From walking rescue dogs to greeting Gareth Bale, there’s lots of different ways to volunteer. Here’s why you should give volunteering a go!
What is volunteering? What do volunteers do? How do people make the time? What’s in it for me? What have I got to offer?
These are some of the things that may have crossed your mind when thinking about volunteering. I hope that this article answers these questions for you. I hope it gets you excited about the prospect of volunteering.
Volunteering could be the start of something truly wonderful for you.
Volunteering is when you give up a little time to help people outside of your family, or complete a task without payment. Volunteers perform important roles in society, doing things that are needed and appreciated greatly. Yet you may think that volunteering isn’t worthwhile if you don’t get paid, but the benefits far exceed the value of money.
What do volunteers do?
It is more a case of what volunteers don’t do! A lot of people assume that volunteering means to sort out bags of discarded items in charity shops. While this is a worthwhile voluntary activity that may interest you, there is a huge variety of other voluntary opportunities out there. Here are just a few fun examples that I have come across recently:
- Dog walking for an animal shelter, or for someone who has become unwell
- Meet and greet the stars playing in the Champions League final in Cardiff
- Story telling or reading in community settings including care homes, hospitals and libraries
- Memory Walk Volunteers for Alzheimer’s Society
- Citizens Advice Witness Service – they support witnesses inside and outside of court
- Volunteering to transport organs from donor to recipient by land or air travel
- Refreshments Volunteer for Ironman Wales to ensure athletes are hydrated
- Befriending a young person in foster care, or someone experiencing loneliness
- St John’s Ambulance; Mountain Rescue; RNLI Lifeboats; Police, Ambulance and Fire Services
- If you would like to offer your voluntary services abroad and see the world, check out BUNAC and VSO
What is in it for me?
Ask yourself what you want to gain from volunteering. Do you want to learn how to plan an event, run an office, or support the vulnerable? Have you always wanted to develop relationships with your local community? Interested in crocheting teddies for children in hospitals?
Each volunteering role will offer you a unique opportunity to develop new skills, meet new people, increase your confidence and have some fun. Some opportunities will include being provided with a kit or uniform. Other opportunities will provide you with refreshments and pay for your travel. Some opportunities will provide you with formal qualifications.
The positive difference you can make to someone else by volunteering is tremendous. The feel good factor is a huge motivator for volunteers performing a wide range of roles all around the world. Another benefit of volunteering is that it can sometimes lead to paid employment in an area you are interested in. See NCVO’s videos for real life inspiration and further details about the benefits of volunteering.
What have you got to offer as a volunteer?
Energy, time and commitment for a start! Throughout your life you will have developed a useful range of skills, personality traits and experiences that would make you a great volunteer. If you are unsure what you could offer, ask friends, colleagues and family members. You’ll be amazed how fabulous you are!
I know life is busy. Yet volunteering doesn’t have to stretch you to breaking point. You could volunteer at a one-off event. Or you could commit to 1, 3, or 5 hours a week. If you fancy dipping your toe in the pool of volunteering, there is something you could do to make a real difference. I guarantee you will also benefit from the experience. More than you can imagine!
Find an opportunity near you
volunteering-wales.net – perform an advanced search to identify an opportunity for you.
wcva.org.uk – each county in Wales has an information and advice hub called a County Voluntary Council or a CVC. Select the county you are interested in finding voluntary opportunities.
do-it.org – a searchable database of voluntary vacancies around the UK.
If there are any other problems your family is having, then call our advisors on the FamilyPoint Cymru helpline. The helpline is open 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday. They can help you to find organisations that can help.