10a Union Street EDINBURGH EH1 3LU. Tel 0131 558 9444.
Scottish Charity Number sco23479. Registered company number 156826.

Gay Men's Health can be contacted at the above address and/or phone number. Please use the e-mail form to contact us. All enquiries are treated in strict confidence.

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Gay Men’s Health Volunteer Policy

What does this policy do?

This policy outlines the principles upon which volunteers are involved in the organisation. It defines the roles, rights and responsibilities of volunteers.

Why is it needed?

This policy:

  • Outlines explicitly to staff, volunteers and users of the service, how and why volunteers will be involved.

  • Prevents decisions being made based on unwritten rules, prejudice and / or favouritism.

  • Clarifies what is expected of volunteers, e.g. confidentiality, commitment.

  • Clarifies what volunteers rights are, e.g. insurance, expenses, support, access to training.

  • Gives volunteers and volunteering status.

  • Raises awareness about voluntary work.

  • Clarifies boundaries between paid staff and volunteers.

  • Can be monitored and reviewed on a regular basis.


Gay Men’s Health exists to improve the health of gay and bisexual men living in Scotland, and takes a holistic approach to this work in looking at all aspects of a person’s health, and how they impact upon the person as a whole.

To this end, we:

  • involve gay men in shaping the work of the project

  • provide a range of direct services

  • provide opportunities for gay men to realise their physical, emotional, social and spiritual potential

  • inform other agencies providing services to gay men

  • work collaboratively with other agencies

  • identify gaps in services

In line with this mission Gay Men’s Health seeks to involve volunteers to:

  • involve gay and bisexual men and their friends in information sharing with their peers

  • ensure our services meet the needs of our clients

  • provide new skills and perspectives

  • increase our contact with the community we serve


This Volunteering Policy is underpinned by the following principles:

  • Gay Men’s Health will ensure that volunteers are properly integrated into the organisational structure and that mechanisms are in place for them to contribute to Gay Men’s Health’s work

  • Gay Men’s Health does not aim to introduce volunteers to replace paid staff

  • Gay Men’s Health expects that staff at all levels will work positively with volunteers and, where appropriate, will actively seek to involve them in their work

  • Gay Men’s Health recognises that volunteers require satisfying work and personal development and will seek to help volunteers meet these needs, as well as providing the training for them to do their work effectively.

Practice Guidelines

The guidelines dealing with practical aspects of the involvement of volunteers, including summarised versions of the various documents referred to, are provided in the Volunteers' Handbook.


All prospective volunteers will be interviewed to find out what they would like to do, their skills, suitability and how best their potential might be realised.

Volunteer Agreements and Voluntary Work Outlines

Volunteers will have a Volunteer Agreement establishing what Gay Men’s Health undertakes to provide them. In addition they will agree to a written outline of the specific work they will be undertaking. Neither of these documents is a contract; Gay Men’s Health has no intention of creating a contract with any volunteers. Each volunteer will also receive a Volunteers' Handbook.


All volunteers will have their travel and other expenses reimbursed. Volunteers working a minimum of five hours per day will be able to claim expenses for lunch.

Further details on Gay Men’s Health’s expenses policy are available in the Volunteers' Handbook.

Induction and training

All volunteers will receive an induction into Gay Men’s Health and their own area work. Training will be provided as appropriate. Where possible volunteers will be entitled to receive additional training on the same basis as paid staff.


All volunteers will have a named person as their main point of contact. They will be provided with regular supervision to feed back on progress, discuss future development and air any problems. You are welcome to request extra support with regard to volunteering, at any time.

The Community Development Manager will usually be your first point of contact for any volunteering related support issue, with the exception of volunteer counsellors, who should report to the Counselling and Support Manager, and directors, who can request support from the chair of the board.

The volunteer’s voice

Volunteers are encouraged to express their views and ideas about matters concerning Gay Men’s Health and its work.
You can ask your line manager for an appointment at any point should you have any such suggestions.


All volunteers are covered by Gay Men’s Health’s insurance policy whilst they are on the premises or engaged in any work on Gay Men’s Health’s behalf.

Gay Men’s Health’s insurance policy covers volunteers for accidents they cause or suffer during their work for the organisation.

Health and Safety

Volunteers are covered by Gay Men’s Health’s Health and Safety Policies a copy of which is in the Volunteers' Handbook.

Volunteers are covered by Gay Men’s Health’s Health and Safety provisions.

Equal Opportunities

Gay Men’s Health operates an equal opportunities policy in respect of both paid staff and volunteers. A summary of this is in the Volunteer's Handbook, and a full copy can be obtained from the administrator if you wish. Volunteers will be expected to have an understanding of and commitment to our equal opportunities policy.


Volunteers will be bound by the same requirements for confidentiality as paid staff. A summary of this is in the Volunteers Handbook, and a full copy can be obtained from the administrator if you wish. Volunteers will be expected to have an understanding of and commitment to our confidentiality policy.

Gay Men’s Health has a responsibility to respect and maintain your own confidentiality as a volunteer, in line with its confidentiality policy. We will not normally divulge your personal details or other information about you to other individuals or organisations without your informed consent. However there may be situations where we have a legal or ethical responsibility to do this, i.e. if we believe that you may present a risk to yourself or others. If this should happen, only information deemed to be essential will be passed on.

If you have any concerns or questions about confidentiality and how it relates to yourself and others, please arrange a meeting with your line manager, who will be able to discuss this with you.

> About volunteering at GMH: Volunteer handbook
> Volunteer policy
> Volunteer application form


Last updated 14th July 2004

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