There are so many different types of charities you can volunteer with and so many different ways to get involved. Here are some ideas to get you thinking.
For a lot of people, they are looking for something in their local community that they can get involved with. A great place to start then is to check out your local council website which usually has a page dedicated to charities and will list all the charities registered in your area. That way you have a realistic expectation of what is available to you locally and you might come a cross a charity that you hadn’t heard of before or hadn’t crossed your mind.
LOVE WORKING WITH KIDS?
If you enjoy working with children there are a number of different ways you can volunteer:
— Residential camps: this will usually involve giving up a long weekend or a week each year to volunteer delivering residential holidays for children. I’ve spent years volunteering with the residential holiday charity called Superweeks, they are always a lot of fun and I love seeing how much children get out of it. Another charity you can check out is CHICKS or YAT who both work with disadvantaged children.
— Local Youth Club: Help make a positive influence on the children in your local area. Most likely your nearby schools or churches will have a weekly youth club so contacting them is a good place to start.
— Adventure clubs: Like being outdoors? Children can gain a great deal from adventure training and expeditions. There are some great organisations that are alwasy looking for volunteers such as the Army Cadet Force, Scouts or Duke of Edinburgh Award
— Mentoring: Search your local area to see if there are any mentoring or befriending schemes. Many are with children going through a hard time at school or at home.
DON’T MIND LONG BUSY EVENT DAYS?
Charities put on events to raise money and awareness and are often looking for volunteers. There are a number of different ways you can help out:
— Ad Hoc: Charities might call on people to help do a bucket collection, run a stall at a fairor cheer on runners. If committing to volunteering every week is too much then this is a way you can help out occasionally when you are free. Almost all charities look for helpers like this so if there is one you are attached to then send them an email offering your services. If your stuck for ideas though check out Do-It a great website listing all sorts of volunteering opportunities.
— Festivals: Volunteering for a festival is a great way to get a free ticket in return for helping a charity do some profile raising or helping the environement through tasks like litter picking. If your interested check out Oxfam or Water Aid
WANT TO WORK WITH PEOPLE?
This could work for you if you enjoy working with people and want to have a face-to-face role.
— Elderly: There are numerous elderly charities working to support people feeling isolated and lonely or who are perhaps suffering from age related illnesses. One of the biggest is Age UK who run a weekly telephone befriending scheme and often have cafe meet ups for dementia suffers where an extra pair of hands always comes in handy.
— Sight & Hearing: Could you assist someone who is blind or deaf? This could be as little as offering assistance for a couple of hours a week taking a blind person on a trip until a they feel confident enough to do it themselves. Check out Guide Dogs or RNIB.
HAVE A PARTICUALR SKILL TO OFFER?
There are lots of charities who would relish volunteers willing to work in the office doing admin tasks or perhaps during busy times answering phone calls or helping with mail-outs. Have a think if you have a particular skill to offer though as this may make your time even more valuable to the charity such as:
— Photography or Filmmaking Skills: most charities are looking for images and videos they can use for marketing. Or maybe your local youth group would relish the opportunity to have someone come in and teach camera skills for an evening. Quite often charities advertise these roles on Gumtree.
— Sailing or Boat Experience: Although you don’t need these to volunteer for the RNLI it is definitely a bonus
CARE ABOUT ANIMALS & THE ENVIRONMENT?
If you enjoy being around animals or care for the environment then there are a number of charities that you can get involved with.
— Outdoor Gym: There are lots of charities and projects now offering outdoor gyms. The concept is you give your time to help do something good for the environment or local area, such as gardening in a park or planting trees, and in return you get fit for free!
— Shelters: You could see if your nearest dog, cat or animal shelter needs help looking after the animals or taking them for walks.
— Fostering: If you have the space and time you could look at dog or cat fostering. That could be looking after a Guide Dog during the early years of training or working with RSPCA or Oldies to foster animals who need rehoming or while their owners are too ill to look after them
— National Trust: are often looking for help to maintain paths, rebuild walls and take part in other initiatives to look after the environment.
JUST WANT SOMETHING CASUAL?
It is not a problem if you don’t have the time or don’t feel like committing regularly to volunteering or even one charity. There are a number of ways to look for one off and ad hoc volunteering opportunities.