Every month an estimated 14.2 million people in the UK formally volunteer, improving our communities, supporting others, and together making a phenomenal contribution to the country’s economy. Volunteer’s Week is a national annual campaign to celebrate the difference volunteers make and thank them for their contributions.
At Step Together, we believe in the power of voluntary work to transform lives. Our projects focus not just on the hugely valuable work that is done by volunteers, but on the impact volunteering has on the individual who volunteers.
Throughout Volunteers Week, we will be celebrating the positive benefits that volunteering brings for our clients and sharing some of their incredible stories and achievements. Make sure you follow us on Facebook and Twitter to find out more and join the conversation.
There is wealth of research showing that volunteering improves physical and mental health, creates stronger personal networks and increases life satisfaction. However, not everyone gets the opportunity to be involved and feel the benefits of volunteering. In general, those living in deprived areas are less likely to volunteer than those in the least deprived.
As well as our other ongoing programmes, earlier this year we started a new project in Bristol supporting disadvantaged young people to take positive action to change their lives and the lives of others through tailored volunteering opportunities. We support young people like Jason.
Jason is a young carer. He looks after both of his parents as well as helping to care for a younger sibling. He has also been a victim of violence and abuse.
When Jason met Sheri from Step Together he was enormously lacking in confidence. It didn’t take long for Sheri to see that Jason had a great passion for bikes and she set about to find a related volunteering opportunity.
A local charity, who rented bikes in the community, was interested in having a volunteer to help with bicycle maintenance. Although too shy to go on his own, Sheri went along with Jason to support him and he soon started volunteering every week. Jason has since been offered a place on a mechanics course at college and he believes that this was because of his volunteer work.
“Volunteering has really benefitted me in so many ways. It has helped me with finding a direction, all doors seem to be opening now. I’ve met new people and it’s given me lots of experience. When I met Sheri, it was the first time anyone has been able to explain the choices I’ve got”
Volunteering is a great first step for young people who are not ready for employment and need a more supportive environment to develop skills and personal attributes. At Step Together, we work with local charities and organisations to develop unique volunteering opportunities that appeal to young people for a cause that they feel passionate about. By doing this, charities can benefit in way they perhaps hadn’t thought of and young people are able to make a real contribution to the community, whilst developing their own skills, confidence and self-esteem.
“I am a different person after volunteering. I have more confidence now but I wouldn’t have been able to volunteer without support from Step Together”.
This Volunteers Week, we are celebrating the power of volunteering to transform lives and the incredible contribution our clients make to hundreds of local charities in their communities.
Help us to support more vulnerable people find a better future through volunteering. Find out how you can get involved!