Ask any person on the street to describe volunteering and within a few sentences you’ll likely have heard about charity shops, committee meetings and tin rattling, writes Heather Arnatt, area co-ordinator for Voluntary Centre Services in West Lindsey.
This traditional picture of volunteering is usually coupled with the idea that volunteering is usually for older people and most often that it is ‘boring’.
However, ask one of trained volunteer advisors at West Lindsey’s Voluntary Centre Services (VCS) to describe volunteering and they will describe for you a variety of opportunities involving working with children, dog walking, getting involved with outdoor conservation projects and, most importantly, choice.
In addition, the number of young people volunteering to gain skills and experience is now at a 10-year high with volunteering offering the perfect opportunity to try out future career options whilst studying.
Employers admit they are more likely to employ someone who has volunteering on their CV.
Volunteering has changed, undeniably for the better.
Charities and community groups understand that people want to volunteer to gain skills and experience, to meet new people and to really influence change in their communities but that there is more pressure in everyone’s time.
Microvolunteering opportunities – where volunteers offer just ten to 20 minutes of their time – are becoming more popular alongside evening and weekend roles.
And volunteering doesn’t have to stop when you become employed.
Voluntary Centre Services plays an important role in the volunteering process, offering face-to-face appointments to help volunteers establish their skills and areas of interest so that they can get the most from the experience.
Here at VCS, we work with organisations to ensure the right volunteering opportunities are available to suit the organisation, and offer training to allow volunteer managers to find the most suitable volunteers for their role.
If you’re interested in finding out more about our volunteering opportunities and how volunteering can be shaped to suit you, or would like some free advice and support on supporting and recruiting volunteers please get in touch on 01427 613470, visit the website at www.voluntarycentreservices.org.uk or call in to the Guildhall in Gainsborough between 10am and 4pm, Monday to Friday.