Reasons to volunteer locally

Most of you will be familiar with the idea of gap year travel and overseas volunteering and you can gain some wonderful skills as well as developing your cultural awareness by doing this. Let’s have a look at volunteering locally though, which can just as rewarding – and remember, volunteering doesn’t have to be just for a gap year.Why volunteer locally?Firstly, there is a huge variety of volunteering opportunities. This means that you are able to tailor your voluntary work to either those areas which are most relevant to your own local community. It also means that you can access local activities which either meet your own interests or career aspirations or more importantly, fit with principles that you have.A quick search on one volunteering website allowed me to narrow my search to volunteering opportunities within a five mile radius (you can limit even more, which is great if you don’t drive and so can’t travel too far).Within this limited geographical area I found loads of opportunities, including:
Community radio station presenter
Youth activity coordinator
Arts leader
Archive assistant in a museum
County publicity and marketing assistant
Where do I find volunteering activities close to me?I’m sure that there are many more, but you could visit the Do-it Trust website, Volunteering England, or Volunteering Matters . On any or all of these sites you can find information on volunteering generally (age restrictions etc) as well as opportunities to get involved with.The ‘Selfish’ bit – the personal benefits of volunteeringVolunteering is primarily about doing something to support others. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t get anything out of the experience though.Volunteering can offer you the opportunity to gain valuable experience where you couldn’t get it otherwise (through paid employment say). This is great for your CV as you are able to list it as unpaid work experience and to list all the work skills that you gain through volunteering too.In addition to the experience and skills that you can develop through volunteering, doing it shows that you are proactively trying to improve your skills, which will be looked on favourably by employers (and it’s a good attitude to have generally)You never know – you may find that volunteering locally becomes a part of your everyday life – helping other people tends to have a positive effect on us – why not keep doing it long term?

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