Young volunteers FAQs

Encouraging children to assist at events will spread the workload, teach new skills and inspire charitable awareness. But what should you bear in mind when getting children to help?

Do children need adult supervision when running stalls? Are they allowed to handle money?

While children under 16 may handle money, they must not have overall responsibility for funds or counting collected money, as detailed in the Code of Fundraising Practice. You should, therefore, ensure there are adults around who can check on them, remove excess cash and assist with any issues. Group any pupil-run stalls together so you can have a few volunteers watching over multiple stalls. If the stall doesn’t involve handling money (for example if you’re using a prize token scheme or running a free activity) then children do not need adult supervision. However, it’s still best practice to keep an eye on everything and be around in case there’s a problem.

What restrictions apply to school children volunteering?

While there’s no official published guidance on children volunteering at events, we can use the advice for child employment as a way to inform decisions. Rules are there to protect children, whether they’re working for money or volunteering, so they can still be pertinent to PTA events.

Children cannot work after 7pm, so if you do have an event that runs into the evening, get adults to cover stalls after this time. Children are restricted to working a maximum of two hours on school days, which is a sensible amount for volunteering too.

What are the limitations on what children can and can’t sell? What age restrictions should we be aware of?

You must keep to any relevant age limits set by law when organising fundraising activities. Limitations are based on any general laws or restrictions relating to the activity or item in question. For example, if the stall involves serving alcohol, you’d need to be over 18. Age-restricted items include DVDs, computer games, party poppers and crackers.

Are children permitted to sell raffle tickets?

Children can buy and sell tickets in an ‘incidental lottery’, where tickets are only sold on the day, at the event. Anyone under the age of 16 cannot sell tickets or participate in a ‘small society lottery’, where tickets are sold in advance. As selling raffle tickets typically involves the exchange of money, the same money-handling limits apply.

How long can children be on a stall for before they can take a break, and how long should that break be?

Children are not allowed to work for more than four hours without taking a break of at least one hour, which is again transferrable to volunteering. Remember that volunteering is meant to be a fun learning experience for the children, so ensure all your helpers are having a good time and able to take breaks when needed. Remember, the children should also have a chance to experience the event for themselves.

What hygiene requirements do we need to be aware of if children are selling food?

Whether a child or an adult is running a stall, the same hygiene rules apply. Anyone supplying food is legally responsible for ensuring that the food they provide is safe to consume, so it’s important that you follow the hygiene advice available online. Make sure children wash their hands and don’t touch food directly – by using tongs or gloves, for example. It’s best practice to have one person handling food and one handling money to avoid cross-contamination. Children may be less aware of hygiene than adults, so allocate food stalls to older children.

Further information

Additional guidance on fundraising involving children can be found on the Fundraising Regulator website:

The above is intended as guidance only. We recommend that you contact the relevant organisations with specific reference to insurance, legal, health and safety and child protection requirements. Community Inspired Ltd cannot be held responsible for any decisions or actions taken by a PTA, based on the guidance provided.