Your privacy is important to us. We also think it’s important you know how and why we collect, store, and use your personal information. Our privacy policy explains this, tells you what your rights are, and how to contact us. So please read it carefully.

Changes to this privacy policy

We may update this privacy policy from time to time. This could be because we change how we use your information, or if there are changes to the law. Please check back frequently; you will be able to see if changes have been made by the date it was last updated. We may contact you in other ways about the processing of your personal information, like email.

Who are we?

We’re the Woodland Trust and we care about the UK’s woods and trees. This policy talks about us as the Woodland Trust, 'we' or 'us'. We’re a registered charity in England and Wales (No. 294344) and in Scotland (No. SC038885). We’re a non-profit making company limited by guarantee. We are registered in England (No. 1982873) at Kempton Way, Grantham, Lincolnshire, NG31 6LL.

This policy also includes Woodland Trust (Enterprises) Limited (registered in England No. 2296645). This is a company we own. We use it to raise money to help us do our charity work.

The personal information we collect and use

We have a wide range of volunteering roles and some roles require us to collect more personal information than others. By law, we can only collect personal information if we have a genuine reason to do so. This is called the 'lawful basis for processing'.

Please see below what information we collect and why.

Information we collect

Names, addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses
Lawful basis for processing – to contact you to discuss volunteering opportunities, to progress your application, or to keep you updated on our services or activities and events; to record your location in order to assess your suitability for volunteer projects in your region, and to monitor the location demographics of our volunteer base.

Date of birth
Lawful basis for processing – to ensure (where you are under the age of 18 years) that any volunteering opportunity is suitable for your age and that you are supported by your parent or guardian, and to monitor the age demographics of our volunteer base.

Your curriculum vitae or other experience profiles you have provided in letters or application forms, your answers to the questions that have been asked during an interview, the results of any assessments undertaken by you and evidence of training and qualifications that are relevant to the volunteering role (such as chainsaw operation certificates)
Lawful basis for processing – to build a picture of your skills, experience and interests in order to assess your suitability for volunteering opportunities generally or specific volunteering projects.

References and copies of right to work documentation
Lawful basis for processing – to assess your suitability for volunteering opportunities generally or specific volunteering projects, and to enable us to comply with our legal obligations.

Banking details
Lawful basis for processing – to enable us to pay any expense reimbursement.

Information on disabilities, special requirements, health or medical conditions (including any information provided by you during the course of any risk assessment)
Lawful basis for processing – to enable us to assess your suitability for working on specific volunteering projects and to understand what extra support or reasonable adjustments might be necessary for you to attend any interview or assessment test and, if appointed, undertake the volunteering role successfully; to carry out our legal duties (e.g. to ensure health and safety).

Information related to criminal record checks (including obtaining Disclosure and Barring Service – DBS – checks)
Lawful basis for processing – to comply with our legal responsibilities for safeguarding children and vulnerable adults.

Emergency contact details
Lawful basis for processing – to enable us to support you by contacting your family or friend in the event of any accident or sickness.

Communication preferences and marketing opt-ins
Lawful basis for processing – to enable us to contact volunteers with information about the difference we are making together and other opportunities for them to get involved.

The details of your volunteering arrangements with us, including start date
Lawful basis for processing – to enable us to monitor and review the volunteering arrangements in place between us and maintain accurate and up-to-date volunteer records.

Information provided by you during any role review, volunteer experience survey, and our own supervision and support notes based on your activity
Lawful basis for processing – to enable us to review and support you within your role, log your feedback and experiences, safeguarding checks or issues arising, and training and development needs.

Information related to project monitoring such as hours spent on a project
Lawful basis for processing – to review and assess your performance; to use such information for project statistical analysis and reporting.

Information related to availability and the reasons for periods of unavailability
Lawful basis for processing – to assess your suitability for volunteering with us, and for being utilised on specific projects.

Surveillance camera images that relate to you
Lawful basis for processing – some of our locations have surveillance cameras installed (e.g. closed circuit televisions). Surveillance cameras are used to provide security and protect our members, visitors and the Woodland Trust.

Equal opportunities monitoring information, including details of your ethnic origin, sexual orientation, health and religion or belief. We will only collect this sensitive information with your explicit consent, which can be withdrawn at any time.
Lawful basis for processing – to enable us to monitor, maintain and promote equality amongst our volunteer community.

How we use your personal information (processing) and our lawful basis for doing so

We will only use your personal information for the purposes for which we collected it. If we need to use your information for an unrelated purpose, we will contact you and we explain the legal basis which allows us to do so.

We need all the categories of information in the list above primarily to allow us to make use of the volunteer engagement you have afforded us and to enable us to comply with our legal obligations.

We will only use your personal information when the law allows us to. This is the lawful basis on which we use it. Specifically, we will use your personal information in the following circumstances:

  • where you have provided your consent to us processing your personal information, we shall process in accordance with the terms of that consent and shall advise you of your rights to withdraw your consent at any time.
  • where we need to comply with a legal obligation (for example, where we are required to comply with health and safety laws and, for certain volunteer roles, it is necessary to carry out criminal records checks, to ensure that individuals are permitted to undertake the role in question).
  • where it is necessary for our legitimate interests – or those of a third party – and your interests and fundamental rights do not override those interests (explained in more detail below).
  • where it is necessary to protect your vital interests (or someone else's interests), for example in the case of a health care emergency.

Some of the above grounds for processing will overlap and there may be several reasons which justify our use of your personal information.

We process health information only with your explicit consent so that we can make reasonable adjustments to the volunteer recruitment process for the candidates who have a disability. This is to carry out our legal obligations.

For some volunteer roles the Woodland Trust is obliged to seek information about criminal convictions and offences. This is necessary to fulfil our legal obligations.

Please note that we may process your personal information without your knowledge or consent where this is required or permitted by law.

The Woodland Trust’s legitimate interests

We have a legitimate interest in processing personal information before, during and after the end of the volunteering relationship on the basis that processing volunteer information allows the Woodland Trust to advance its aims and objectives using the valued help provided by our volunteers. Our legitimate interests include:

  • running and completing the volunteer recruitment and selection processes.
  • supporting your ongoing volunteering relationship with us.
  • carrying out research and surveys about our services and your volunteering experience.
  • sending you information about your volunteering with us, for example the volunteer newsletter and volunteer events.
  • maintaining accurate and up-to-date records and contact details (including details of who to contact in the event of an emergency).
  • ensuring effective general business administration.
  • protecting our security, guarding against fraud and other wrongdoing.

When processing your personal information based on a legitimate interest, we will ensure it is exercised proportionately and is balanced against the privacy rights and other legal rights you have as an individual.

Special categories of personal information

Information such as racial or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, trade union membership, genetic or biometric data and medical information including health and sickness records, requires higher levels of protection. We need to have further justification for collecting, storing and using this type of personal information.

We will use your particularly sensitive personal information in the following ways:

  • so that we may comply with our legal obligations, we will use information about your physical or mental health, or disability status, to ensure your health and safety and to assess your fitness to volunteer.
  • where it is needed in the public interest. For example we will use information about your race or national or ethnic origin, religious, philosophical or moral beliefs, or your sexual life or sexual orientation, to ensure meaningful equal opportunity monitoring and reporting.

Less commonly, we may process this type of information where it is needed in relation to legal claims or where it is needed to protect your vital interests (or someone else's interests) and you are not capable of giving your consent (e.g. in the case of a health care emergency), or where you have already made the information public.

Information about criminal convictions

We will only use information relating to criminal convictions where the law allows us to do so. This will usually be where such processing is necessary to carry out our legal obligations (e.g. in relation to safeguarding) and provided that we do so in line with our Data Protection (GDPR) Policy.

Where appropriate, we will collect information about criminal convictions as part of the volunteer recruitment process, DBS checks or where we are notified of such information directly by you in the course of your volunteering for us.

How we share your personal information

Your information may be shared internally, including with your line manager and staff members responsible for managing and administering projects, human resources, health and safety, insurances, events and marketing activities.

As part of the volunteer recruitment process we may need to share your personal information with third parties in order to conduct any necessary background checks, such as contacting employers/referees to obtain a reference and/or the Disclosure and Barring Service to conduct criminal record checks. As part of the volunteer recruitment process, we will make clear to you which checks will be required and at what stage of the process.

We will on occasion share your email address with other Woodland Trust volunteers, for instance in the process of organising an event you have chosen to attend.

We will not share your special category personal information unless you provide your explicit consent.

We’ll never sell or rent your information to anyone else. But we may need to share your personal information when the law instructs us to, or for the following reasons:

  • if you’ve agreed that we can.
  • when we use other companies to provide services. This could be for handling credit/debit card payments, posting or delivering orders, answering questions about products or services and sending post and emails.
  • when services are provided by another company owned by the Woodland Trust.
  • if you come to an event we’re running with another organisation we may need to share your details with them. We’ll be very clear what will happen to your information when you register for the event.

All the personal information we collect is handled by our staff in the UK. Sometimes our Information Technology services might place your personal information outside of the European Economic Area. When this happens we’ll make sure it’s done in line with guidance from the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Where we collect your personal information from

We collect your personal information in a variety of ways. For example, you may have filled in a volunteer application form, or submitted a CV or letter of application, or we may have collected it through interviews or other forms of assessment, like online tests. Also, you may have provided your passport details or other identification documents.

The Woodland Trust may also collect personal information about you from third parties, such as references supplied by employers or other referees, information from employment background check providers and information from criminal records checks. We will seek information from third parties only once a volunteer placement offer to you has been made and we will inform you that we are doing so.

We collect additional personal information in the course of volunteering activities throughout the period during which you work for us as a volunteer.

How we'll communicate with you

Administrative communications

By agreeing to volunteer with the Woodland Trust you are agreeing to us sending you emails about volunteering and your volunteer role. We will communicate with you as required to initially process your volunteer application and then, as an active volunteer, to provide you with the support and information you need to undertake your volunteer role. You will receive administrative communications from our volunteering team which relate to your volunteering role, such as a welcome email, volunteer survey and thank you communications.

If your volunteer role is a public facing role which involves talking about the Woodland Trust we will provide you with information about our work, case studies and other ways that people can support us. We will do this as we have a legitimate interest in supporting your volunteering role.

Marketing and promotional communications

On occasions, with your consent, we will process your personal information to provide you with information about our work or our activities that you have requested or are expecting.

The Woodland Trust also processes your personal information when it is in our legitimate interests to do so and when these interests do not override your rights. Those legitimate interests include providing you with information on our appeals, conservation, campaigning, membership, services, products, fundraising, newsletter requests, feedback, competitions and other activities and those of other carefully selected organisations.

Whether information has to be provided and, if so, why

Your personal information must be provided in order for us to provide you with a safe and rewarding experience volunteering with the Woodland Trust, or, in some circumstances, to comply with our legal obligations – such as to ensure the health and safety of our volunteers and employees.

Because it is important to us that your volunteering role is appropriate, safe and rewarding, without your personal information we may not be able to offer you the opportunity to volunteer with the Woodland Trust. Where you decide not to provide us with requested information, we will inform you about the implications of the decision and whether we are able to continue with the volunteering arrangement.

You are under no obligation to provide information for equal opportunities monitoring purposes and there are no consequences for your application if you choose not to provide such information.

How long your personal information is kept

We will hold your personal information – collected during the course of your application and services as a volunteer with the Woodland Trust – for the duration of your volunteering activities with us.

Your information will normally be deleted or destroyed within three years after the end of your volunteering relationship with us, or seven years in the case of financial records, unless we have a good reason to keep your information for a longer period. This is based on any legal, regulatory or business reasons we may have to retain your information.

Your duty to inform us of changes

It is important that the personal information we hold about you is accurate and current. Please keep us informed if your personal information changes during your volunteer engagement.

Your rights

Below is a list of your rights. If you’d like to talk about them, or how we use your information, please contact us.

  • you can ask us for a copy of your personal information and how we use it.
  • you can ask us to correct your personal information if we’ve got it wrong.
  • you can ask us to stop using your personal information.
  • you can ask us to change or limit how we use your personal information.
  • you can ask us to delete your personal information.
  • you can ask us to transfer your personal information to another person.

Find out more about your rights under data protection law on the Information Commissioner's Office website.

You can ask for a copy of your personal info by sending us a 'subject access request'. Email us at

For all other personal information requests, please contact us at

We try to respond to all valid requests within one month. It might take us a bit longer if complicated or if you’ve made more than one request. We’ll always let you know if it will take longer than a month.

Sometimes we might not be able to help. For example, if the law tells us we can’t or if some information is confidential.

How do we keep your personal information safe?

Keeping your information secure is important to us and we have systems to stop personal data being lost or used in the wrong way. We’ll only give your information to people who need to use it, for example employees of the Woodland Trust. Anyone using your information must follow our rules and look after it carefully.

If we think someone has accessed your information without permission, we’ll tell you when the law requires us to.

What can you do if you’ve got a complaint?

If you’re unhappy about how we’ve used your personal information you can talk to our data protection officer.

If you’re unhappy with our response, or you think we’re not handling your personal information in accordance with the law, you can make a complaint on the Information Commissioner’s Office website. But please talk to us first before you contact them and we’ll try our best to help.

How to contact us

Our data protection officer can be contacted by writing to:

Data protection officer
Woodland Trust
Kempton Way
NG31 6LL

Or by emailing us at:

If you wish to talk to us about anything in this privacy policy or the information we hold about you please contact our national volunteering team:

This page was last updated: January 2019