Get volunteering

Volunteering at a marathonWhether you’re interested in people, plants or just trying something new, volunteering has a lot to offer. Discover the benefits volunteering brings and see how you can get involved.

Why volunteer?

Volunteering is a great way to:

  • gain work experience and show your interest in a particular type of work, giving your future job applications that extra edge
  • build your skills bank with examples such as team work or problem solving that you can include on your CV or talk about at interviews
  • try something new to see if you like it – lots of volunteering roles offer a trial session, so you can quickly get a feel for whether you’d like to become more involved
  • gain an inside view as to what a type of work is really like. Even if you’re doing something simple, you’ll often get the get the chance to see what people in other roles are doing
  • develop your network – you’ll meet other volunteers and make contacts in your chosen sector which could lead to other things
  • do something worthwhile and rewarding

 

There are lots of different ways you can volunteer. Take a look at these ideas to get started.

 

General opportunities

Do-it makes it easy for anyone to volunteer in their community and lists over a million opportunities.

vInspired connects young people with volunteering opportunities.  Use their search tool to find placements based on issues you want to change.

GoodGym combines physical tasks that benefit the community and keep you fit. You can run in a pack to work on a community project, do one off missions to help vulnerable people or commit to visit an isolated older person every week. You’ll get the help of a qualified trainer and support to achieve your goals.

 

Volunteering direct

If you want to support a cause or get experience in a particular job area, try looking on relevant organisations’ websites. And remember it’s not just charities looking for volunteers  – big events and festivals often draw on volunteer support for roles such as marshals, ushers, and car park attendants (where you may also get the added benefit of free entry or backstage access).  Here’s a few ideas to get you started:

The Conservation Volunteers  help thousands of people each year reclaim local green places.

At the British Red Cross you can volunteer in emergency response and first aid, charity shops or fundraising.

Interested in bird life? The RSPB welcomes volunteers from bird identifiers to graphic designers.

Volunteer at homelessness charity Crisis and help deliver services, campaigns, fundraising, administrative and IT support.

Are you a good listener? Samaritans volunteers support people who get in touch by phone, email, letter and in person.

Cancer Research UK recruits event, media and office volunteers.

 

Volunteering as part of a package

14-24 year olds can take The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award which combines volunteering with other activities.  If you’re 16 or 17 you can take part in a local social action project for The National Citizen Service and develop new skills.

 

Volunteering abroad

VSO provides volunteering placements overseas, mainly in developing countries.

BUNAC offers ethical, low-cost volunteering abroad programmes across Africa, Asia and the Americas.

 

 Watch videos on volunteering

See how volunteering helped these people get their current job:

Anna – now an Education Officer, Wood Green Animal Shelters

Natalie – now a Television Producer, BBC

John – now an Outreach Worker, Birmingham Disability Resource Centre

 

Further information

GOV.UK has a section on volunteering which includes information about your rights as a volunteer.

Volunteering England  has lots more information about volunteering, including ideas on finding volunteering opportunities, and problem solving for volunteers.

If you’re established in your career and want to share your skills, Reach and Give What You’re Good At connect skilled professionals with charities looking for support.  Inspiring The Future volunteers visit schools to talk about their job, career and education.

 

More from icould on volunteering

How about doing some volunteering?

Volunteering works

The gapyear.com guide to choosing a volunteer placement

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