Volunteering is increasingly common in the UK. Last year, we wrote about Tia, who volunteered with charitable organisation, Home-Start. This year, in honour of Volunteers Awareness Week, (1st -7th June), we’ve spoken to two volunteers in Wales, who share their stories about helping in their local community.
Daniel is a student of English Literature and Art. He has been volunteering at his local gallery, which is part of an organisation called Celf Ceredigion. His role involves communicating with the general public through online platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Daniel posts reminders and notifications about events and exhibitions, and also shares and retweets information about other local events. He aims to create a melting pot of creativity through this online interaction.
As mentioned previously, volunteering is not always entirely selfless. ‘Within such a competitive industry,’ Daniel said, ‘a degree merely isn’t enough. Practical knowledge is valued by employers and I felt that I needed some ‘hands on’ vocational experience.’
“Volunteering for Gas Gallery allows me to give something back to the community…”
‘I volunteer because I love the arts and want more people to be involved and inspired by events and exhibitions in the area. Volunteering for Gas Gallery allows me to give something back to the community, while simultaneously gaining experience for a career in the arts.’
This week, a post on LinkedIn suggested that 1 in 5 managers have hired someone due to their experiences as volunteers, suggesting it’s certainly something worth considering.
‘It’s important to note the importance of recognition for posts like this,’ said Daniel. Recognition is what Volunteers Awareness Week is all about, and we’re glad to be able to share these stories.
Julie is a mature student who has been volunteering on a regular basis for George Thomas Hospice Care as part of a vocational course. She works on a voluntary basis as a counsellor within the field of bereavement. Understandably, this role can be emotionally demanding, but Julie feels it’s worth the occasional difficulty. ‘George Thomas provide a very rewarding and supportive environment.’
“I’d like to give something back to the community. Volunteering with George Thomas has been a humbling and rewarding experience…”
Although the work is a requirement of her learning and training, Julie is considering staying on and offering her time once she has qualified. ‘I’d like to give something back to the community. Volunteering with George Thomas has been a humbling and rewarding experience.’
Julie received a small amount of safeguard training through her course, and has also undergone training suicide intervention training as well as self-harm prevention training. Being safe and aware is key to voluntary work.
Opportunities to volunteer are rife across most sectors. In addition to working with families, there are plenty of charities concerning mental health, the elderly, learning disabilities, homelessness, youth, domestic violence victims and drug and alcohol abusers.
It’s important to remain safe, regardless of whether you’re employed or volunteering unpaid. Some training courses we provide to keep you safe include Lone Working, Personal and Professional Boundaries and Conflict Resolution.
Follow @VolunteersWeek for more.