Tuesday 30 March 2010

Why Don't You #1: Volunteering

In the spirit of one of my favourite childhood television programmes, Why Don't You?, I'm going to do a series of blog posts with the general theme of 'why don't you just switch off the internet and go and do something less boring instead?' For the first post in this 'WDY' series I thought I'd talk about something that's become very important to me over the last few months. Volunteering.


Now, I'm well aware that not everyone has the time or the inclination to volunteer but, if you've ever even considered it, then I'd like to encourage you to give it a go. The benefits you can reap through giving up just a little bit of your time can be enormous. From a purely selfish point of view, volunteering makes you feel really really good about yourself. From an altruistic point of view, you'd be helping people/projects/animals who really need it. So it's basically a win-win situation.

I began volunteering as a listener for the Samaritans in October and, more recently, I began volunteering as a dog walker for a local dogs' home. Both are incredibly different but provide me with the same sense of satisfaction and a feeling that I'm doing something to help, no matter how small. A small, but lovely, bonus point is that the other volunteers you work with tend to be pretty much the nicest people in the world. But then I guess you'd expect that. As an aside, most volunteers I've met seem to volunteer for at least two different charities. So be warned, it can be addictive!


Think about causes that interest you, and that you might be able to get involved with. Do you love animals? Conisder getting in touch with a local dogs' home, Dogs Trust or Cats Protection. Do you feel strongly about the welfare of children? Get in touch with Childine. Or, if you want to provide emotional support to people in their darkest hour, when they have nowhere else to turn, then consider the Samaritans. Although I do appreciate that it isn't for everyone. It can be fairly hard going but, ultimately, it's the most rewarding thing I've ever done. There are, quite literally, thousands of charities just crying out for more help from lovely volunteers so there's bound to be one to suit you.

If you've got any questions and you think I might be able to answer them then feel free to send an email my way. I'm not an expert by any means but I'll happily answer any questions about my experiences in the wonderful world of volunteering!