1-7 June marks National Volunteering Week, and what better a time to get stuck in and volunteer for a cause that you care about. No, it’s not all just working in charity shops (but of course you can do that too!), and you might be surprised at some of the different ways that you can give up your time to help the community.
Have you got a passion for animals or animal welfare? Why not try volunteering at a local animal shelter or sanctuary? These shelters are full of animals who need looking after, and even if you feel you can’t take one home, you can help out with feeding them, walking them or just interacting with them and showing them that someone cares for them. There are many different types of shelters and sanctuaries where you can volunteer – from cats and dogs to birds, farm animals or even more exotic animals such as reptiles; these animals all need help from animal lovers just like you to volunteer and look after them.
If you love the idea of preserving or promoting how fantastic history is, why not try volunteering at a local museum or library, or even something like a National Trust property or other historic property near you? Volunteers are essential to the maintenance of these places, and you can really make someone’s day just by sharing a piece of knowledge with them. As an extra incentive, volunteering at these places often means that you are able to go ‘behind the scenes’ and get access to private collections that most visitors don’t get to see.
If you’re passionate about the environment, there are lots of different ways that you can give up your time to help benefit the planet. Find out about local beach clean-ups to help recover plastics and other harmful substances from our coastline, helping the environment and wildlife local to the beach. Alternatively, you can become a volunteer gardener in a variety of areas such as town centres or even stately homes to help make the community a more beautiful place.
Volunteering can be a great excuse to get into sport, and you don’t always need to be super fit and active yourself to volunteer! Your local sport clubs might need a new manager or treasurer, or maybe you’d love to get involved and teach/mentor either adults or young people. Either way, investigating clubs or teams in your area who might need your help is a great way to get into sport and support your local community.
Old but gold
Giving up some time for the older generation can be incredibly rewarding both for them and for you, and you might find that you’re not as different as you first thought! Your contribution could even just be chatting for a while, but think about going the extra mile and make a regular home visit, maybe just for a cuppa, or even to help them with tasks such as shopping, posting letters, picking up a prescription or dog walking. This can greatly benefit an elderly person’s physical and mental health, but we’re pretty sure you’ll find you reap the benefits too.
Use your skills
Are you a fantastic amateur photographer? Love to make films in your spare time? Got a passion for knitting? Do you make the best cakes ever? Why not turn a passion that you have into something you can do as a volunteer? Many charity organisations would greatly benefit from you offering your skills on a voluntary basis. For example – for filmmakers, why not see if you can make some promotional videos for a charity? If you love to knit, why not start a knitting group where seasoned knitters can get together with beginners to share their knowledge and some company? See what you can come up with for an idea to utilise your skills to help your local community.
Volunteer from home
Did you know that you don’t have to leave the house to volunteer? Many organisations need volunteers who can work from home to do things like their social media pages, writing, or even performing short tasks to improve the data that they have collected such as through apps or games. If you feel like you physically can’t or just don’t have time to leave the house, maybe volunteering from home or online could be the option for you.