We are finally through that first dreaded month of the year that feels like it will never end. January is gone and now we can all start to look forward to new adventures and new experiences this year.
But what will you do? What will you try that is new?
There are many amazing new things you can try this year from; taking up a new sport to finding a new hobby. But have you ever thought of taking part in volunteering?
If you have, read on. If you haven’t… also read on, we may just convince you why it is a great way to spend your free time in 2023.
What is volunteering?
The simplest definition is; volunteering is when you giving some of your time unpaid to benefit others. As a volunteer with any charity, there are numerous things you could get involved in that include:
- Raising funds
- Befriending those in need
- Giving advice
- Carrying out research
- Outreach programmes
- Running group sessions
- Admin support
The list can go on and on and on but the point is that as a volunteer, you can use the skills you already have to benefit someone else’s life.
Who takes part in volunteering?
According to research carried out by NCVO, people aged 65-74 are the most likely to volunteer, men are less likely to volunteer than women are, people aged 25-34 were the least likely to volunteer and those who live in the most deprived areas of the country are half as likely to volunteer as those living in the most affluent areas.
These figures have been subject to some debate and don’t necessarily take into consideration the number of people who take part in informal or unorganised volunteering. For example, people who give up their time to help friends and family.
Who can I volunteer for?
Now this is completely up to you and is dependent on who or what cause you would like to help out with.
As volunteering is one of the most important and useful aspect of charities, nearly every charity on earth will be looking for volunteers.
You can volunteer with a children’s charity, environmental charities, animal charities and homeless charities. You can help each of these charities in a huge array of ways; you can volunteer at a charity head office, you can volunteer as a campaigner, you can get hands on and support a local cause by volunteering to be a sport coach or as a helper at an event.
There is something for everyone when it comes to volunteering, you just have to find a volunteering opportunity right for you.
How do I find volunteering opportunities?
There are plenty of easy ways to find volunteering opportunities.
Think of who you would like to volunteer for or a cause that you would like to work towards helping and do a simple internet search. For example, if you searched children’s charities in the UK, you would find plenty of charities that would love your support. It is then down to you on who you support.
You can search by area to find a local charity that may be able to accommodate volunteers. For example, if you lived in Bournemouth, Dorset; you could search volunteering in Bournemouth or Poole. You would then be given a good list of places that could offer you volunteering opportunities.
You can also choose your favourite charity and give them a call; they would be happy to speak to anyone who is looking to volunteer their time.
What’s in it for me?
Everyone knows that doing something for someone else is a great thing to do for them. You are helping them when they are most in need.
But you may be thinking, what is in it for me? And no, that isn’t a selfish question. You are giving up your free time so naturally you would like something or to feel something in return.
There are so many benefits of volunteering for yourself that include:
Making new friends – so many different kinds of people volunteer around the UK, you never know who you will meet.
Improving your confidence – If you have had a set-back and are struggling to find your way, volunteering can give you the opportunity to find yourself again in your own time.
Learning new skills – whether you volunteer in a field you are familiar with or are trying something new, volunteering can give you the change to hone in your skills or learn something totally new which you can take and use in other aspects of your life.
Maintaining or improving your mental and physical wellbeing – A lot of people work in an office, sat in front of a desk most of the time. If you volunteer, you have the opportunity to improve your physical health if you choose and active volunteering position or you can improve your mental health by knowing you are doing something worthwhile and helpful.
So, apart from the fact they you are helping people in your spare time, there are so many reasons why you should volunteer in your spare time.
Does volunteering actually make a difference?
You may not be surprised to hear this from a charity but YES! YES! YES IT DOES!
Volunteering for a charity is up there with the one of the top things you can do to help them. Whether you a volunteering in a charity shop in London or are playing football with a group of disadvantaged young people in Lanarkshire – you can be sure that you contribution is making a difference in someone’s life.
Volunteers are the backbone of a charity and without them there would be such a huge gap in the work that is done in a charity and the work that could be done. Without them there would be thousands of hours of missed opportunities to help people around the UK, work that is truly needed.
You may not be able to see it first hand, but the volunteering work you do, for whomever you are volunteering for, will make a lasting difference.