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Volunteering can be a fantastic way to give back to your community and do something meaningful with your free time. Studies have shown that volunteering can boost your mental and physical health and make you feel healthier and happier.
Volunteers Week is taking place between the 1st and the 6th of June. It is an annual event where the UK celebrates volunteers and gives thanks for the contribution that they make, meaning it’s the ideal time to get involved with charitable projects in your local area.
If you’re looking for inspiration, here are eight ways you can give back to your community.
1. Visit the elderly
Older people are extremely vulnerable to loneliness and social isolation. A recent survey found that 1.4 million elderly people in the UK often feel lonely. Loneliness can have a huge impact on an older person’s physical and mental health and contribute to a wide range of health conditions including heart disease and depression.
Volunteering to visit the elderly can provide a valuable source of social interaction and help tackle loneliness and isolation in the older population. According to Helping Hands Home Care: “Whether you’d like to pop and visit older people in their homes once a week for a chat, develop essential life skills in communication, or even start a whole new chapter of your life, there are opportunities in every sector.”
2. Volunteer at your local school
Schools look for volunteers to help with a wide range of activities such as listening to students read, supporting teachers in the classroom, or helping at school events. Volunteering in a school can teach you valuable skills, especially if you want to pursue a career in the education sector.
Get in touch with schools in your local area if you would like to find out what volunteering opportunities are available.
3. Serve food in a homeless shelter
Homeless shelters provide an essential source of warmth, food, and socialisation for many homeless people in the UK. Shelters are always looking for volunteers to help prepare and serve meals and helping in a homeless shelter can be extremely rewarding. Visit Crisis UK for more advice on how to become a volunteer in a homeless shelter.
4. Donate blood
Giving blood saves lives and every blood donation can save up to three lives according to the NHS Blood and Transplant. The NHS needs more than 6,000 donors to give blood at sessions across England to meet patient needs and more donors are needed urgently.
You can register to become a blood donor and book an appointment by visiting www.blood.co.uk or calling 0300 123 23 23.
5. Volunteer at an animal shelter
Animal shelters are constantly looking for volunteers and taking care of animals can be lots of fun! Being a volunteer at an animal shelter can also improve your emotional and physical health and make you feel happier. Various studies have shown that interacting with animals can lower stress levels and blood pressure.
6. Coach a youth sports team
If you enjoy being active or have skills in a particular sport, coaching a youth sports team could be the ideal volunteering opportunity for you. You’ll get to pass on your skills, share your passion, and act as a positive role model to the team.
7. Arrange a park clean-up
Organising a clean-up in your local park is an easy way to reduce pollution and fight climate change. It will also create a cleaner and healthier environment for your local community to enjoy. Pick your clean-up location and day and ask people to get involved in the event by posting on Facebook or other community platforms online. Check out this blog for tips on how to arrange a successful community clean-up.
8. Donate clothes
Most people have piles of clothes that they no longer like or wear. Donating your unwanted clothes will help those less fortunate than you and give your unloved pieces a new home. Donating clothes will also help fight climate change by reducing the amount of textile waste going to landfills.
Volunteering is a great way to learn new skills, meet new people, and boost your health and happiness. We all live busy lives and you may find it difficult to make time to volunteer. However, just half an hour a week can make a huge difference to your community. Find out what volunteering opportunities are in your local area and start making a positive impact today!
Get involved in volunteering
If you’re inspired to get involved in volunteering, you can find out more on our VAL Volunteering website.
If you’re a voluntary, community or social enterprise organisation who wants more support with recruiting or managing volunteers, you can get in touch with us via:
0116 257 5050