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What is People Helping People?

It’s all about how we live our lives together, in York. It’s often described as social action which simply means “people coming together to help improve their lives and solve the problems that are important in their communities”.

We know we have people willing to give time, expertise, energy and experience to others: with less public money and more challenges, we must make the most of this. We’ve linked up with Cities of Service to help us do this. Developed by a group of US city mayors, over 200 cities worldwide now use this approach. It’s all about clarity, good organisation and checking results, making sure that there’s positive progress towards priorities.

This is often called ‘impact volunteering’. Let’s say there’s an opportunity or a problem; the right people get together and plan to tackle it; they deliver the plan and, importantly, make sure that there’s a clear result (and that it’s the one they expected).
Recently we identified the local challenges that can be addressed by mobilising volunteers, alongside public services. We have worked with partners in the voluntary and community sector, as well as local businesses, to develop projects that will impact on those challenges. We plan to develop clear metrics to track our progress, as well as report regularly and publicly on the results.

For more information please go to the People Helping People Strategy.

Websites that Support People Helping People

Live Well York

Please view the volunteering options on the Live Well York website. This link filters the community activity volunteer opportunities for you or you can navigate yourself by filtering the type of volunteering options you may be interested in and click the volunteering button on the home page of the Community Activities Directory.

York Charter for Volunteering

The Charter is a locally-devised set of standards which provides a framework for developing and improving volunteering programmes.

  • Contribution: Volunteers are able to contribute to genuine achievements
  • Quality: The volunteer experience is of a high quality
  • Safety: Volunteers have a safe experience
  • Enjoyment: Volunteers are able to enjoy their experience
  • Value: Volunteers are valued and their contribution is properly recognised
  • Voice: Volunteers have a voice and all parties listen to one another
  • Equality: Volunteers are treated fairly, barriers to volunteering are removed and diversity is welcomed
  • Proportionality: Volunteer paperwork and procedures are kept to the minimum necessary for the role

Volunteering Opportunities


Please view the volunteering options on the Live Well York website. This link filters the community activity volunteer opportunities for you, alternatively you can navigate yourself by filtering the type of volunteering options you may be interested in and by clicking the volunteering button on the Community Activities directory. 

Do-it Trust

Do-it Trust put volunteers and civil society at the heart of everything it does to inspire everyone to get involved and do something for their community. Using the latest technologies, it wants to help civil society reap the benefits of putting volunteers and communities at the centre of their work.

Find out more by visiting Do-it.

Volunteering for Students & Graduates

For volunteering opportunities for students and post graduates you can visit the York St John University or York University Students' Union websites.

Employment Support Volunteering work

York Cares is a partnership of the city's leading employers committed to making York a better place through employee-volunteering.

They match the skills and expertise of employers and their employees to community projects where they can have most impact. Our tried and tested programmes deliver tangible benefits for local people as well as workforce development opportunities for employers.

To check out the work of York Cares, you can view this video:

Volunteering with the Council

York is renowned as a volunteering city. City of York Council offers a broad range of volunteering opportunities for you to get involved. From looking after green areas to mentoring; people of all ages and backgrounds can volunteer in the city to:

  • help others
  • develop their own skills
  • gain new experience

Health Champions

  • Community Health Champions are people who, with training and support, voluntarily offer their skills and passion and make use of their community links to transform Health and Wellbeing in their neighbourhood. 
  • The Community Health Champions model is proving to be an effective way of reaching people and is making a real difference within communities. Champions are also influencing and shaping local services, increasing public participation, initiating community development opportunities whilst gaining new skills and knowledge.
  • Within their families, communities and workplaces Community Health Champions empower and motivate people to get involved in healthy social activities; create new activities to meet local needs; and signpost people to relevant community activities, and support. 
  • For more information on Community Health Champions including how to become a champion please contact or telephone 01904 552774.

Volunteering with Changing Lives

Changing Lives is a national, registered charity which provides specialist support for thousands of vulnerable people and their families. The type of clients we offer support to have been affected by homelessness, addiction, crime and abuse amongst many others. By volunteering for Changing Lives, you’ll be joining a network of life-changers, all working together to empower people to change their lives for the better. Changing Lives has several projects around York which are always looking for volunteers to fill various roles. These roles are listed on our website and are regularly updated with exciting new opportunities.

Volunteering with Explore

Explore provides the public library service for York and manages the City Archive. We aim to give everyone somewhere to dream, discover and experiment. We help people get access to opportunities that spark imaginations. We love to share the joy of reading with adults and children. Our network of libraries and reading cafes help people to meet up and connect more deeply with the place they live in. We are always looking for volunteers to support our work and we offer a wide range of interesting and rewarding volunteer opportunities. Apply online or chat to a member of staff in your local library about what’s on offer.

Volunteering with Wilberforce Trust

Volunteering in York and Tadcaster is a great way to support our tenants with sight loss. Many of our volunteers make weekly visits to tenants in Wilberforce houses, sometimes just for a chat but often to help with some special interest like sewing, to read or to help write a letter. If you feel you would like to know more about volunteering opportunities in any or all of our services, please contact Natalie Crowther

Volunteering opportunities currently available:

Volunteering with Kyra

Kyra Women’s Project is the only independent charity in York that is dedicated to women’s self-development. We provide support for women of all ages and backgrounds to take an active role in their own development through social, creative and training opportunities. In particular, we work with women who have specific needs around recovery - for example, recovery from domestic abuse, alcohol or substance misuse, or mental health.

Current volunteering roles at Kyra include:

Volunteering with Yorkshire Housing

Yorkshire Housing are currently recruiting volunteers following launching the new volunteer hub alongside the Help at Hand service in York. The role offers free training, regular supervision and support. The volunteer role description and application form are available below.

Enquiries and applications should be sent to or telephone 07827896949.

Volunteering With York Neighbours

York Neighbours works with people over 65 in York to reduce social isolation and loneliness and promote independence at home. We need volunteers who can help in any of the following ways:

  • With one off practical tasks in people's homes
  • By helping in the office with making phone calls or administration
  • By helping with our group outings as a driver or helper

 No minimum time commitment required.

 Find out more by visiting our website or call 01904 891 627

Other Volunteering Opportunities

If you are a group or organisation that wants to provide volunteering opportunities in York then please contact to submit a free posting here.

   Last reviewed: 08/10/2019

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While every care has been taken in the compilation of this information, neither City of York Council, its partners or Public Consulting Group will be held responsible for any loss, damage or inconvenience caused as a result of using the site and any inaccuracies/errors within these pages.