The Benefits Of Volunteering Locally
The phrase ‘student volunteer’ immediately conjures up images of globe-trotting, philanthropic backpackers. But if it’s something new, challenging and rewarding you’re looking for, you needn’t go so far as another country. Why not consider volunteering closer to home?
Before you go booking your next flight out of here, have a read of the benefits of giving your time locally.
If student volunteering conjures up a certain image, then so too does the local one. By now you’re probably thinking of charity shop assistants or Scout Leaders. While these roles may suit some, don’t be put off if you think neither is for you. There’s so much else out there.
Fancy teaching after that hard-earned degree? Well, there’s a volunteer role to help with that. Libraries regularly look for volunteers to provide adult learning and reading groups for children. However, if you’re just looking for a new challenge or to try something different then volunteer work may still be the answer. It can involve recruitment, administration, marketing, charity promotion, work with the elderly and so much more.
A trip to your local volunteer centre is a great way to get started. They’ll sit you down with tea and biscuits then get chatting about what kind of work you want to do. Haven’t got the time for that? Well, just visit their website or the Royal Voluntary Service as these will list the current positions available near you.
If you’re curious about a career in this sector, volunteer work can be a great way to find out more. Big charities such as Cancer Research UK, Barnardos and The Red Cross offer a range of volunteer roles. They also often have work placements and internships as well.
If it’s something you find you enjoy then these three also run yearly graduate schemes. These will be competitive but doing the volunteer work first is a great way to get started.
The costs for volunteering abroad can be huge, mostly thanks to flights, insurance, buying the right gear and the price of the volunteering itself. By contrast, local volunteer work comes at barely any cost.
In fact, most organisations will cover things like travel expenses and might even provide meals. Although this will depend on who you volunteer with and what you are doing, a half hour journey up the road will be a lot cheaper than flying to the other side of the world!
You’ll meet people
If a career in this sector is something you want to pursue then a local volunteer role will introduce you to professionals. You’ll build contacts and learn from those around you.
However, volunteer work doesn’t have to be so career-focused.
You’ll meet a whole variety of people all of different ages who have similar interests to you. It’ll show you the world is bigger than books, uni and work!
Okay, so this one might be a bit obvious but it’s also one of the main benefits of local volunteer work. From the straightforward communication, team working and social skills, to things more specific like working with kids, the skills to be gained from volunteering at home are varied and extensive. This is great to add to your CV and might even help you get employment.
What’s not to like about that?
Louise Baillie is a History graduate with a subtle love for writing. Her blog, which covers a whole variety of topics, can be found here.