Volunteering can seem like a bit of an unknown and intimidating beast if you have never had a try, but once you give it a go, you will find it is pretty addictive! After all, what else gives you the chance to have a go at whatever you want, often with no skills or relevant experience required? Ever wanted to steward a music gig? Volunteer! Have you always fancied looking after animals in a zoo? Volunteer! Do you want to help disabled people by becoming an advocate? Volunteer! You can also meet lots of new people and go on to form some really rewarding connections and friendships, some which may last a lifetime. Plus, you get to feel part of a team, working together to do something vital for a worthy cause. At the end of the day, you can go home knowing you have made a difference and that the volunteering work you have done has helped someone who needed it.
Often people will have a go at volunteering because it is a way to get back into work or to gain the necessary skills you need for a role you want to go into. Or maybe you’re unable to work because of ill health or because you’ve retired or are studying at university. When I was younger, I spent some time volunteering, because my disability meant I could not work. Due to having daily seizures I couldn’t find a job which was suitable. However, I started volunteering running weekly events to educate people, known as Wake-Up Wednesday events, these featured all sorts of subjects from Earth Day to cleaning your home in an eco-friendly way, cooking vegan meals to buying your first home. Eventually the charity I ran them for offered to pay for the events, I applied for and got the job as an Events Coordinator with the charity and eventually worked my way through various charities doing higher and higher skilled work. Volunteering gave me the opportunity to do something I really enjoyed and to feel like I was still an important part of the community whilst doing so.
I would encourage anybody who fancies trying volunteering to be brave, contact the charity or organisation you would like to volunteer for; even if they are not advertising anything, as they will probably be so pleased for the offer of help! Who knows where the volunteering could lead to and what amazing experiences you could have along the way. Equal Lives is always open to hearing from anyone who would like to volunteer, so feel free to get in touch.