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Volunteering covers a huge range of areas and can fulfill all sorts of functions from changing direction in your work, combating loneliness or helping get back to work to giving something back.
Volunteering comes in many forms and serves many purposes. It can help boost confidence if you have been out of the workplace for a while, perhaps due to sickness or caring responsibilities; it can give you an opportunity to give back and make a difference; it can help you learn new skills and give you an insight into a new sector or type of job; it can open up new horizons, including travel abroad; and it can combat loneliness and help you re-engage with your local community. There are no doubt many other purposes.
The range of voluntary opportunities is huge these days and it’s never been easier to find something that fits your skills, passions and experience. There are websites such as www.do-it.org.uk where you only have to enter your postcode to find volunteering opportunities near you or you can search for opportunities in a particular organisation. Gone are the days when volunteering just meant helping out at the local charity shop.
You can do everything from running a charity event to working in an animal charity, being a bereavement counsellor or being a mentor or a trustee. Some volunteering jobs provide training so check out what the requirements are and that you can meet them. If, for example, you are volunteering alongside other work, consider the time you can devote on a regular basis. It is always good to be clear from the offset what you can offer.
If you’ve been out of the workforce for whatever reason – be it due to caring responsibilities or redundancy or any other reason – volunteering can help rebuild your confidence and give you something to put down on your cv as well as widening your network of contacts. if you are putting it down on your CV, remember to try to link anything that you have achieved to the competency skills required for any post you’re going for. It’s a great way to refresh your skills and stay in touch with the jobs-market.
Volunteering is something that is relevant at any part of the lifecycle and can open up new avenues to explore and new friendships.
More useful sites if you are considering volunteering include: