Why Volunteering Can Do You the World of Good

Have you ever thought about volunteering? It doesn't just help others, it can have great benefits for you too!

11/12/2019

Have you ever thought about volunteering? It doesn't just help others, it can have great benefits for you too!

As Christmas is famously the season of goodwill, it’s a time when we tend to think more about others – especially when it comes to giving up some of our time to help charities and other good causes. Although volunteering might be more common over the festive season, there are plenty of Brits who volunteer all year round – an estimated 20 million, in fact.

Everyone has their own reasons for volunteering. While it’s an activity that obviously benefits the people, animals or causes needing support, it can also have huge benefits for the volunteers themselves.

The benefits of volunteering

Most people don’t even consider what the act of volunteering could do for their own lives, but common benefits include:

  1. Getting out and making new friends – everyone needs social contact, but it can be hard to find sometimes, even if you live in a city full of people.  Volunteering brings you together with other like-minded people and helps you get out and connect with others in your community. Being part of a team and forming relationships is great for your mental health and can give you a new social support network too.
  2. Developing your skill set – volunteering can involve learning to do things you’ve never done before or even have you revisiting old skills you thought you’d forgotten. Many charities have training programmes and qualifications you can take which could help you get work in the future.
  3. Feeling useful – we all need a sense of purpose. Many people find volunteering fills a gap after their children have grown and left home or they have retired. Giving back to your community, or a cause close to your heart that has helped you and your family in hard times, can help you feel like you’re making a positive difference.
  4. Building your self-esteem – volunteering can seem like a big step to take if you’re feeling isolated, depressed or have lost your confidence but connecting with people and being an active part of something important is a great way to help boost your own self-worth.
  5. Helping to get things in perspective – by its nature, volunteering often involves doing things to support those who are less fortunate or are going through tough times in their lives. Seeing the bigger picture and thinking about others can really help in putting our own life issues into perspective.
  6. Improving your mental and physical health – helping others makes us feel good! That warm fuzzy feeling of satisfaction that you get when you’ve made a difference to someone’s life can really help in reducing stress, anxiety and depression. Which in turn can help reduce physical problems like high blood pressure. Volunteering often means getting out and about in the community, so you might find yourself being more physically active too.

Volunteering and social care

Helping out with a local organisation that supports older people or vulnerable people in your community is also a great way to get a feel for working in social care. It can help you develop valuable practical and communication skills and an understanding of the challenges some people face in life. It’s always a plus on your CV if you’re looking for a job in homecare.

How do I find somewhere to volunteer?

If you want to get out there and volunteer, there are plenty of resources to help you find the perfect match. Often you can find information in places like your local GP surgery, library or community centre. It’s even easier to find volunteer opportunities online. The National Council for Voluntary Organisations website and gov.uk volunteering pages are a great place to start your search.

And if you’re eager to get stuck in this Christmas, you can find some of the many volunteering opportunities available in London over the festive season here.

So, if you have some time to spare, why not give volunteering a go? It’s a win-win!

If you’d like to know more about working in homecare in South East London, get in touch with our recruitment team on 020-7635-1931 or check out our latest Bluebird Care Lewisham & Southwark job vacancies.