Some of our helpline staff and volunteers, 2016

Current voluntary roles

Office-based

  • Helpline Advisor – 2 days per week – Current vacancy – See below
  • Helpline Monitoring Volunteer – Current vacancy – See below
  • Web Chat Helpline Advisor Current vacancy – See below
  • Helpline Administrator – 1 day per week – No specific vacancies, but express an interest and we’ll keep your details on file as we regularly have opportunities

Home-based

  • Content Writer – 1 day per week – No specific vacancies, but express an interest and we’ll keep your details on file as we regularly have opportunities
  • Active Forum Contributor – Current vacancySee below

Other

As and when other opportunities arise, they will be listed on our vacancies page. We’ll also send out details via our e-updates, so sign up if you want to receive an email to your inbox.

Helpline Advisor (Voluntary)

About the role

We are an independent and highly respected social inclusion charity based in Maidstone, Kent. In this office-based role you will help deliver Unlock’s peer-led Helpline, by providing advice and support by telephone, email and letter, producing information for our online Information Hub.

We’re looking for somebody who …..

  • Is a person with past convictions
  • Is a confident person with experience in a customer-facing role
  • Has a passion for making a difference and challenging inequality
  • Loves working in a small team but who is self-motivated enough to excel without heavy supervision
  • Has excellent verbal, written and research skills and are able to communicate effectively with a wide range of people
  • Is confident using computers(including use of internet and emails)
  • Is ideally able to commit to volunteering 2 days per week for at least 6 months
  • Lives near to our Maidstone office; we have a limited budget, but travel costs can be covered where agreed in advance (up to a maximum of £15 per day).

Interested?

Web Chat Helpline Advisor (Voluntary)

About the role

Following a successful pilot in early 2019, the holder of this post will help us to integrate webchat into the way we support individuals online. The role forms part of Unlock’s peer-led helpline, ensuring that people with convictions have access to the most trusted, high quality, independent, relevant information to support their needs and aspirations.

We’re looking for somebody who …..

  • Is a person with past convictions
  • Is confident using computers as a tool to give information and advice
  • Has experience in customer-facing roles
  • Has a passion for making a difference and challenging inequality
  • Loves working in a small team but is self-motivated enough to excel without heavy supervision
  • Has excellent verbal, written and research skills and is able to communicate effectively with a wide range of people
  • Is able to commit to volunteering 2 days per week for at least 6 months
  • Lives near to our Maidstone office; we have a limited travel budget but travel costs can be covered where agreed in advance (up to a maximum of £15 per day).

Interested?

  • See the Role Description for more information about this position.
  • If you want to apply, please complete a Volunteer Application Form and return along with a covering letter.
  • Send your application by email to admin@unlock.org.uk or post it to Unlock, MCSC, 39-48 Marsham Street, Maidstone, Kent ME14 1HH.

Helpline Monitoring Volunteer – Office based

About the role

We’re an independent and highly respected social inclusion charity based in Maidstone, Kent. In this office-based role you will be following up with clients to ensure that the needs of our helpline users have been met.

We’re looking for somebody who …..

  • Is a person with a criminal record
  • Is confident, with experience in a customer facing role
  • Has a passion for making a difference and challenging inequality
  • Enjoys working in a small team but is self-motivated enough to excel without supervision
  • Is a good listener and is able to communicate effectively with a wide range of people
  • Is confident in using computers
  • Is able to commit to volunteering 1 day per week for at least 6 months
  • Lives near to our Maidstone office; we have a limited travel budget but travel costs can be covered where agreed in advance (up to a maximum of £15 per day).

Interested?

  • The Role Description provides more information about this position.
  • If you wish to apply, please complete a Volunteer Application Form and return it along with a covering letter.
  • Send your application by email to admin@unlock.org.uk or post it to Unlock, MCSC, 39-48 Marsham Street, Maidstone, Kent ME14 1HH.

Content Writer (Voluntary) – Home-based

About the role

We are an independent and highly respected social inclusion charity based in Maidstone, Kent. In this home-based role you will form part of a small team who help to maintain and develop our online Information Hub by researching into complex issues and producing updates to existing information and developing new information updates for the site.

We’re looking for somebody who …..

Is a highly-skilled researcher/writer looking for an opportunity to use your skills to create a positive social impact. You enjoy examining complex issues, sometimes legal, thinking creatively to communicate complex ideas with simple, high quality information documents. You enjoy working with a  small team and are self-motivated enough to excel without supervision. Your verbal and written skills are excellent and you are able to communicate effectively with other team members and external organisations. You are a confident computer user, comfortable using internet and email.

Interested?

  • No specific vacancies at present – but please apply and we’ll keep your details on file.
  • The Role Description provides more information about this position. You should also read our Guidelines for home-based volunteers.
  • If you wish to apply, please complete a Volunteer Application Form and return along with a covering letter and any evidence of previous information/advice/research documentation that you’ve produced that demonstrate your skills for this role.
  • Send your application by email to admin@unlock.org.uk or post it to Unlock, MCSC, 39-48 Marsham Street, Maidstone, Kent ME14 1HH.

Summary of our volunteer programme

People with convictions have been at the heart of Unlock (as staff, trustees and volunteers) ever since we were formed in 1999 by a group of former prisoners.

As a small organisation, we recognise the value that volunteers make to helping us to fulfil our mission. Critically, for us, this involves giving people with convictions the opportunity to use volunteering as a stepping-stone as part of their resettlement process and ultimately towards stable employment.

More broadly, we are very keen to make it clear that we encourage volunteers who have previous criminal convictions. Not all volunteers at Unlock (nor do all staff!) have convictions, but some roles (such as providing advice on our helpline) require people to have personal experience of having had a conviction.

We strongly believe that every volunteering opportunity deserves proper support and, given our very limited resources, we can’t offer nearly as many opportunities as we would like.

As and when opportunities arise, they will be listed on our vacancies page. We’ll also send out details via our e-updates, so sign up if you want to receive an email to your inbox.

Background to our volunteer programme

Volunteers are essential for the development and delivery of our work. The skills and passion of volunteers mean a small organisation like Unlock makes a disproportionately larger impact.

Since 2009, we have designed, piloted and developed a volunteering programme to provide opportunities for men and women from HMP East Sutton Park and HMP Blantyre House carrying out voluntary work, as well as opportunities to people in the community. Travelling to our office for a number of days each week, usually over a period of several months, volunteers are trained and supported as Helpline Advisors; gaining valuable workplace experience whilst at the same time supporting our wider beneficiary group. During transition periods (like leaving prison) volunteering helps people develop confidence, raise self-esteem, improve skills, and develop a positive identity by helping others.

  • In 2016/17 we supported 12 people as volunteers (10 office and 2 non-office based)
  • 3,200 hours of time was given to the charity by office-based volunteers
  • Non-office based volunteers took on roles including Content Writers
  • None of our previous volunteers have gone on to re-offend, and all have gone on to positive outcomes, either into employment or further training.

“It helped my self-esteem in the sense that I began to believe that I could be a valuable member of a team in an environment which deals with quite complex issues. I was treated with respect by people I would often shy away from. It helped me with a few of my own personal issues in a positive sense.”

Feedback from one of our volunteers

A volunteer’s perspective

When I first came to Unlock I was a bit unsure of what to expect, but nonetheless I gave it a try. It was a lot different to the environment that I was used to working in before I came to prison 6 and half years ago. Back then, I was working as a site supervisor with a London Borough Council which never required me to work in an office or be in one place all day however I did feel I had transferable skills which helped me. It was all new to me but I saw it as a challenge and after starting, everyone at Unlock made me feel welcome. These people knew where I was coming from and work to help people like me. This put me at ease a great deal as it was a lot easier to disclose without fear of rejection.

Being in prison for such a long time as I have been, I quickly realised that even though I was ready to work and keen to work it would take a while to adjust to a working environment with every day people. Working at Unlock helped me to overcome this barrier. Whilst in prison I trained in IT which gave me the foundations to carry out some of the work required of me at Unlock but since working there my skills developed considerably and my confidence has grown enabling me to work even better at researching and compiling data to a good level, as well as communicating effectively through letters, emails and telephone.

I feel that the experience has enabled me to grow as an individual. I got used to being independent with regards to travelling to and from work, organising my route and scheduling daily activities whilst at work. I met a great team of people at Unlock who were very supportive in my time of bereavement and gave me very good advice which has proven to be invaluable.

I started at Unlock as a volunteer, because as a charity they were unable to offer me any full time work when my time came to start full time employment. I can honestly say that if they had the means to offer me full time employment I would have happily accepted their offer and stayed with them as I found what they did very interesting, enlightening and rewarding.

Whilst at Unlock I applied for a position as Office Manager for a recently established organisation and was given a very good reference from the Unlock staff. If I had not worked at Unlock I do not feel I would have had the sharpened skills, confidence or drive to apply for the post. Some times it takes being with positive people to see positivity in ones own life, especially after spending so long locked up with other prisoners who have lost all hope and are filled with negativity and hopelessness. I went on to be successful in the interview and became Office Manager, where I started in May 2010.

Once again I commend the Unlock team for all their patience with me and all their help and support. It was truly emotional.

Stephen, Helpline Volunteer

Read about other volunteers personal experiences of volunteering at Unlock on our online magazine, theRecord.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
TOP
We use cookies on this website to help us improve it.
Find out more about how we use cookies in our privacy policy - click here