Health and Wellbeing

Volunteering For You

Last week was Student Volunteering Week, which celebrated and showcased the amazing voluntary work of student volunteers.

It’s well known that voluntary work has huge benefits for the projects and communities that volunteers work with, but there are also advantages for the volunteers themselves.

Volunteering activity can have clear links with the Five Ways to Wellbeing, which are simple actions that you can build into your daily life which evidence suggests can help you feel happier, more positive and more able to cope with the challenges of life.

  1. Connect

Volunteering is often a social activity that allows you to connect with others (community members, clients, other volunteers etc) while you’re volunteering, which can build a sense of belonging and self-worth. It might also help you to expend your social circle and meet people that you wouldn’t have met otherwise, which will build your support network and enrich your life

  1. Be active

A lot of volunteer roles can involve physical activity, such as working on a community garden or going out and speaking to people in their homes. Even if the role itself isn’t active, it can be an opportunity to get up and out of the house – a little physical activity can have a big effect on our wellbeing

  1. Take notice

Often, volunteering allows us to gain new experiences or insights that we haven’t had before. Being curious, taking notice and reflecting on these experiences help us to appreciate what matters most to us

  1. Keep learning

Volunteering is a great way to learn new skills and gain new knowledge; it might be through specific training or awareness that we pick up along the way. Learning new things makes us more confident, as well as being potentially fun and useful for the future

  1. Give

This one is pretty obvious! Volunteering, by definition, involves giving our time to do something that aims to benefit the environment or other people. Helping and working with others can give us a sense of purpose and feelings of self-worth, and giving to and co-operating with others can stimulate the brain to create positive feelings

So, volunteering might be a great thing to do for other people, but it turns out that it can also be pretty good for us too!

If you’re interested in finding out about volunteering opportunities then check out the Students’ Union (at the moment they’re looking for Volunteer Community Organisers!), the Careers and Employability Centre, or local websites like Community Base and Community Works