I am a volunteer

Volunteers are our lifeblood. So, whether you're volunteering on a trip or helping out with fundraising or events, what do you need to know to make sure you can make the biggest difference during your time with the Trust.

The difference you make

Get ready to volunteer!

The Trust inspires young people to believe in a brighter future living through and beyond cancer. By giving up your time, you are changing young lives.

Whether you're getting hands-on and supporting young people in one of our trip volunteer roles, or helping at a fundraising event - dishing out jelly babies to runners or spreading the word at festivals - whatever you do will help a young person feel more valued, accepted, confident and independent as they start to re-establish their place in the world.

Become a volunteer Contact the team

I am volunteering on a trip

There will be lots you will want to know before volunteering on your trip. These resources will help.

Return my medical form

How we look after young people

The safety and wellbeing of young people is our number one priority.

So you will understand there are a number of things we need to do and check before our volunteers join a trip to make sure young people and their families feel confident we are looking after them in the best way possible.

Completed DBS/PVG checks

Up-to-date disclosure is a must. In England and Wales this means a DBS check (needs updating every three years) and in Scotland and NI this is a PVG Scheme Certificate (a rolling check). Here are some useful links...

Completed a Child Protection course

All volunteers must have completed a Level 2 Child Protection course and have a certificate or training record as evidence. If you have a certificate please email it to us, or we can send you a link to a free course.

Signed our annual Safeguarding Agreement

Safeguarding is an essential part of the Trust’s goal of rebuilding young people’s confidence so every year volunteers must read and sign our Safeguarding agreement.

Download our Safeguarding Policy Complete my Annual Safeguarding Sign Up
Volunteer laughs as they apply sunscreen to a young person's face

Be yourself. Every volunteer brings something unique and special to the Trust.

COVID Trip Protocols and Procedures

Join the Trust Volunteer Facebook Group

Come and be part of the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust Volunteer Community. This is a private group for our awesome volunteers to share your top tips, ask questions, give advice and connect with other Trust volunteers and staff. If you're aged 18 or over and have volunteered either on a trip or at an event in the past three years or attended a Trust Volunteer Training and Update event in the past three years you are welcome to request to join. We will see you there!

Join the community

The Big Volunteer FAQs

What if my trip is approaching and I haven't been offered the vaccine yet?

We will update the below to reflect what will happen in 2022 once next summer's trip plans have been finalised.

Anyone aged 18+ who will come into contact with young people this summer – whether a young person, volunteer, skipper or team member - must be three weeks’ post first vaccination unless medically exempt.


The volunteer allocations are all based on the Government’s vaccine rollout delivery plans, which aims to have offered all adults in the UK a first vaccination by the end of July. Our trips are scheduled to start on 12 July and allocations – both for volunteers and the first 18-24 years Taste of the Trip and return trips - will be based on this.


As mentioned in Frank's announcement blog, the plans are based on three assumptions, one of which is vaccine deployment continues being rolled out in line with Government targets. If this changes, allocations could be impacted.

Anyone who is Extremely Clinically Vulnerable is not able to volunteer this year. Will you have enough volunteers for the trips?

We will update the below to reflect what will happen in 2022 once next summer's trip plans have been finalised.


We will have enough volunteers to safely deliver the full planned programme for young people. Our volunteers have always been of a wide age-range, and we don’t believe the measures we’ve had to take to keep everyone safe this summer will change that mix dramatically.

I am Clinically Extremely Vulnerable. How can I help support young people this year?

We will update the below to reflect what will happen in 2022 once next summer's trip plans have been finalised.


We’re going to be working through how we can support and involve anyone who can’t take part in our activities. That’s now where we turn our attention to next and when we have a plan and some options, we will communicate that with everyone.


We want to give our medically-exempt volunteers the chance to be as involved in a way that makes them feel as valued and that they are making as big a contribution as if they were on the ground, but we’re just not quite at the point where we know what that looks like yet.

I am classed as CEV but have been told by my doctor I no longer have to shield. Can I come on a trip this year?

We will update the below to reflect what will happen in 2022 once next summer's trip plans have been finalised.


This is this has been the hardest decision we've made around trips this year. Although the advice for clinically extremely vulnerable people to shield has ended, the definitions of clinically extremely vulnerable groups, as per the Government and Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG) guidelines, haven’t, and it's these definitions on which the eligibility criteria is based. If any of these definitions change, someone’s eligibility for 2021 could change too, but we will revisit that if and when if happens.


We've put lots of measures in place to make this year's trips as safe as we possibly can. But we can't remove the risk entirely. And if somebody who is Clinically Extremely Vulnerable catches COVID, there is a chance that they will end up in hospital, and there is a chance that there may be a very serious outcome from that infection. We have to think about the individual and long term implications for the Trust of that. We're trying to do is the right thing for everybody and we've made the decision that the risk is too high for the individual, and the Trust.

Will the Trust supply lateral flow tests for last minute volunteering requests?

We will update the below to reflect what will happen in 2022 once next summer's trip plans have been finalised.


We will supply lateral flow testing kits to all volunteers due to come on a trip. How far in advance we send these is currently being looked at. If you are called up at the last minute due to a late drop-out, for example, it maybe that you will already have your kits and/or we will get a kit in the post to you asap if there's time before the trip. If not, at the moment, you can order free NHS lateral flow tests online and pick up from pharmacies or local test centres. Our trips are happening in July, August and September and we don't know whether that will be the case then. So how it will work in practice will become clearer in the coming weeks and is still under discussion.

What happens if a few volunteers test positive, will the trip be affected?

We will update the below to reflect what will happen in 2022 once next summer's trip plans have been finalised.


This forms part of our ongoing risk assessment work. If someone tests positive on a trip, how do we get them home? Or what happens if someone goes home from a trip and tests positive? This is detail we're now working on and there will be processes and procedures in place, but, yes, the trip will be affected. As members of the Association of Sail Training Organisations (ASTO) we're not alone in this. Everyone's having similar discussions, which is really good, because we're able to share knowledge. Some ASTO member organisations also ran activities last year so we're sharing the learnings as we start to plan and put those really important stages in place. We will share the detail of all this when we get closer to the trips.

Will graduate volunteer training be rescheduled?

We will update the below to reflect what will happen in 2022 once next summer's trip plans have been finalised.


Yes, it will. We're looking at the end of October to hopefully get that back up and running. It will be slightly different, at a residential centre - Whitemoor Lakes Activity & Training Centre in Lichfield, Staffordshire - which will allow us to take more people in one training session. That's been planned currently and we will shared the details as soon as they are confirmed.

I'm volunteering on a sailing trip this year but haven't sailed since pre-COVID. What can I do to refresh my skills?

We will update the below to reflect what will happen in 2022 once next summer's trip plans have been finalised.


There's all the fantastic Trust Tutorials our skippers filmed for us throughout Virtual Summer, and there's some really great refreshes there - view the Trust Tutorials playlist. If you do have any particular questions or concerns, drop operations managers, Laura or James, an email and they can send you some website links and point you in a few different directions to help.

Contact the team

Other ways to support