Kate Bermingham, Communications Manager

At Volunteering Matters we’re looking forward to International Day of Happiness on Sunday (20th March). Action for Happiness, the inspiring organisation that created this event, identify ten key ingredients for a happy and fulfilling life: giving, relating, exercising, awareness, trying out, direction, resilience, emotions, acceptance and meaning.

We feel that volunteering can tick most (or perhaps all?) of these boxes. Again and again our dedicated volunteers tell us about the positive difference volunteering has made to their lives. Whether it’s using your career and life skills to mentor young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, offering a few hours a week to befriend an isolated older person in your community, or providing practical support for a family facing major life challenges, volunteering offers an opportunity to give back to society, learn new skills and make new friends.

Regular volunteering also brings a whole host of health benefits to both the volunteer and the people supported by volunteer programmes. Volunteering can improve self-confidence and reduce anxiety and social isolation.  It can apparently even lead to a longer and healthier life.

Research from the Greater Good Science Centre at the University of California, Berkeley, demonstrates that people who engage in altruistic activities (such as volunteering) report a greater sense of purpose and meaning in their lives. The 2016 World Happiness Report revealed that social support and generosity are key determinants of national wellbeing.

We hope that’s enough to convince you to get out there and volunteer in your community. If you’d like to find out more then check out our ‘opportunity search’ to find a Volunteering Matters project in your area. Or alternatively, if you’re an employee, tell your HR team about our amazing employee volunteering projects and convince them to get in touch with us so that we can set up a great project for you and your colleagues.

Last but not least – have a fantastic #InternationalDayofHappiness on Sunday!