Benefits of volunteering

If you’re considering doing some volunteering, our advice is to go for  it. There are many great reasons to become a volunteer, and it’s one of those rare areas where everybody gains. If you want to get real satisfaction, boost your confidence and make a difference in your community, read on…

volunteer holds box with food bank items inside

 

Why volunteer?

There are many benefits of volunteering and, these days, so many opportunities to get involved. If you have the time, volunteering is a truly rewarding choice.

Let’s look at some of the reasons to volunteer in your community.

Volunteering makes a difference

Perhaps the most important reason to volunteer is that it’s essential for many important community initiative and programmes. There will certainly be at least one opportunity that appeals to your interests, whether it’s in supporting the elderly, working in nature and preservation, looking after animals in need or helping people with disabilities or mental illness.

Volunteers enrich the lives of the people around them and make a real social difference.

Volunteering boosts happiness and wellbeing

Not only does volunteering make the recipients of your work happier, it’s proven to make a big difference to the happiness of the volunteers themselves.

Researchers have identified something called ‘helper’s high’, and studies suggest that 95% of volunteers feel better or healthier after their activity. Volunteering is even listed on the NHS website as a way to improve your mental wellbeing.

It’s easy to see why. Most volunteering work gives you instant feedback as to the value of your support. It might be clearing litter from a park, taking a rescue dog for a walk or visiting someone in hospital – at the end of your work you’ll see what a difference it’s made.

Volunteering makes you more employable

Regular volunteering requires a lot of desirable work skills and qualities. These might include reliability, relationship building, customer handling, admin, budgeting and organisation. Skills you’ve learned as a volunteer are just as valuable to an employer as experience gained in a paid role.

Plus, if you’re looking to move into a new field of work, volunteering in that sector will show your passion and commitment and give you important experience. For more on this, read this article: volunteer your way to a new job.

Volunteering keeps you active

We all know that staying active is vital for our mental and physical health. Volunteering is a highly motivating way to make sure that we get out regularly, interact with other people and generally move more than we would at home.

So if you feel you need to take steps to become active, explore local volunteering opportunities.

Volunteering is great for socialising

Almost 45 per cent of people in the UK say that they feel lonely, and as we get older many of us see less of our friends and family.  There are many social benefits of volunteering, enabling us to get together with like-minded people and see them on a regular basis. Many people find that volunteering helps them make new friends and expand their social circle.

Volunteering boosts health

Lots of studies have concluded that there are real health benefits to volunteering. It is thought to reduce rates of depression, stimulate healthy brain function, reduce stress and generally help us live longer.

A study in the US found that people who volunteered more than 100 hours per year were the healthiest people in the population, thanks to the sense of purpose that they gain from their volunteer work.

Hopefully these benefits will help persuade you to take the plunge and look for a volunteering opportunity. If you need a little more insight into the benefits of volunteering, read this article on what volunteering can mean to you.



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