Volunteering is a hugely valuable and rewarding experience for the volunteers and the communities they support.
As our Chair Anne Heal wrote in the Huffington Post during Volunteers’ Week 2016, more than 21 million people volunteer in the UK at least once a year, and this contributes an estimated £24bn to the UK economy.
The 2016 UK Civil Society Almanac revealed that two in five adults have volunteered at least once in the past year, and an Ipsos Mori report found that 42% of young people took part in meaningful social action in 2015. So, what is motivating these lovely people to give their time and skills freely?
- People who engage in altruistic activities (e.g. volunteering), report a greater sense of purpose and meaning in their lives.
- The NHS lists a number of health benefits relating to volunteering, including improved quality of life, improved ability to cope with ill health and improved self-esteem.
- Action for Happiness list ten key ingredients for a happy and fulfilling life: giving, relating, exercising, awareness, trying out, direction, resilience, emotions, acceptance and meaning. We feel confident that volunteering ticks these boxes!
- Volunteering is an opportunity to learn new skills, and can boost employment prospects.
- Volunteering can help to heal mental ill-health and addiction.
- Volunteering enables people to play an active role in their society and contribute to positive social change.
- Volunteering helps to break down social barriers and offer people an opportunity to socialise with people from different social and cultural backgrounds.
- The 2016 World Happiness Report revealed that social support and generosity are key determinants of national wellbeing.
- Volunteers support vulnerable people in society and enable them to live a healthy and rewarding life. This could mean support with things we take for granted, such as practical help at home for disabled or older people, mentoring a care leaver and helping them to find their feet as an adult, or supporting a young mother struggling to provide for her children.
We hope that’s enough to convince you to start volunteering today – click below and find the best volunteer role for you!