In general there is no lower age limit for volunteers
- You may need to consider the type of role and responsibility that is appropriate for particular age groups
- Also consider if your project may be discriminating against a younger age group. Consider if the lower age group for the role is set too high and is there to discourage younger people from volunteering
- Check your insurance policy! You may find that it stipulates a minimum age limit
- You may also need to check internal organisational policies, to see if there are any minimum age limits
- Volunteering England give the following guidance on their information page ‘A summary of legal issues involving volunteers’:
“While there are legal restrictions on employing young people, they do not apply to volunteers. It is worth being aware of the legislation, even if you are not bound by it, and to remember that young people have other demands on their time outside volunteering, such as homework, socialising and so on.
Section 18 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 and subsequent amendments limit employment to those aged 13 or over. It states that no child under minimum school leaving age may be employed before 7 am or after 7 pm on any day or for more than 2 hours on any school day or Sunday. The legislation also requires that children must have a minimum of 2 weeks free from work during the school holidays.
Many local authorities have bye-laws further restricting the work young people may do. It is also important to bear in mind that while the Children and Young Persons Act and most local bye-laws define employment as involvement ‘in any trade or occupation which is carried on for profit’, some local authorities have taken the definition of ‘for profit’ to include, for example, charity shops.”
- The Charity Commission gives guidance on children and young people being on management committees. For unincorporated organisations, under 18’s cannot be on a management committee, but for companies, you can be on a management committee from age 16 (though the Charity Commission guides that the majority of committee members should be 18 or over). Organisations can have a youth representation body that can feed ideas into the management committee.