Childcare Experience

At Hampshire County Council Fostering Service, we feel it is important for you to gain care experience prior to and during the fostering process. As a foster carer, you will be supporting some of our most vulnerable children and we want to ensure that you are as prepared as possible to start this journey. Through gaining and expanding your experience with children, you will be able to draw upon examples throughout your fostering assessment and this will help to evidence your skills and capacity to meet children’s needs. Your assessing social worker will discuss timings with you and support you in gaining the experience you require.

How to find childcare experience

Hampshire County Council Fostering Service has partnered with a number of Hampshire based businesses, services and charities to offer opportunities for those interested in fostering to volunteer and obtain childcare experience. Whether you are a keen adventurer, a sports enthusiast or a supportive ear, there is something for everyone.

If you would like further information about childcare experience, please speak to our recruitment team.

Within Hampshire County Council there is a dedicated team of Volunteer Coordinators who recruit, train, match and supervise over a hundred volunteers who support children, young people and families in a number of ways. They provide full training, dedicated support and expenses.

Volunteering roles and opportunities include:

Community Buddy Volunteer (aged 7+).

Buddy Volunteers are matched with a child or young person and offer one-to-one support during an activity or outing into the community. A crucial aspect of the volunteering role is the ability to build positive relationships with a child or young person with a disability and/or additional need enabling them to build confidence to access the community or their chosen club or activity. Participation in activities, clubs or accessing the community will be set out by the child or young person and their parents or carers and may take place in a variety of local settings.

Independent Visitor (aged 8+).

The IV volunteer scheme is a statutory service for children who are ‘looked after’ by the local authority. It is for those children who would benefit from having an IV in their life. This scheme is voluntary for the young person, which means that they can choose to have an IV at any time between the ages of 8 and 18 and extending up to 21 on a case-by-case basis.

Mentoring (aged 11+).

Volunteers will be matched with young people and offer one to one support. This is likely to include: face to face meetings, supporting them with education, self-esteem, social isolation, relationships, health, and wellbeing and to help them attend meetings and appointments. A crucial aspect will be the ability to build positive relationships, so they feel listened to and supported.

Missing children - return conversation | Hampshire County Council

Volunteers will make contact to arrange interviews with children and young people who return from being missing, within 72 hours of their return. When a Hampshire child or young person goes missing, Children’s Services, upon their return, offer them an interview conducted by an independent person (not a social worker or other professional already involved with the child). These interviews, crucial for safeguarding, can help to put things in place to make sure children/young people do not go missing in the future and may occur in various settings such as the child’s home, foster care home, residential care setting, or another agreed local venue.

Family support | Hampshire County Council

Volunteers will work alongside parents and carers to provide support, using family support techniques acquired during training, visiting families in their home or other local settings to deliver agreed support aimed at enhancing family relationships and preventing breakdown. Families face diverse challenges, such as mental health issues, substance abuse, domestic violence, social isolation, and learning disabilities which can significantly impact family stability and well-being. Volunteers will establish ongoing relationships with families through weekly visits offering tailored support based on their individual needs.

Advice and Advocacy - Permanent Exclusion | Hampshire County Council

Volunteers will provide advice for children who are permanently excluded from school, meeting with families to advise them of their rights and provide information about the exclusion process. The meetings will be held either in the family home or local office. The volunteer will complete a questionnaire with the family and enquire as to whether the family feels they will need additional support. Depending on the needs of the family, this may be provided by the volunteer, or through the Support4SEND team.

If you are interested in volunteering, please complete an ‘expression of interest’ form outlining what experience you would like to gain and send to Ragan at the Innovation Team. She will review the application and send your details to the appropriate Volunteer Coordinator who will contact you directly to discuss any training needs and how you can support a young person in Hampshire.

Please click here for the expression of interest form.

Website: Volunteering opportunities - Hampshire County Council

Contact: Ragan Beale, Children’s Services Innovation Volunteers Administrative Officer

Email: [email protected]

Tel: 0370 779 8934


Step by Step’s Supported Lodgings service helps young people, aged 16-21, into independent living by offering lodgings in a fully assessed, safe and caring home environment. Supported Lodgings prevents homelessness in Hampshire, Berkshire, West Sussex, Wiltshire, Surrey and Dorset.

Those interested in fostering, who may not be ready to start the process, may apply to become hosts to gain experience in a similar setting whilst still allowing some flexibility for their current lifestyle. Some hosts choose to remain in the role for up to two years prior to commencing the fostering journey. Many hosts report gaining excellent experience and are often then equipped to take on young people with higher needs. It is possible to remain as a host until the foster panel and then make the smooth transition to foster care.


Email: [email protected]

Contact: Sarah Muckart – South-East Supported Lodgings Manager


Passenger assistants play a key role in enabling children with Special Educational Needs to attend school. They are responsible for supervising the students and ensuring they are happy and safe on the transport.

Website: Passenger assistants - Hampshire County Council

Email: [email protected]

Contact: 01962 845327


Hampshire County Council Governor Services are looking for volunteers in the Hampshire community. Governors are strategic leaders within school and have a vital role to play in making sure every child gets the best possible education. Governors can become involved in a range of school matters, which can include recruitment, finance and curriculum. They also provide a strong link between the school and the local community, and an independent view to support the school on long term development and improvement.

Website: What governors do - Hampshire County Council


Volunteer North Hampshire is a dedicated website advertising volunteering opportunities across North Hampshire, which covers Basingstoke and Deane, Hart and Rushmoor districts. You can search and apply for roles that suit what you are looking for.

Volunteering roles are promoted on their Facebook pages on a Tuesday and within the monthly Volunteer Matters newsletter (to sign up to receive the monthly Volunteering Matters newsletter to get regular information on volunteering opportunities please click here).

Interested parties are also welcome to attend a Volunteer Drop-In Centre at The Orchard and chat to an Advisor on alternate Tuesdays, between 10am – 1pm.


Contact: Louise at Basingstoke Voluntary Action

Email: [email protected]

Address: The Orchard, White Hart Lane, Basingstoke, RG21 4AF

Tel: 01256 423816


Interested parties are asked to register on ‘Go’ – an online membership system - requesting the geographical area they would like to volunteer: How to use GO. Prospective volunteers will be routed through to the Girl Guide leader for their relevant geographical area.

Please note, Girl Guides are aged 10 – 14 years old. They respectfully request that those registering interest are females only.

Website: Girlguiding volunteering


Scouting exists to actively engage and support young people in their personal development, empowering them to make a positive contribution to society.

Section Ages Activity More Info
Squirrel 4 – 6 Learn, get outdoors Squirrel Scouts
Beaver 6 – 8 Try new things, make friends Beaver Scouts
Cub 8 – 10 ½ Master new skills, have adventures Cub Scouts
Scout 10 ½ – 14 Explore the world, challenge yourself Scouts
Explorer 14 - 18 Take the lead, embrace change Explorer Scouts

All volunteers would undertake training in GDPR, Safety and Safeguarding with additional optional learning packages available. Depending on the role, further training may be required, but all volunteers are advised and supported through the process.

Days and times will vary across Hampshire.

Interested parties are directed to email the Hampshire Scouts team and advise what area they live in / where they would like to volunteer, and the age range they are interested in supporting. The team will find a suitable placement and support the volunteer through the initial meeting and make sure they are settled into the volunteering role.


Contact: Kelly Taylor – County Growth & Development Coordinator

Email: [email protected]

Address: Hampshire Scouts, Ferny Crofts, Beaulieu Road, Beaulieu, Hampshire, SO42 7YQ

Tel: 02380 847847


No Limits is an award-winning, local, independent charity providing a unique combination of prevention, early intervention and crisis support to young people, based on a nationally evidenced model. No Limits support, advise and educate young people, helping them to gain the skills and knowledge needed to manage their lives, grow in confidence and build brighter futures.

No Limits offer volunteering roles and some paid opportunities (flexible, bank work) – and are primarily based in Southampton city.

Take a look at the current volunteering and paid vacancies: Our Vacancies (Paid, Volunteering, Internships & Placements)

Interested parties are asked to complete the application at the bottom of the vacancy advert, or email: [email protected]

Website: Volunteering Vacancies - No Limits (

Email: [email protected] or [email protected]

Address: Advice Centre, 13 High Street, Southampton, SO14 2DF / Head Office, 35 The Avenue, Southampton, SO17 1XN

Tel: 02380 224224


Youth Options are committed to supporting young people to develop their social and emotional skills, engage with learning and to stay safe. The services are individually tailored to deliver vibrant, dynamic and ever-evolving opportunities that connect with and inspire young people.

Youth Options run a pre-school in Andover and Eastleigh which care for children aged 2 – 4 years, and two after-school clubs in Andover that care for children aged 4 – 11 years old.

Youth Options also deliver a number of projects working with young people across Hampshire through youth centres and street-based youth work.

If you are interested in volunteering for Youth Options, please visit their website and complete their online form.


Email: [email protected] or [email protected]

Contact: Clare Wightman – Head of Early Years & Childcare

Address: The Scott Centre, Mead Hedges, Andover, SP10 2LB

Tel: 01264 332188


If you're energetic and outgoing, can engage with young children and encourage their development, you'll love volunteering for Rugbytots! They have developed a 'fun first' programme to promote core rugby principles while meeting important pre-school learning objectives.

The Directors for the Rugbytots franchises are happy to support prospective foster carers gain childcare experience at one of their clubs. Each volunteer would be required to obtain an Enhanced DBS at their own expense. First Aid training is beneficial to this role.

Classes take place on a Saturday and/or Sunday for approximately 3 hours and are term-time only.

Contact: Mark Simmons
Director for Farnham / Hindhead / East Hampshire down to Horndean

Email: [email protected]

Contact: Jon Ingarfield
Director for Chichester / Bognor / Havant / Portsmouth area

Email: [email protected]

Website: Rugbytots

Eastleigh Rugby Club

Their mission is, through the sport of rugby, to make a material difference in the lives of young people who are suffering or have suffered adverse childhood experiences, poverty or mental health issues.

Star Scheme delivers training to the community for boys and girls – from aged 4 through to adulthood.

They are looking for volunteers to coach and support the young people throughout the year at bespoke events, holiday activities and during the rugby season.


Email: [email protected]

Contact: Neil Cornmell

Address: The Hub, Bishopstoke Road, Eastleigh, SO50 6LA

Tel: 02380 641312

Friends of the Family

Friends of the Family are a local charity offering parents and children, in Winchester and its surrounding villages, a range of support services and friendly guidance to overcome the challenges they face and turn their lives around.

You could volunteer as a play worker to help support their twice-weekly mums and young children group: welcoming mums, preparing refreshments, and playing with the children. This gives you the chance to improve a young child’s confidence; and help local mums and their families to build a more positive future. You will gain hands-on experience in supporting children to initiate and direct their own play to explore their own experiences and further development.

Or why not use your skills and life experiences to change a child’s life for the better as a volunteer befriender? By giving regular, undivided attention, a volunteer befriender can help build a struggling child’s self-esteem and improve troubled family relationships. You would develop a trusting friendship with a child aged between 5 and 13 years, providing sustained emotional and practical support in tackling challenges they and their family are facing. Our befrienders spend two hours a week with a focus child engaged in positive activities in and outside of the child’s home.

If you are interested in volunteering for Friends of the Family, please visit their website and complete their online form or phone to register your interest.


Email: [email protected]

Address: Friends of the Family, 16 Colebrook Street SO23 9LH

Tel: 01962 864466