London is one of the greatest cities in the world that offers endless opportunities and combines in a unique way a multitude of cultures and nationalities. One way to make our city even greater is by contributing to the good of its communities through volunteering. Life in London could be very busy, dynamic and time consuming, so it could be difficult to find time to volunteer. However, donating your time could be rewarding and beneficial in a variety of ways. What is more, as a volunteer you could have the opportunity to do something that you really enjoy.
While volunteer activities are usually performed with the core intention of helping others, there is a common wisdom that those who give of themselves also receive. Volunteering is not just about what people do to help others, but volunteers get a lot from the experience, as well. At the Volunteer Center Kensington and Chelsea we believe in the idea that volunteering is rewarding for everyone involved.
Here are some different aspects of volunteering and the benefits it carries:
- Volunteering makes you feel like you have more time - A study conducted from three of the most reputable universities in the US – Harvard, Yale and the University of Pensylvania suggests that those who volunteer their time feel like they have more of it. The research asked two groups of people to spend 30 minutes helping others and compare it with spending 10 minutes on themselves. The results showed those who spent more time helping others felt like they had more time for themselves!
- Volunteering connects you to others and helps you meet new people - Volunteering often involves working with a diverse range of people from all backgrounds and walks of life. Interaction with other people and fellow volunteers can be a rich source of learning and inspiration and an excellent way to develop strong interpersonal skills. Furthermore, volunteering with people who are as passionate about a cause, idea or organisation as you are, is a great way to meet like-minded people. According to HelpGuide.com ‘one of the best ways to make new friends and strengthen existing relationships is to commit to a shared activity together’ (2016).
- Volunteering is good for your mental and physical wellbeing - Doing good for others and the community provides a natural sense of purpose and accomplishment. Volunteering gives a sense of pride and identity and the better you feel about yourself the more likely you are to have a positive view of life. The physical activities involved in certain forms of volunteering can also benefit your health. Furthermore, it has been discovered that those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional abilities and rarely suffer from stress and depression later in life.
- Volunteering helps you develop new skills and enhances your CV – Many volunteering opportunities involve helping organisations in more specific areas such as; admin work, IT, social media, marketing, fundraising, to name just a few. These above could lead to gaining essential skills in areas that can often prove valuable when searching for a job. Moreover, most volunteer opportunities are a great chance to learn skills such as teamwork, communications and relationship building, which are necessities in today’s job market.
- Volunteering makes you happier - researchers at the London School of Economics examined the relationship between volunteering and happiness. They found that the more people volunteered, the happier they were. Volunteering builds empathy strengthens social bonds and makes you smile more — all factors that increase feelings of love and happiness. (Forbes, 2015)
These are only a few of the many benefits of volunteering and you can truly discover even more, when you have dedicated time to a good cause.
Find out more:
If you are looking for a new opportunity, wanting to volunteer in Kensington & Chelsea or would like to enquire about our training sessions, drop in our office Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm or call 0208 8960 3722 to find out more.
Written by Ivelina Adzheva, Social Media Volunteer