Volunteers’ Week is celebrated every year on the 1-7 June. It’s a week to recognise and be thankful for the hard work volunteers put in and commemorate their dedication to their organisations. Many charities and non-profit organisations rely on them to keep running and continue to do the work they do, so it’s clear to see why volunteers are extremely important. Furthermore, volunteering while at university can be a great way to spend your free time, all while gaining valuable skills and experience that you can use in the future.
Volunteering can be a challenging, but rewarding, experience. What better way to celebrate this Volunteers’ Week than to share with you the things they love most about their own experiences?
These are a few of their favourite things
I reached out to a number of volunteers online, asking them ‘What is your favourite thing about volunteering?’. I got some amazing responses! Here’s what the respondents said.
Giving back to the community
Many respondents shared their enjoyment about giving back to the community. I find this admirable about them, as the work they do is valuable and important to helping the community, especially with emergency service and crisis team volunteers.
“Seeing the impact you can have on others and the community!”Maisie, Co-Project Leader of Generations Together at Durham University, Dementia Friends volunteer, and covid-19 responder
“Fire and emergency is more local to my wee town, keeps my little community safe and it’s nice to give back.”Karl, volunteer firefighter and ambulance officer
“I got into it because I was going through a phase in my life (and still am) where I wanted to give something back, to something I am passionate about.”Kieran, Shout Volunteer
Making a difference
Another common response to my question was that they enjoy making a difference to people in need. Much volunteer work involves helping others, sometimes during moments of crisis. This can sometimes be the difference between someone going through this crisis alone or having support to help them through it. I think this definitely counts as making a difference!
“I love the feeling like I have made a difference to someone’s day!”Louisa, Shout Volunteer
“My day job is mundane to me and doesn’t make a positive difference in people’s lives. Volunteering fulfils that need for me, and getting someone to go from a really hot moment to being a nice, calm and collected is a very humbling experience.”Kieran, Shout Volunteer
Gaining and improving valuable skills
An amazing part of volunteering is self-improvement. Helping out at any organisation offers the opportunity to gain transferrable skills, while also allowing you to further develop the skills you already have. Often, these skills are sought after by employers, so the skills you gain through volunteering can make you more employable and it can open up more opportunities to you.
“I gain satisfaction using the skills I’ve learned in the workplace and applying them at my volunteer site. I also have the chance to be creative in problem-solving.”Grace, undisclosed organisation
“I enjoy being able to pass on my knowledge to young people and help them find interests and enjoyment outside of school.”John, Youth Club volunteer and volunteer youth football coach
Meeting like-minded people
Multiple responses stated they have met some incredible people through volunteering! This is true, as most of them decide to dedicate their spare time to a cause that their passionate about. Therefore, it’s a great way to meet people who share the same beliefs and interests.
“I get to hang out with some good people and work together as a team.”Karl, volunteer firefighter and ambulance officer
“I’ve met some great people!”Grace, undisclosed organisation
“My favourite thing was the social side of it, as there are always opportunities to attend get-togethers and dinner-dances.”Maurice, fundraiser for NSPCC
“It fills me with a sense of fulfilment since I’m helping others simply because I enjoy it!”Elaine, National Trust volunteer
“It feels like an achievement to know that I am able to help other people with coping with fibromyalgia. It keeps me busy while I’m doing something I enjoy. It’s also engages my brain, as it’s something different to what I was doing before.”Diane, treasurer for Wakefield and District Fibromyalgia Group
“The reward feeling afterwards.”Lily, undisclosed organisation
How to volunteer in your community
There are many opportunities to get involved as a volunteer near you. This could be within your wider community, for example:
- Community First Responder – these roles can be found in every region in the UK
- Crisis Textline or Shout 85258
- NSPCC and Childline
- Do-it – UK opportunity database
Alternatively, your university may have opportunities to volunteer, such as within the university itself, in the Students’ Union, or at events, like open days. Some universities also offer voluntary phone positions with Nightline Association. Search up ‘[insert your uni here] nightlight’ to see if this is available at your uni.
Some opportunities may be fully in-person, while some are entirely online. It really depends on your preferences and how much of your time you want to offer, as well as what you’re interested in!
The takeaway message
Volunteers’ Week is a great way to say a big thank you to the volunteers that keep our charities and non-profit organisations running smoothly! The work that they do is honourable. That’s why we have Volunteers’ Week every year, 1-7 June, to celebrate their generosity and selflessness. So, whether you’ve just started volunteering, or you’ve been giving up your time for good for years, we say a massive thank you to you! You’re doing an amazing job!