Volunteers’ Week is an annual celebration of the contribution people make through volunteering. Although Covid-19 has stopped some of the things we usually do, Sue reminds us about what we can do and why, now more than ever, it’s important to find ways to keep volunteering.
Over the decades (showing your age Sue!) I’ve tried to vary my volunteering. I’ve volunteered as a Prince’s Trust business mentor (there’s a slightly surreal story that involves Prince Charles, a mobile hairdresser and me, but that’s for another time!), a Talking Books reader and a befriender for ‘at-risk’ children. I’ve also set up a new local women’s group and volunteered as a school governor… exceptionally challenging I must admit!
My remit has always been to try and use my work skills in business and marketing to volunteer for causes that I believe in, that I’m proud to be associated with and that I feel happy to give up my spare time to. To be honest, I’ve found it especially challenging on a dark and cold winter’s night when tucked up cosy on the sofa with a warm fire blazing. I’ve had to force myself to get up and volunteer, but once I’ve started I always remember why I wanted to do this in the first place, and I usually have a laugh and fun.
I don’t believe that I’m any more altruistic than anyone else. I’m just aware that I’m very lucky and privileged to live in a lovely home, work at an amazing company and be part of an adorable family, and I want to offer something back. That’s not to say that I couldn’t do more… I could, but I value my space so I try to build in time for me as well, as the last thing I want to do is start resenting the time I spend volunteering. I firmly believe it’s about the quality not the quantity and it doesn’t matter if you can offer just an hour a week or a month… anything helps. And, an unexpected bonus has been the new friends I’ve made… a few of whom I’m still lucky enough to have.
Many people like to keep the same volunteer skills throughout their years, but I love change and this has allowed me to vary my volunteering activities, helped albeit in no small matter with moving seven times to different homes across the country. This presents me with thrilling new volunteering opportunities.
Because I choose volunteer activities I enjoy, it helps me have fun and unwind and actually de-stresses me. I’m just glad no one still has the outtake recordings from when I was audio-recording books… who knew I said those things!
‘Nine great ways to volunteer online’ points you in the direction of numerous websites where you can volunteer your time. In addition, you can search a plethora of ‘do-it-at-home’ and social distancing volunteer opportunities here to find the one that you could be passionate about.
Happy volunteering and please do share your volunteer stories #volunteersweek #community