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Spring into Volunteering: Why should you volunteer? What would it really do for you?

Community Action Suffolk is welcoming the arrival of Spring by celebrating volunteering.

Over this first week of Spring we will be publishing stories, tips and information on how YOU can get involved with volunteering, why it’s such an amazing thing to do and how we can help you find the perfect volunteering opportunity.

Spring Into Volunteering artwork

Why should you volunteer? What would it really do for you?

According to recent studies quite a lot!

As well as learning new skills, meeting new people, as part of a plan to get into work, setting yourself a challenge or even just filling some spare time it can help improve your mental health and the chances of living longer too.

A study by a team at the University of Exeter found that volunteering is associated with lower depression and increased wellbeing. In some cases this has been described as the ‘helpers high’, the rush you get leads to longer periods of calm and can eventually lead to better wellbeing. Helping others encourages you to become more physically active, getting out and becoming part of your community, which is also associated with life satisfaction, reduced social isolation and happiness.

Happiness is good for your heart, optimism and positive emotion were found to provide protection against cardiovascular disease, and an online poll by i-volunteer found that for 42% of volunteers happiness was the main benefit from giving time (7% said volunteering made them feel sexy!).

Volunteering can help put things into perspective and the benefits of helping others gives you a ‘kindness bank’ of memories that you can draw on in difficult times. When volunteers have been asked to assess their own health they rated it more positively than non-volunteers and it can also help by improving family relationships, making people who volunteer more independent and less reliant on their families (NHS Choices).

The organisations you support when volunteering get your time, energies and talents. Volunteers bring new ideas and enthusiasm. Communities benefit as the work of volunteers help address the needs of individuals and families in a local area. Volunteers extend the offer of a charity and can offer a different relationship to those accessing a service – people might prefer to talk to a volunteer who ‘wants to be there’ rather than a paid member of staff. With volunteering the benefits to others can be immediate to see. What better way to say an organisation is valued than to have volunteers supporting it?

Volunteering brings so many benefits, an hour of your time can stop someone feeling alone, help someone to go out, to share the day with someone, to welcome people, to raise money, to reassure someone, to make someone smile and as a volunteer the best feeling you can get is when someone says ‘thank you’ for giving your time.

So if you want to feel good, volunteer!

Community Action Suffolk can help you find the perfect volunteering opportunity, whether you’ve just a couple of hours to give, or you would like to commit to something longer. Visit our volunteering pages to find out more, or contact [email protected]