not complete your shifts, you did not show up at a festival where we were expecting you and didn't let us know, you are a 'serial canceller' and have never actually turned up for a festival, or we felt that you did not comply with Oxfam's Terms of Reference either on site or in your dealings with other Oxfam staff and volunteers. All volunteers must agree that they have read and understand our Terms of Reference as part of the application process. We may share these denied status with our festival client base. 

  • When is the closing date for application forms?

    Applications for each festival will close when the volunteering places at that festival are full. Applications work on a first come, first served basis.(This doesn't apply to shops)

    We do operate a waiting list for those who are interested in stewarding at a closed festival. You would then be emailed if we needed to re-open the festival for more volunteers, letting you know exactly when you can apply.