Have you ever considered voluntary work? If not, then now is the time. Volunteering opportunities are available in almost every town, with charities and organisations crying out for volunteers to help them with their cause. Anyone of any age can volunteer, from students carrying out their Welsh Bacc qualification, to people on work placements, to retirees looking to get involved within the community. The options are endless. But some may say, why volunteer? Here are 5 excellent reasons why you should consider volunteering...

1. Your Health

No, we're not making this up. According to The Mental Health Foundation, doing good does YOU good! 

According to the foundations research, putting other people's needs before our own can have a positive effect on your own mental health and wellbeing. It can reduce stress as well as improve mood, self-esteem and your overall happiness. Volunteering is a great way to do something for others and research shows that it benefits people of all ages through increasing feelings of self-esteem, respect, motivation and achievement. It also helps to aleveate isolation and chronic loneliness, something that 2.4 million adult British residents – of all ages – suffer from, according to figures published by the Office for National Statistics .

Volunteering is good for your mental health

2. Increases job prospects 

Did you know volunteering is a brilliant way to boost your career prospects? It helps you to create a positive impression when applying for jobs, university and college and makes you stand out from the crowd. Volunteering can also help you complete the voluntary sections of the Welsh Baccelaureate and Duke of Edinburgh qualifications. Volunteering gives you a range of transferable skills that can be utilised throughout your life. It’s not just us that believe this, careers advisers do too! Careers Wales state that recording a period of voluntary work looks great on your CV, displaying that you have done something worthwhile in your free time.

Volunteering work looks great on your CV!

3. Makes a difference

Volunteering for a charity or local organisation gives you the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than yourself. It allows you to use the skills you already have whilst learning new ones, to make a difference to others. You can choose a charity/ organisation that means something to you or research a local charity that is making a difference to local peoples lives. A lot of charities rely on volunteers to keep their charity shops, stalls and events running. So volunteering for a few hours a week could really impact peoples lives. 

Volunteering with a range of people

4. You learn new skills 

By volunteering for a charity or organisation you can gain a range of new skills. You are faced with different tasks and hurdles on a daily basis and have to deal with a mixture of personalities. It could be quite a challenge and sometimes out of your comfort zone, however this all helps to improve your teamwork, leadership, problem-solving and people skills. Skills that is always looked for in employment. There are so many volunteering opportunities available, the skills you could learn are almost endless. If you are a social media guru, then why not support an organisation by retweeting and sharing their posts. Or if you are a film fanatic why not help your local charity shop sort their DVD section?

Learn new skills whilst volunteering

5. It's flexible!

One of the brilliant things about volunteering is its flexibility. Whether you want to volunteer for an hour a week, to 3 full days a week, voluntary work can be arranged to fit around you and your lifestyle; whether that be education, work or family life. Charities and other organisations really rely on their volunteers and are grateful for any contribution that people can make, small or large. So there's really no excuse! 

Do you have a spare few hours to volunteer?

Inspired?  Volunteer for Emmaus South Wales

If you are thinking about volunteering here is what you need to do:

  • Work out how much time you can offer. Consider any other commitments you might also have, such as school, work or college.

  • Think about the type of work that interests you and the skills you already have. Perhaps you enjoy working with people, or in a retail environment. Or maybe you want to keep active and would prefer a role with manual handling. Whatever your interests and skills, there are plenty of volunteering opportunities out there. 

  • Consider what charities and organisations have the right opportunities for you & get in contact. Here are some handy links for volunteering in Wales:

     - Volunteering Wales - Information on volunteering in Wales. Find opportunities in your area.

     - GwirVol - Information for volunteers aged 14-25 in Wales.

     - WCVA - Wales Council for Voluntary Action. The official body for volunteering in Wales.

If you would like to volunteer for your local homelessness charity, Emmaus South Wales, click here