Volunteering can have many benefits for the individual as well as making a positive impact on the community.
Volunteering can help build confidence and self esteem and help a person to feel motivated and fulfilled knowing that they are doing something purposeful and useful in society and making a real difference in the community. This can help individuals to learn to value themselves and have a sense of pride in their achievements.
Volunteering can be fun and can lead to new friendships/relationships and other activities and interests that you may share with other volunteers you meet.
Volunteers can help those with depression to move out of that depression into a more meaningful and purposeful life, it can be a reason for getting out of bed in the morning, meeting new people rather than staying in isolation at home, building routine and structure into an individual’s life
Volunteering enables a person to learn new skills, gain vital experience which can be invaluable for anyone and can particularly help when a person is unemployed. Volunteering can be added to a C.V. and also can be a topic of conversation when going for job interviews.
Some people who have had to have a break from employment due to physical or mental health issues, often find that offering their time as a volunteer is a good way of preparing to get back into the workplace. It is important however for anyone who wants to volunteer to be clear about the amount of time they want to give and not allow themselves to be pressurized in any way into taking on too much. It is better to start slowly giving a small amount of time and increase this as time goes on if you wish.
If at any time as a volunteer you feel you are not being respected by the people you are volunteering for, you need to take any concerns to the Manager/Head of Department or person responsible for the volunteer placement as soon as possible as the sooner you do so will be better for your self esteem and confidence.
The majority of people find volunteering an enjoyable and positive experience which helps the individual as well as others.
There are so many different opportunities for volunteering to suit everyone.
Helping in the outdoors, clearing up local country parks, many of which have Friends of the Park, clearing up hedgerows and waterways etc.
For those interested in music many Hospitals have Hospital Radio Stations which play music for the patients and staff, many of these radio stations welcome volunteers.
Hospitals often need volunteers to help run the Hospital Shop, or to visit patients who have no family or friends visiting and are alone.
Day centres which you may go to for activities/support, may also have volunteering opportunities.
Many charities have shops which could not survive without volunteers, and charities also welcome help with administration, I.T., and fundraising. Some, for example, those who look after the elderly need befrienders for elderly people in the community.
Some people need help with being driven to and from hospital appointments.
There are some useful resources listed below.
The Donkey Sanctuary
The Donkey Sanctuary based in Sidmouth has many sanctuaries across the UK. They are always on the lookout for volunteers and have a number of exciting opportunities listed on their site.
Do-it.org makes it easy for anyone to volunteer in their community. With their UK wide database of over 50,000 opportunities to volunteer you will find a cause or activity that matters to you.
www.vinspired.com – connects 16-25 year olds with volunteering opportunities.
www.timebank.org.uk - helps you find things to do close to where you live or work.
www.reachskills.org.uk/for-volunteers - Reach helps skilled volunteers use their experience to contribute to the voluntary sector allowing them to take on new challenges and make a difference to their community. Contact Reach if you have three or more years experience in management, IT, marketing, accountancy, project management, HR, finance, business or many other areas.
www.redcross.org.uk/Get-involved/Volunteer - volunteers save and change lives, raise vital funds and run their shops.
Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland
Rotary unites problem solvers in Great Britain and Ireland and across the world, transforming our communities one project at a time. Through membership of your local Rotary Club, you can turn your ideas and passion for change into action.
www.sja.org.uk/sja/volunteer.aspx - St. Johns Ambulance needs volunteers to help reduce unnecessary deaths. First aid volunteers area familiar sights at community events, and also vacancies on community programmes and for support roles in areas such as fundraising, PR, volunteer support and logistics. Youth leaders needed to lead programmes for young people.
www.nationaltrust.org.uk/volunteer - volunteer with Europe’s most successful conservation movement. Learn new skills, meet new people, work right at the heart of amazing buildings, gardens and landscapes.
www.vso.org.uk/volunteer - Volunteer overseas with VSO, You’ll make a real difference, not only to your life, but to the lives of some of the world’s poorest people.
www.environmentjob.co.uk/volunteering - volunteering in the environmental sector.
www.rspca.org.uk/getinvolved/volunteer - volunteering for the RSPCA is one enjoyable way of helping animal welfare and can be very rewarding.
www.rspb.org.uk/volunteering - volunteers with diverse skills, from conservationists, bird identifiers and ditch diggers to graphic designers, media gurus and nature lovers.
SUPPORTLINE is in need of its own fundraising volunteers across the country who can raise much needed funds for the charity. If you can help please contact us for an information pack.
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