Could volunteering help improve our wellbeing?

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December 16, 2021

Could volunteering help improve our wellbeing?

With Boris Johnson’s recent plea for volunteers to assist with the Covid 19 booster program, never have volunteers been so crucial to local communities and society as a whole. But why do so many people choose to freely give up their hard-earned rest time without any financial benefit?

To answer this, I will use my own volunteering experience and give you some context as to why I wanted to volunteer.

Who am I?

My name is Max. I am a middle-aged veteran of the British Army who has spent the last 20 years working as a Mental health and Health and safety trainer and consultant for Ouch Training Team.

I recently had a life-changing illness that completely changed my perspective on life. I contracted meningitis, which then developed into sepsis. The condition left me with chronic kidney damage and amputations on both feet and toes. This experience made me reconsider my priorities and reflect on my state of wellbeing, resulting in me actively seeking new ways to improve my wellbeing.

My journey to volunteering

Earlier this year, while delivering a Mental health first aid course. One of the delegates explained that their organisation had enrolled them on the course to learn new ways of supporting refugees. As I’m sure, you can imagine helping people fleeing from war and persecution into UK society is vitally important work. Still, organisations such as Manchester City of Sanctuary need to supplement their salaried employees with a team of volunteers. Listening to this charity’s fantastic work, I was interested in learning more about what they do and how I could help.

Keen to help in any way I could, I went to my first meeting and was inspired by all the fantastic, welcoming, and generous people who attended. The world can sometimes appear an uncaring, cold, and hostile place. And I must admit I was a little nervous as I approached the door, but from the moment I walked in, the room was filled with positive energy and laughter. I was hooked, and I just knew I had to do whatever I could to help.

I now know that I love volunteering. I am sure that my wellbeing has dramatically improved by taking the leap and supporting such a brilliant organisation. But is there any scientific research to back up how I and many others feel about their volunteering activities?

Scientific evidence

Many studies have been conducted into the benefits of volunteering; the journal Psychology Today cites five important benefits of volunteering:

  1. Volunteers live longer and are healthier.
  2. Volunteering establishes strong relationships.
  3. Volunteering is good for your career.
  4. Volunteering is good for society.
  5. Volunteering gives you a sense of purpose.

5 Reasons Why You Should Volunteer – Psychology Today (2014)

Try Volunteering

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport recently conducted research into UK volunteer rates (2017/18). Their research showed that around 38% of people surveyed had volunteered at least once during that period (Third sector project, 2021). If you believe that volunteering is something you’d like to try? Why not click on the link below and see what opportunities there are in your area. I never knew how fantastic volunteering would be, and perhaps you’ll find it just as amazing as I have.

Max Cassin

Ouch Training Team

0800 389 1314

Find a Volunteer Centre (ncvo.org.uk).

Third Sector Project. (2021) ‘Volunteering statistics: The most likely volunteers in the UK’ available online third sector protect. Accessed 9 December 2021.

Carr, D, C. (2014) ‘ 5 Reasons Why You Should Volunteer‘ in Psychology Today, Available online psychology today Accessed, 10, December 2021.

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