Do you volunteer?
Do any forum members currently volunteer or are considering doing so? what would you think are the main reasons for volunteering, especially for the over 50’s?
To start the ball rolling, I volunteer for a couple of charities, one is a very local one where all I do is combine my hobby of photography with attending their events in order to provide them with up to date pictures they can use in their marketing etc, very sporadic but fun. The other charity is ability.net where I can provide assistance to older people and people with disabilities of any age. They may have a problem with a computer virus, need some help installing broadband or be worried about updates or error messages.
All of the volunteers are disclosure checked and can visit clients in their own home or can help by phone or over the internet. We all mainly have relevant IT skills and are able to help with most major computer systems, laptops, tablet devices and smartphones as well as advising and assisting with adaptive tech for users with disabilities to use their IT.
The main reason I volunteer is to get me out of the house with a meaningful outcome (sometimes 🙂 ) meeting new people, and being honest, networking with a possibility of getting a paid position with a charity.Posted by Steve Cooper 10th December 2019 at 11:27 am
Reply by verandell 7th July 2020 at 4:36 pm
I volunteer with the local Foodbank in Stroud. I have been doing it now for nearly 3 years, but at the moment due to the present situation I’m not able to do anything.
I found myself feeling very isolated prior to starting to volunteer. My partner had a job which meant the he had to spend 3 sometimes 4 nights a week away from home, and having just moved house I didn’t know anyone in the neighbourhood. I found that I had soon made some friends, it gave some purpose to my week, a commitment to go to the Drop-in centre every 2 weeks, if I didn’t turn up it would be letting down my colleagues and put them under more pressure.
More importantly I was part of a team who were helping to make life a little better for people in dire financial state. Some of the situations leading families to have to rely on Foodbanks is heart breaking.
Whilst helping others is the prime importance, I think that the volunteer should get some satisfaction and enjoyment from what they are doing, and at the end of a session go home for a cuppa and think, ‘well I helped someone today and I also had met up with my friends and enjoyed their company’.
Reply by julie.cragg 5th July 2020 at 7:45 pm
Hi I’ve worked for Sams several years ago but now am a volunteer on SHOUT a texting service for people with mental health issues or feeling suicidal or depressed. It is so worthwhile there are so many people out there at the end of their tethers. I also volunteer for a local Cancer nursing support Rosemary Foundation working in their office one morning a week. I am also the voluntary editor for our parish magazine so kept quite busy😊
Reply by Peter 5th July 2020 at 5:19 pm
Hi, I’m Peter and I started volunteering for a charity called Mary’s Meals 6 years ago. It feeds children in some of the world’s poorest Countries, by getting them into school.
The Charity was started by a Scotsman Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow
Check out the videos on YouTube especially Love Reaches Everywhere, with Gerard Butler.
A truly great small Global Charity
Reply by vanessahoughton 3rd July 2020 at 1:15 pm
Hello! I’m Vanessa and I volunteer as a guide at a local Tudor house. I’ve tried several other types of volunteering but none of them were quite what I wanted but I really enjoy this. I do it once a week but only during the season so not during November to March unless there’s a special event. I enjoy giving tours and telling people about the house and its history and also adding to my knowledge of the period. It may be not everyone’s idea of volunteering but I’d certainly recommend it to anyone with an interest in History.
Reply by hmdewhirst 2nd July 2020 at 10:28 pm
When I moved to a new town 2 years ago I started volunteering for our community library, and ended up on the Steering Committee with some very dedicated colleagues, it makes me feel like I’m giving something back to the community, and I do enjoy a good book! I’d like to help with adult literacy in the future. Obviously the library service was suspended during lockdown, and I did some volunteering for our community helpline during that time, demand has recently dropped away though. I find these true volunteer roles more satisfying that the 4 yrs I spent running HR for a regional charity – I’d gone into the role with the usual hopes of being able to put my skills to use in a less commercial environment, give back to disadvantaged members of the community etc etc but for me it didn’t really turn out that way – largely due in my view to some dubious quality senior management decisions and an ongoing lack of funds. Zcollins, your role sounds really interesting, do you know if this organisation operates in the North of England? I’ll make a note of their name and do a search.
Reply by sheila 30th June 2020 at 7:30 am
Yes I volunteer for Oxfam. I work in the Oxford superstore in the household goods department. I do various jobs for them eg sorting through donations; pricing items; stacking shelves; clearing away old items
I love the work. I am newly retired and often feel that I have no purpose. Oxfam staff are always grateful for my input and make me feel valued.
I missed it during lockdown and am happy to be back in store. I would thoroughly recommend working for Oxfam.
Reply by zcollins 28th June 2020 at 4:30 pm
Yes, I joined a Volunteer Group in Northern Ireland and they put me in touch with an organisation called Mywellread. This Arts funded company specialises in reading stories to children online. All stories are analysed through a psychological framework to help boost various behaviours such as empathy, understanding and problem solving. All volunteers and staff are vetted and stories are read via Zoom. This is particularly relevant with the continuing lockdown and lack of teaching occurring until September in Northern Ireland. The stories are short and targetted questions encourage lively conversation and confidence. The team at Mywellread are very dedicated and good fun too.
Reply by caicardi15 28th June 2020 at 8:24 am
Hello all, I have volunteered for a variety of organisations and causes since childhood growing up in a community where volunteering was a core value and privilege. During this pandemic, I have found that my best days were when I had a volunteering task to accomplish. It gave me purpose, and being in service somehow took me out of my own anxiety and fear, especially when venturing out. At one point over my many years of free-lancing now, I also worked in the not for profit sector as a fundraiser and frankly, never worked harder although I was constantly faced with criticism about my renumeration and process. In many ways, I regret leaving the corporate sector where if I had remained, would likely be in a better position to give more generously in terms of funds but also not have to consider as frequently, how I manage use of my time. Maybe.
Reply by elaine_allan 27th June 2020 at 8:03 am
After a horrendous experience with the legal system and courts last year (as a relative not defendant) I’ve applied to CAB to become a witness support. I’m a semi-retired staff nurse and feel that I can use my many years experience working in an operating theatre to support people that are having to deal with the antiquainted legal system we have in this country. Unfortunately the CAB are not offering this training at the moment and am wondering if anyone knows of any other volunteer role in the courts I could offer.
Reply by jim 26th June 2020 at 9:16 am
i would encourage anyone to volunteer. Ian Kavanagh above has spelt out some of the benefits. We do it to give and help others but in return we derive a sense of fulfilment, worth and purpose. The key is deciding in what way do you wish to volunteer eg some might like a hands on role like providing information to others as we have in AgeUK, counselling through the Samaritans or as a trustee. Be clear and determine how much of a commitment you wish to make. Our society could not function without volunteers and it makes us all part of a more caring “together” society.
Reply by iankavanagh 25th June 2020 at 8:01 pm
Hi, I am a volunteer with one organisation (and a Trustee for the same organisation) and Trustee for another. The benefits are:
• Developing a fresh sense of purpose
• Learning new skills and developing existing ones
• Meeting like-minded people and make new friends
• Trying new things outside of your comfort zone
• Giving back to the community
• Gaining a sense of achievement
• Building/maintaining confidence
Reply by Fenfemme 23rd June 2020 at 6:12 pm
I had a career working with non-profits and witnessed firsthand not only the value of volunteers but also their enjoyment and the friendships that developed. When I retired to a new area I began volunteering with three local groups. The lockdown has provided an opportunity to assess what I miss and I’ll probably leave one of the organisations and try something that better meets my interests. I would definitely recommend volunteering, especially if you have skill that would be useful for an underfunded group.