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Volunteering - Give something back

If you’re looking for something worthwhile to do with your spare time this year, volunteering is a great shout. Whether it’s spending a couple of hours a week at a local women’s shelter or donating your skills to build a website for a children’s charity, giving something back through volunteering is really rewarding. 
It can be hard to know where to start, though. There are so many worthy causes in need of volunteers – how do you choose which one to help? And is it as simple as helping out for a few hours, or is there more you can do? We’ve put together a quick guide to getting started with volunteering – take a look and see how you could get involved.


See what’s out there

Before you dive in and start contacting charities, have a little look at what volunteer roles are available in your area. The government has put together this handy guide on volunteering, which includes links to sites where you can search for volunteer opportunities in your area. You could also check out your local community noticeboard, or ask in charity shops, shelters or small businesses. 

Decide what to donate

Once you’ve got an idea of what’s available near you, have a think about the type of volunteering you’d like to do – do you want to get hands-on and work in a shop, prepare food or collect donations? Maybe your chosen charity or business desperately needs a new website or some social media help – could you offer your time and skill for free, from home? It’s always worth contacting the volunteer coordinator to see what kind of work would be most useful to them. 

Make it part of your routine

An easy way to stick with a voluntary role for the long-term is to make it part of your routine and keep that time free every week. Keep aside Saturday mornings for your visit to the refuge centre, or dedicate one night a week to creating social content for your local animal charity. 

Understand your impact

Volunteers make a huge difference to the charities and services they support, and knowing how much impact you have is an amazing motivator. Speak to the person in charge of volunteers and ask for examples of how you’ve helped the cause – write them down and remember them the next time you skip a night out to serve dinner at a homeless shelter. You’re incredible!
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