The Right Time to Volunteer

There are many reasons why people choose to volunteer, why they may continue with different volunteering roles throughout their lives or why it may be a short spell, forgotten about for years then re emerges through unexpected changes or chances.

Many people I have spoken to recently, all similar ages, mid 50’s say that their initial reasons for starting were to be around others, a great opportunity to socialise, also for gaining accredited awards and getting experiences that school or college had not provided. The realisation that the real world was a much bigger and more complicated thing then considered before.

Often these early volunteering roles led onto further study in a more niche area as real life experiences now could relate to the theory taught. Or for some it led to paid work as the evidence of their learning was fresh and relevant. Sometimes work/ life balance meant that volunteering was not an option and whilst totally understandable to take a break, it left some feeling that something was amiss- these are the folks who will ultimately return to volunteering time and time again, the drive is always there, a need to help make the world a better place but in small bites.

Some will dip their toe in volunteering but find out it is not for them, and never repeat it- however this probably relates to the wrong type of volunteering rather than relating to the person. Many people don’t even consider themselves volunteers and say they “just help out”, or “I’m only here once a month” or “I just do what I can to keep it going”.

No matter how often or what length of time someone volunteers for, they are not giving up their time, they are gifting it.

Jud Clark
Engagement & Volunteering Team Coordinator

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