This week organisations and charities have been celebrating Volunteers Week. This occasion recognises and thanks volunteers for all their amazing hard work and giving up their time for others.
I’ve been involved in several voluntary roles since 2012 and continue to do so to this day.
I began as a community writer for online magazine Disability Horizons and have been lucky to publish almost 30 articles in the past 7 years and continue to play a key role in Disability Horizons’ mission.
In 2017, I became a member of the Content Advisory Group for the charity Muscular Dystrophy UK (MDUK). It is a voluntary, representative body where we share our thoughts, opinions and ideas on the written and multimedia content the charity creates.
In November 2018, I became the AccessAble Champion for Hampshire where I share blog posts and videos promoting their access guides.
Additionally, I’m in the process of becoming a volunteer at my former college Treloar’s, working in the Marketing & Fundraising department and possibly support students with technology skills. I’ve had my safeguarding training and risk assessment done. Now I’m just awaiting an introductory meeting with my supervisor and a start date.
So why do I do all this voluntary work? Because I get a great sense of achievement, joy and self-satisfaction. Plus I feel I boost confidence and be appreciated by others. Moreover, I’m passionate about supporting these incredible charities and organisations.
Have you ever considered volunteering? If you’re not sure, check out these 5 reasons to become a volunteer:
1. Being busy and productive
A great reason to volunteer is it makes your mind and body busy and productive. Particularly if you have a disability or illness and struggle to secure part time or full time work but still eager to get involved in tasks and projects. Plus there is no obligation to attend every time and you can work as many hours that suit you. Personally, it gives me a sense of purpose and a reason to get up each day. Without my voluntary work, I think I would be living a life of isolation, TV binging, too much sleep and obesity.
2. Meeting and networking with people
Volunteering gives you the opportunity to socialise and interact with other people. This can be listening to wartime stories from elderly residents in a care home, running a fundraising event, supporting disabled children in after school activities or even travelling abroad and help aid workers in countries that are in poverty, natural disasters or war zones. No matter how big or small your role is, you get to meet different people and even make friendships with some of them. Loneliness can be a horrible feeling but by heading out into the community, you get to meet like-minded people and gives you confidence if you’re shy or reluctat to make conversations. For a majority of my voluntary work, I work from home, usually contacting my colleagues via email, over the phone or video call. However I do get a rare get together with them such as at Naidex this year and the MDUK Content Advisory Group annual meeting. For my upcoming role at Treloar’s, I will be working in an office with the other marketing team and occasionally support students. I look forward to working in a different environment and meeting new people.
3. Giving support to an organisation or charity
Most charities and organisations heavily rely on volunteers to keep their services running. If you were to become a volunteer, consider a role you’re passionate about. For exaample all my roles relate to disability because I am disabled myself and passionate to support other disabled people. But it could be any kind of cause. For instance, if you or your family have been affected by cancer, you could support a cancer charity. Or if you’re passionate about saving the planet, you could volunteer at an animal or climate change organisation. The possibilities are endless. Plus you could volunteer in more than one role if you wish. If you’re not sure where to start, simply google organisations who may be looking for volunteers and just contact them.
4. Volunteering has a rewarding feeling
Volunteering is a wonderful thing to do and brings such a rewarding feeling. Nowing that you’ve made someone’s day brighter, raised money for a good cause or changed a person’s life is an extraordinary achievement. In my roles, I feel I have made a difference to the quality of content produced, increased audience numbers and managed to rank content to high levels in search engines. Plus the content gives advice and support to disabled people which can make a huge difference in their lives.
5. Gaining experience
Lastly, being involved in voluntary work can gain you vital experience which can help you in the future; whether it be life skills, getting into higher education or employment. In my case, I hope the skills I’ve learnt will eventually help me get a job in journalism. Also I believe I have learnt more about how to live life to the fullest with a disability.
So that concludes my thoughts and experiences of volunteering. Has this inspired you to become a volunteer? Or are you already volunteering? What do you enjoy about volunteering? Share your stories in the comments box or on social media.
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