Get more involved in your local community

Get more involved in your local community

There are lots of easy ways to support your community, from volunteering with a charity to helping out in a local school, or visiting an elderly neighbour

If you want to start volunteering in your community, it can make a big difference to your life and the lives of other people, no matter where and how you choose to get involved.

What is volunteering?

Volunteering is when you take part in activities to help the work of charities, not-for-profit groups or organisations, or community projects. Volunteering is unpaid and something you choose to sign up to. Volunteering can be flexible too, with varying levels of commitment, from one-off shifts or projects to short or long-term positions.

Anyone can volunteer, from students to full-time workers or retirees, but some volunteering positions could have certain restrictions or require background checks. If this is the case, these will be made clear to you before you take on any voluntary work.

What kind of volunteering can I do?

If you’re interested in helping out in your community, it’s important to find a volunteering opportunity that’s right for you. Work out how much time you can give to volunteering and do some research into the different causes that operate in your area to see what interests you the most.

Every year, charities and not-for-profit organisations throughout the UK recruit thousands of volunteers across a huge range of different sectors. Positions can range from mentoring, teaching, supporting in schools, fundraising and administrative support to youth work, sports activities, cleaning up the environment and helping the homeless – there really is something for everyone.

Why is volunteering so beneficial?

Aside from the opportunity to support a cause that you feel strongly about – and make a real difference to your community – volunteering can have a number of other benefits.

It’s a great way to gain practical experience, learn new things, develop interests, meet different people and build confidence and social skills. This is especially valuable if you’re starting your career or looking for a new job, as voluntary work can make your CV stand out from the crowd. And, as well as being very rewarding, it can be a lot of fun too!

How do I find out more?

There are lots of ways to find a volunteering position that suits you.

You can contact your local volunteer centre to find out about the different not-for-profit groups or community projects in your area, and what positions are available. The National Council For Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) provides information about volunteer centres across the UK.

Searching on an online database is also a good way to find opportunities, as you can narrow it down by activity or interest and location. Do-it or CharityJOB have lots of positions to choose from.

You can also find more localised information at the NCVO, Volunteer Scotland, Volunteering Wales, the Association of Jersey Charities, the Association of Guernsey Charities or Volunteering Matters.

You might also find information closer to home, such as in local council magazines, or even by asking your local school, council or in your local library. Some large supermarkets have boards for local activity information too.

What else can I do to help?

If you aren’t able to volunteer at this moment in time, or if you know a great local not-for-profit organisation, as a member of Royal London you can help your community by nominating a cause to receive funding from the Royal London Foundation. The Foundation offers an award of £5,000 to support the core work of community groups nominated by you. Nominations will reopen again in April 2018, but in the meantime you can find more information here, or watch our video to see how members’ nominations helped not-for-profit organisations in 2017.

The Silver Line

Here at Royal London we think it’s important for businesses to support the communities where they operate and work with local charitable partners. To align with our theme of supporting people with a chronic or long-term condition, each of our offices has a local charity partner, voted for by our people. We’ve also partnered with The Silver Line across all of our offices to volunteer.

The Silver Line operates the only confidential, free helpline for older people across the UK. It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The organisation also offers telephone and letter friendship schemes, where volunteers are carefully matched with older people based on their interests to provide invaluable, regular support.

If you want to find out more about The Silver Line, or how to get involved, visit www.thesilverline.org.uk or call 020 3793 9182.


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