Event volunteer FAQs

Find out all about volunteering at an Oxfam event.

  • What is event volunteering ?

    Event volunteers donate their time to Oxfam to help us put on our running and 100k walk fundraising events. They help cheer on participants support check points, register participants and help us set up and take down events. We also need the help of specialist volunteers such as masseurs and photographers.

    Every year Oxfam raises over £1 million from running events such as The London Marathon and the Great North Run and £2 million from Trailwalker and Trailtrekker. It's a simple equation; the more volunteers we can get to help out at events the more money can go to help fight poverty around the world.

    We couldn't do it without you.

  • Where and when are Oxfams events ?

    We have events all over the country with the big four being The London Marathon in April, Trailtrekker (in the Yorkshire Dales) in June, Trailwalker (across the South Downs from Petersfield to Brighton) in July and the Great North Run in Newcastle in September.

    Full list of Oxfam events

  • Am I eligible to volunteer for Oxfam and is there an age restriction ?

    To volunteer at our events you need to be over 18 on the day of the event and be legally allowed to work in the UK*. There is no upper age limit and we'll try our very best to cater for all levels of skill and special requirements.

    *Certain visa restrictions apply. If you are from the European Union, you are free to volunteer in the UK. For those from outside the EU, you will need to check that your visa allows you to volunteer. We advise that you contact the UK Borders and Immigration Agency to find out.Oxfam is not able to support individuals who need visas to come to the UK to volunteer. Oxfam cannot support volunteer visas, as we do not have the correct licence to do so.

    Please note; you will not be able to volunteer if you are not eligible to volunteer in the UK.

  • What's in it for me ?

    • You get a free Oxfam volunteer t-shirt which you wear on the day and get to take home with you.
    • Event volunteering is a fantastic way to make a real difference, especially when funds are tight but you have some extra time on your hands
    • Each volunteer can save Oxfam between £40 to £400! This means that more money can go to help people all around the world.
    • It's great fun and a brilliant day to be part of. Whether you come by yourself or with a group of friends or colleagues, we will make you feel part of our team, and make sure you have a great time. You're sure to leave an Oxfam event with lots of new friends.
    • It can help make your CV stand out, especially if you are interested in working in events or for a charity. It shows you are an active citizen who is interested in making a difference.
    • It will give you an insight into Oxfam events and how big charity challenges are organised.
    • You'll get all reasonable travel expenses covered and we'll make sure you are well fed at the event.
  • I am a deaf and/or disabled person, can I still volunteer ?

    Oxfam event volunteer opportunities are open to everyone. We aim to create an environment that realises, challenges and utilises everyone's skills.

    For details of the demands of individual roles, please see the question "What will I be doing?" below.

    As part of the application process we would like to know if there are any reasonable adjustments we can make to ensure you are able to volunteer with us.

    Adjustments we can and have made in the past include but are not limited to:

    • Providing a seat for people that cannot stand up for long periods of time.
    • Organising transport to get you to the start and pick you up at the end of shifts (where possible).
    • Having a Personal Assistant place (please be aware Oxfam are unable to find or provide Personal Assistants).
    • Ensuring that you have adequate light to work if you are visually impaired.
    • Ensuring you are not working in a loud location.
    • Providing assistance in finding a secure location for medication (where possible).
    • Providing charging points for power chairs.
    • Making adjustments to the lengths of shifts where a specific access requirement for a shortened working period has been identified.
    • Making adjustments to the lengths of break during your shift where a specific access requirement has been identified.

    For further information about or to discuss your requirements please contact eventvolunteer@oxfam.org.uk or call us on 0300 200 1244

  • I'm a masseur / photographer / entertainer / cheerleader / parking expert / have an event skill - any use?

    Photographers

    We are always on the lookout for volunteer photographers to help us capture the experience of the day. If you're interested in coming along to an event please email us at eventvolunter@oxfam.org.uk.

     

    Masseurs

    We offer massage to all our runners at the end of all our events. Our Masseurs are usually volunteers and supply their own equipment. If you are interested in helping out at an event and are fully qualified please email us at eventvolunteers@oxfam.org.uk. Equally, please get in touch if you are a massage tutor looking to get your team of students some real life event experience.

     

    Other event skill

    Entertainer / cheerleader / parking expert ? If you have any other skill that you have that you believe would help Oxfam stand out or make a difference at an event we'd love to hear from you. Email us at eventvolunteer@oxfam.org.uk or call us on 0300 200 1244 and let us know.

  • What do other volunteers think ?

    "Volunteering at Trailwalker was a fantastic experience. Great fun, great food, great people! Walkers were truly inspirational - from the tears to the triumphant run down the final straight, I appreciate having had the opportunity to be a part of this amazing event."

    Trailwalker 2012 volunteer

    "Great scenery, great people, great times, great cause."

    Trailtrekker 2012 Volunteer.

  • Do I need any skills or experience / do you provide support or training?

    General volunteers don't need to have done anything like this before. We will give you all the support you need with event information before the event and a full briefing when you arrive at the event.

    Volunteer coordinator roles will be offered to volunteers who have previously had Oxfam event experience.

  • My organisation encourages me / my team to volunteer. Can you help?

    Yes! Please get in contact with us and we can talk about the best way to support you. (email at eventvolunteer@oxfam.org.uk or phone on 0300 200 1244)

  • My organisation is interested in having a team away day at your event - any use?

    Yes! Please get in contact with us and we can talk about the best way to support you. (email at eventvolunteer@oxfam.org.uk or phone on 0300 200 1244)

  • How long are the shifts ?

    It depends on the event. For running events they are usually about 4 or 5 hours. We will let you know how long the shifts are in the briefing packs. If this causes a problem please contact us and we can see what we can do.

    For Trailtrekker and Trailwalker shifts can be up to 8 hours but we will ensure that if you plan to volunteer for more than 1 shioft that you have a break of 8 hours between any 2 shifts.

  • What will I be doing ?

    Running events

    Cheer point volunteers

    • Help set up Oxfam materials (lots of green flags and banners!)
    •  Cheer on all runners, make some noise!
    •  Encourage spectators nearby to join in by giving out materials
    •  Help take down and pack materials

    Post Race Reception Volunteers

    • Spot and direct Oxfam runners to our marquee using big 'Oxfam hands'!
    •  Keep a register of runners requiring a hard-earned massage - the perfect way to end the race
    •  Hand out goodie bags, sandwiches and snacks to finishers
    •  Take photos of runners with their medal - the ultimate souvenir to capture the moment
    •  Fill in certificates with the runner's name so that they'll have something to frame for their wall!
    •  Help take down and pack materials at the end of the day
    • At the London marathon we send volunteers down to the finish to help the runners carry their stuff up to our reception. After running 26.2 miles their legs can't always cope with the extra weight!


    Trailwalker / Trailtrekker

    Start Line Volunteers

    • Welcoming Participants
    • Handing out registration packs.
    • Registering walkers
    • Exchanging T-shirts
    • Helping with questions and directions

    Check point Volunteers

    • Cheering participants as they arrive.
    • Helping to distribute donated goods.
    • Chatting to support crews.
    • Supporting the walkers and encourage them on through the challenge.

    Finish Line Volunteers

    • Help cheer walkers over the line.
    • Assisting support crews and guests.
    • Helping with medal presentations
    • Assisting the commentator 
  • Will I get to see the event ?

    This depends on the event and your role location.

    Running events

    The cheer points are on the race route so you will be cheering on the runners as they come past you. If you are at the Post Race reception you may or may not be able to see the finish line (this depends on the layout of each event).

    Trailwalker / Trailtrekker

    If you're volunteering at Trailwalker or TrailTrekker you will either be watching the grand starts on the Saturday morning, supporting teams as they come through checkpoints and/or congratulating them at the finish. You are more than welcome to see another part of the course between shifts if you'd like and we're more than happy for you to see how the first shift goes and let us know on the day if you want to see a later part of the course.

     

    Volunteer roles are on a first come first served basis so the sooner you get back to us with your choices the more likely we will be able to offer you the location you prefer.

  • What should I bring ?

    You will be on your feet for a lot of the time so comfortable shoes are a must. As most roles are at least partly outside in the British weather we suggest bringing sun cream, sun hat, water and waterproofs so you are prepared for Mother Nature whatever mood she happens to be in. We do have rain ponchos if it rains but a good coat is always a good idea!

    Please bring your mobile phone with you and make sure we have emergency contact details for someone who isn't also volunteering.

    If you are working a night shift at one of the 100km events please bring lots of warm clothing as the temperature drops at night. It may also be a good idea to bring a torch just in case.

    Please also bring any essential medication you are taking or might need (e.g. your eppi pen, insulin, inhaler etc.) and make us aware of any medical conditions you may have.

    For both Trailwalker and Trailtrekker you are welcome to bring a tent - limited camping facilities are available at the main site (water / toilets / showers etc.).

  • Do you pay expenses ?

    No-one should be out of pocket for volunteering with Oxfam. We will cover reasonable local travel expenses for the event. Just fill out the claims forms (available from your volunteer coordinator on the day or via email at eventvolunteer@oxfam.org.uk) and send it to us with your receipts.

    As we provide snacks and drinks at our events we're sorry but we can't reimburse food costs. Vegetarians are catered for but if you have any particular dietary requirements other than this please provide your own food to cover the length of shift you are undertaking.

  • Can I camp ?

    Camping isn't necessary at our running events as they occur during the day and for one day only. Trailwalker and Trailtrekker however, have shifts finishing late, starting early or overnight. All of which might mean you want to stay overnight in the vicinity of the event.

    At all locations you will have to bring your own camping equipment.

    Trailwalker

    Camping is available at the start point (Queen Elizabeth Country Park on Friday evening to noon on the Saturday.

    Checkpoint camping is allowed at Check point 5 to 9 for the overnight shifts

    Finish point camping is allowed from noon on Saturday to Sunday at 6pm at Brighton Race course.

    Trailtrekker

    Camping is available at all locations except water stop 1.

    N.B. You don't have to camp if you don't want to but Oxfam are unable to provide accommodation for volunteers at our events.

  • How do I know where to go and when to be there ?

    We will send through the details 2 weeks before the event which will include the details of timings and locations. If you have any questions you can email us at eventvolunteer@oxfam.org.uk or call us on 0300 200 1244.

  • Can I sign up for more than one event ?

    Yes! We'd love to see you at as many events as you like.

  • What if I find out last minute that I can't come ?

    That's not a problem but please do let us know, If it is before 5pm on the Friday before the event then call the office on 0300 200 1244. If later than this then please contact your volunteer coordinator (their details will have been included in your briefing pack.)

  • None of the volunteer roles suit me, can I still help?

    Please call us on 0300 200 1244 and we can talk about the other volunteering options open to you. It may be that shop volunteering, joining our supporter panel or local fundraising is more suited to you. 

  • My company would be interested in donating gifts in kind for your events - any use?

    Yes! Please call us on 0300 200 1244 or email us at eventvolunteer@oxfam.org.uk, we'd love to hear from you. We're particularly interested in energy drinks, snacks, tea, coffee, suger, toilet roll and items that we can put in goodie bags for our participants.

  • My company would like to work / supply a stall at your event - any use?

    Yes! Please call us on 0300 200 1244 or email us at eventvolunteer@oxfam.org.uk, we'd love to hear from you.

  • Can I bring a friend with me ?

    Yes, the more the merrier! Please let us know in advance though (ideally if they complete the event volunteer application then they can have a T-shirt too. Also please make sure your friend (or family member) gives the volunteer coordinator a set of emergency contact details.

  • When will applications be going live ?

    Applications for all our events will be going live approximately 3 months before event day. If you can't see an application yet then register your interest and we will let you know as soon as it becomes live.

  • How do I volunteer at a festival ?

    Festival volunteering information can be found here.

    Festival volunteers can steward, campaign or volunteer in one of Oxfam's on-site shops.

  • I still have questions ?

    If we haven't covered your question here please contact us by email at eventvolunteer@oxfam.org.uk or by phone on 0300 200 1244 and we'll do our best to answer it.

  • How do I volunteer ?

    Fill out the event application form and we'll be in touch. If the application form isn't live yet then register your interest and we'll be in touch and we'll let you know when it is. Also keep an eye on our Facebook group and we'll let you know when signups for individual events go live.

  • How do I find out about other Oxfam volunteer opportunities ?

    We have hundreds of volunteer vacancies advertised online. Take a look at our general volunteering FAQs for further details. 

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