Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to live in London/UK to be able to volunteer?

This depends on your volunteering role. As a Home Reading Volunteer, you’ll read with children in person in one of our locations in Camden, Lambeth, Westminster or Hammersmith & Fulham. You’ll be able to choose which location works best for you. Online Reading Volunteers can log onto their reading sessions via Zoom from anywhere in the UK. However, all volunteers must be based in the UK, so that we can carry out an enhanced DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check for working with children.

How much time do I have to commit?

As a regular volunteer, you will visit the same families on the same day and at the same time every week for a minimum of 9 months. If you are a Home Reading Volunteer you can volunteer on either a Monday, Tuesday or Thursday during school term time and will start at 4.30 pm and finish at 7.00 pm.

If you are an Online Reading Volunteer you can volunteer on either a Monday, Tuesday or Thursday during school term time and will start at 4.30 pm and finish at 6.30 pm.

You won’t be required to volunteer during the half-term holidays or during the Easter, Christmas or Summer holidays and you are entitled to 2 absences per term. Altogether you will be volunteering for approximately 32 weeks of the year.

If you can’t volunteer regularly, you can become a stand-in volunteer. Our stand-ins step in when a regular reader can’t come to a session. We ask Stand-in Volunteers to volunteer once every 3 weeks during school term time. This is a lot more flexible and it’s a great opportunity to meet and work with different volunteers and families.

How do the reading sessions work?

The main aim of our reading sessions is to inspire a love of books, of stories and storytelling, and to instil a lifelong love of reading. This helps prepare children for school and broadens their opportunities in later life.

As a Home Reading Volunteer, you’ll visit the same five families each week and spend 20 minutes reading and engaging with each family. You’ll also bring the children a few extra books to leave behind, making sure that they always have enough to read at home in between the sessions. As an Online Reading Volunteer, you’ll read with the same three families each week, again spending 20 minutes reading and engaging with each family via Zoom.

Our reading sessions are all about bringing the gift of books and the joy of reading into the home. We don’t have set attainment goals, the sessions should be fun for both children and volunteers and friendly chats, reading with silly voices or playing a little game is very much encouraged!

How do I become a Doorstep Library Reading Volunteer?

Our volunteering journey begins with registering your interest after which we will send you an application form to fill out. Once completed we’ll get to know you better in an interview via Zoom. We’ll also help you complete an enhanced DBS check and you’ll be asked to provide the names of two referees. The last step is completing your training and after that, you’ll be ready to be matched with a volunteering partner and start reading! Register your interest now!

Will I receive training?

Absolutely, we provide separate training programmes for Home and Online Reading volunteers which include pre-recorded training videos that you can watch at home in your own time and at your own pace, followed by a live interactive training session via Zoom. The training covers topics like basic rules and principles, safeguarding, and plenty of advice on how to make reading sessions engaging and build a relationship with the children and families. Throughout your volunteering, you’ll be getting lots of support from your Team Leader as well as other volunteers. We’ll be always happy to hear your feedback, answer any questions and respond to any concerns.