What is volunteering?
We are members of DVSC and Volunteering Wales.
A volunteer is important within our community. Volunteering can be described as giving your time and energy freely and by choice without concern for financial gain. It can describe hundreds of different activities that people choose to do to benefit or support others in the community. The word volunteering is used for a range of activities such as community service, self-help, charity, neighbourliness, citizenship, public service, community action, community involvement, trustee, member, helper.
There are volunteering opportunities in many different avenues such as health; social care; arts and culture; trusteeship; practical and DIY; management and in the environment.
People volunteer at different times of their lives for different reasons:
- maybe you might want to give something back to your local community or a particular group which helped you at a difficult time in your life
- or might want to meet new friends
- you may be unemployed/looking for a new career direction/have been made redundant so want to learn new skills and keep yourself active
- or could have experiences and skills you’d like to pass on to others.
It’s flexible – you decide how much you want to do and when, taking into account the other commitments you have in your life.
Although you won’t be paid, there are other rewards for volunteering:
- building up confidence and self-esteem
- meeting people in similar circumstances
- learning transferable skills
- trying out new experiences
- helping others as well as yourself
- and very often, having a lot of fun!
There are many training opportunities you can access as a volunteer, it shouldn’t affect your benefits and many volunteer organisations offer out-of-pocket expenses. And it looks good on your CV – many employers look very favourably on volunteering experience.
Can I make a difference?
Yes. Volunteering is so much a part of society that it is often easier to describe the difference that volunteers make by imagining a society where no-one volunteered:
- social and leisure activities would be significantly affected as there would be no rugby matches, sporting events or athletics, no Formula One motor racing or Olympic Games without the input of volunteer coaches, organisers and marshals
- there would be no music events, pop concerts, festivals, Urdd or National Eisteddfodau without volunteer fundraisers, organisers or St John’s Ambulance volunteers
- there would be little medical research or advice and support to people with specific problems
- people would die without the Samaritans, the lifeboat service, cave and mountain rescue teams and the British Red Cross
- our health service would be significantly impoverished without the donations from volunteer-organised activities, such as tea shops and library trolleys, hospital radio and community volunteers to help discharged patients or those coming into hospital
- the criminal justice system would break down without lay magistrates, witness support and victim support volunteers
- much of the landscape, wildlife and areas of natural beauty would suffer neglect
- many older, disabled and vulnerable people would be isolated and lonely.
As a volunteer you can really have an impact on peoples’ lives and the community around you, as well as making your own life more fulfilled and rewarding.
What can I do?
Whatever your age, interests or background, whether you can commit regularly or occasionally, there is likely to be something suitable for you. There are opportunities to volunteer in a wide variety of settings for example out-of-doors, in community centres or care homes, offices or your own home and you can take part in many different activities such as fundraising, sports, befriending, administrative work, or practical help and support to children, young or older people.
What you do as a volunteer depends on what you want to achieve. Everyone has a personal reason for volunteering and you should choose something that will help you fulfil your personal goal.