Greetings readers, welcome to our final blog post of 2018! The chill has set in and it’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. In the spirit of seasonal goodwill we look this month at one of the best ways of giving back: volunteering your time and skills. But it isn’t purely a one-way street – by lending a hand you can reap unexpected benefits! Here are some great reasons to get involved:

 

Make new friends and connections

Volunteering is a great way to connect with your local community and meet new people from many different walks of life. It’s an opportunity to unite around a common cause and forge meaningful relationships that could last a lifetime.

Circle of volunteers putting their hands together in the middle.

Good volunteers value teamwork.

 

Use your skills and learn new ones

Volunteering is a fantastic chance to put your skills to use in the real world in a way that helps other people. If you’re a bit rusty, it can give you the chance to re-hone your talents as well as acquire new ones. Volunteering can offer you the chance to try new things in a supportive environment.

 

Make a real difference

If you have a cause you’re passionate about, there is no better way to show your support than to offer your skills and time. Creating the kind of positive change you’d like to see in the world is deeply empowering and motivating.

 

Boost your career

Whether you’re considering new opportunities, freshly graduated or have been out of work for a while, volunteering is a great way to demonstrate to employers that you’re proactive and interested in developing your skillset.   It can be a great way to expand your circle of connections, so may even help you find paid employment.

 

Improve your health

Studies have found that focusing on other people instead of your own problems has a very positive impact on mental health: stress levels decrease and life satisfaction increases. If you’re in need of a reason to get out of the house and establish a routine, volunteering at a local organisation can help with this. Doing something active (such as community gardening) can help increase your physical exercise too.

 

Have fun

Getting involved can be great fun, especially if you’re drawing on your interests and passions. Think about the things you enjoy doing and how they can be utilised to help others: it could be helping with animal grooming at a sanctuary, teaching art activities to children, or having a chat with vulnerable elderly people while you drive them to their monthly tea dance. The possibilities are endless!

Group of four volunteers walking abreast.

Volunteers work together.

 

Feel inspired

As the year draws to a close it’s common to reflect on our successes, failures and achievements over the last year. Perhaps you’re feeling the need for a change in routine or new venture, but aren’t sure what. Volunteering can provide the chance to gain new experiences, and may even lead you to discovering a new interest, perspective or passion.

 

Grow in confidence

Maybe you’re new to the world of work, or have been out of the loop for a while with illness or a new baby – whatever the reason, if you’re looking to dip your toe in the water and get back out there, volunteering can provide a safe and supportive environment to try new things and gradually build your confidence.

 

Give something back

Perhaps you feel that life has given you a lucky break or taught you valuable lessons. Maybe you’ve been supported by an organisation through a difficult time in the past. If so, what better way to show your gratitude and spread your good fortune than by sharing it? Volunteering is a great way to spread the love.

 

So now you’ve got some great reasons to volunteer, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and get out there!

 

If you’re over 16 years of age, eligible to live and work in the UK and currently not in employment, the Moneywise Plus project may be able to help you. We offer support and training to get you ready for the world of work, including completing job applications, developing volunteering skills and building your confidence. Find out more and discover if you’re eligible for our service on our website, or call us on 0300 003 7004.