It’s Volunteers Week, a week in which the UK says thank you to volunteers for the incredible contribution that they make to our society. It’s also a time to question why we aren’t all volunteering in some way or another! With benefits extending from the inside-out, we all have something to gain from offering our services to others.
The personal benefits of becoming a volunteer
Reduces stress. It’s no secret that volunteering does wonders for our mental health… or is it? Surely if we were all aware of the glow-from-the-inside-out you get from volunteering your time for a good cause, we’d all be doing it! Studies show that making meaningful connections with beneficiaries – whether they are children, elderly people, or pets, – helps to improve mood and increase feelings of satisfaction.
A productive use of your time. Worrying about whether or not you’re reaching your full productive potential as an individual can be mentally draining. Balancing your time with work that is completely outside of your own personal projects can be a great way to get some headspace. This can help to improve productivity and boost energy levels as your mind becomes less stressed about one thing and more balanced.
Enhanced feeling of unity and togetherness. Volunteering brings together groups of like-hearted and like-minded individuals. For many people in the UK the group they volunteer with is the only consistent group of people they meet with. Human warmth is a valuable and priceless commodity.
Great for your CV of life. When you look back at your life, how do you want it to have looked? What do you want to have taken part in? How do you want to have impacted the world and those around you? Every person has the potential to make positive change. As well as this, participating in regular voluntary work has shown to increase life expectancy, at least for those who do it for truly altruistic reasons.
Volunteers are the backbone of the sector
We think the altruistic reasons are pretty self explanatory, but in case you need a reminder… Volunteering is what keeps the engine running for chartable and non-profit organisations across the country. Without the good will of the people, who want to do something bigger than themselves, this country would be in a much sadder state. Good old elbow grease is the vital counterpart to the funding that charities also rely on.
Choose a cause that’s close to your heart and choose to make a difference. No matter how small the difference may feel, positive actions have a ripple affect; positive changes start to take effect within you as well as around you.
What kind of roles are available?
Voluntary roles vary greatly from one charity to the next. While one charity will need volunteers to work everyday on the shop floor, other charities may only require a once a week commitment in the form of visiting beneficiaries. Often, one charity alone will require a number of alternate roles.
The best way to find a fit for you is to decide upon the cause you’d like to work within, search for charities working within that cause and in your local area (you can use our search engine for this), and then contact the charities directly to ask what is available.
In terms of how to get involved during COVID-19, there are plenty of charities in need of skills-based support right now. We’ve complied a list of UK charities that are seeking help in the forms of both remote and in-person volunteering roles. See the full list here. If you can’t find what you’re looking for here, use our search engine to search for charity type, cause, and area. Find a charity that resonates with you and contact them directly to see how you could help.