Become a Helpline Volunteer | Cruse Bereavement Care

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Volunteer for the Cruse Helpline

Join our team of dedicated telephone volunteers and help change the lives of bereaved people.

Help bereaved people

50 000 people contact our Helpline each year. For many callers this will be the first time they have asked for help with their grief, and having someone to talk to will make a real difference.  For some people their bereavement will be recent and others may be in a later stage of grieving.  Our volunteers are there to listen, provide emotional support, and talk through the information and support available. 

Am I suited?

We welcome applications from a wide range of applicants. You don’t need to be a trained counsellor or have previous experience to become a Helpline Volunteer. We look for people who are good listeners and are empathetic and supportive.

Essential qualities

  • Empathetic and warm
  • Personal resilience and/or proactive approach to self-care
  • Open to receiving feedback from supervisor/manager
  • Self-reflective approach to learning
  • Punctual and reliable


Comfortable talking about death and grief
Volunteers need to be comfortable talking about death and grief. Many of our volunteers have personal experience of bereavement but this is not essential. Due to the nature of the calls we receive, and our commitment to volunteer wellbeing, we are unable to accept applications from those who have been bereaved in the past two years

“When I started working on the National Helpline, one of the first challenges was being able to adapt quickly to each person’s grief and their story.  I always want that to be a warm and welcoming experience where they feel truly listened to and that they are not alone in the grief."

Mary, Helpline Volunteer

Training and support

Every volunteer gets full training so you will feel fully prepared for the kinds of calls you'll receive.  

Free Bereavement Foundation training - BSF
Four sessions of four hours delivered on Zoom by experienced trainers. This training includes grief theories and models, in-depth awareness of the impact of grief, and an opportunity for experiential learning.

Helpline Skills 1 and 2 – HS1 and HS2
In this 2 sessions of 4 hours you will learn the skills and knowledge required to provide one-off supportive sessions to bereaved people ringing the Helpline and get an opportunity to have a go at the techy side of thigs 

Safeguarding Training
During this session you will learn about the skills needed in that small number of calls that present with safeguarding issues. 

Assigned supervisor
All volunteers are assigned a supervisor to make sure they are supported in their role. Helpline volunteers need to be emotionally robust to help bereaved callers, so a high emphasis is placed on self-care and feeling fully supported through supervision.

Group supervision
Volunteers form small groups, meeting once a month for two hours with an experienced supervisor. Here you would be able to discuss the process of your work, explore concerns and celebrate successes. 

Continuing professional development 

Within the first three months of starting shifts, you will be offered training modules in Trauma awareness, Working with suicidal callers remotely, and Self-care. Following that, there will be regular opportunities to access training in the broad areas of grief and loss. This training is free

Time commitment

We ask for a minimum commitment  of 2 to 3  hours per week but 4 hours a week would be ideal.

These will fall within the Helpline opening hours of:


  • 9:30am-5pm Monday and  Friday
  • 9:30am-8pm Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday
  • Weekends and Bank Holidays 10am-2pm.

How do I become a volunteer?

1. Come to an open day!

If you are interested in becoming a helpline volunteer please come to one of our open days and meet the team. You'll hear all about our work, our clients and what's it like to support clients on the helpline.

2. Fill out an application

After the open day, we will ask you to fill in an application telling us a bit more about yourself and why you would like to become one of our volunteers.

3. Come to an interview

We will arrange an informal interview when we can get to know you a bit better and you can clarify any doubts you may have.

4. Get a DBS check

We work with vulnerable adults so before you can become one of our volunteers we will need to run a criminal record check and obtain references.

5. Do the training

You are now ready to start your training and have a supervisor assigned to you.

6. Join the team

After a couple of months you are ready to be part of the team and help Cruse support more people. 
Our Helpline Volunteer Open Days are currently full, please keep an eye on this page and the Cruse Facebook page for more details. We expect to be running further events in September 2021. Alternatively, you can find out more about volunteering for our new Virtual Volunteer Service here.

Helpline Volunteer FAQs

Do I have to volunteer at the same time each week?

Our expectation is that volunteers sign up for a two hour shift per week, this could be the same slot each week or different slots. We understand that people have busy lives and are grateful for the precious gift of volunteer time. 

I am recently bereaved but would like to help, how long should I wait before volunteering?

Listening to the stories of our clients can bring back feelings about our own bereavement. It is important for our volunteers to feel safe which is why for people with recent personal experience we usually recommend that they wait two years following a bereavement before becoming a volunteer.

I would love to help, but I am busy on the next Open Day. Is there another one coming up?

Thank you for your interest in becoming a Cruse Helpline Volunteer. We are planning to make our Open Days a regular event.  Please keep an eye on the Cruse Facebook page where future sessions will be advertised

I tried to book in and the sessions are full, are there going to be more sessions coming up?

First of all, thank you for your interest in becoming a Cruse National Helpline Volunteer. Our Open Days are extremely popular and places are available on a first come, first served basis. Please keep on our website and Facebook page where future sessions will be advertised.

Is there a waiting list for Open Days that are fully subscribed?

We are a very small staff team which means that unfortunately, we are unable to maintain waiting lists. We will soon be releasing new dates for Volunteer Open Days. Please keep on the Cruse Facebook page where future sessions will be advertised.