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Volunteering is often described as the art of giving your time and efforts for little or no reward. The reality of volunteering is, however, far from it; the personal and developmental benefits and opportunities that can be gained through volunteering cannot be emphasised enough.
The beauty of volunteering is that it can be what you want it to be. You don’t have to give up large chunks of your spare time, or make huge commitments – it may be that you have one or two hours per week that you want to offer. Or it may be you feel ready to give more time than that. Volunteering is a commitment, but ultimately can fit around your needs.
Recent statistics estimated that some 21 million people in the UK give some time at some point in the year to volunteer – many of them without even knowing it – making a huge contribution to the economy in Great Britain.
The answer, really, is anyone who wants to and feels they have time to offer to a worthwhile cause in their community.
VANL has successfully helped hundreds of people of ranging circumstances find one or more volunteering placement that suits their own individual requirements in terms of skills, employment and other pending needs or wants.
People that VANL has helped into volunteering include unemployed people, employed people, young people, people with disabilities and support needs, students, school children, retired people, amongst other people.
And of course, you can too! Volunteering is one of the most inclusive activities in our society and it is open to anyone who wants to help out.
There is a wide and diverse range of volunteering opportunities available across North Lanarkshire
These include advice giving, caring, helping adults read and write, volunteer driving, administration, environmental and conservation work, working with children and young people, helping people with physical and learning disabilities, volunteer mentoring and befriending, and many more general and specific opportunities. Volunteering opportunities also exist within schools and colleges across the local area.
The opportunities available are provided by local volunteer-involving organisations and charities that recruit new helpers by contacting VANL.
For further information about the types of volunteering you can do, you can view a national database of volunteering opportunities online by visiting Volunteer Scotland at www.volunteerscotland.org.uk
People volunteer for all kinds of reasons, both to help themselves and other people, In fact, most people who do volunteer achieve both of these things at the same time with great success.
Examples of why people volunteer include things like to use their spare time well, to help other people, to meet new people and to get involved in helping their community or simply just to gain another interest.
Some have more specific goals like to gain a new skill, to improve chances to gaining employment or entry into further education, while others volunteer because it is part of their values or beliefs.
Whatever the reason for first starting to volunteer, most who do volunteer soon find an added motivation to keep volunteering – the great enjoyment they gain from being involved and giving their time.
In North Lanarkshire, literally hundreds of volunteering opportunities are available across all the towns and communities of the region.
The scene of your volunteering might be within a local group in a community centre in your local area, or in within a retail shop in the town centre, or outdoors in a community park, in your school, or something totally different. There is great diversity in surroundings that your volunteering might take place in.
A good first step, one which you may already have made, is to contact Voluntary Action North Lanarkshire if you wish to volunteer in your local area.
By doing this, you will have the chance to discuss the type of volunteering work you might be interested in, what is available in your local area, and ask any questions about becoming involved in volunteering work, with a Volunteer Development Adviser. Remember that all VANL staff are employed on the principle that they believe in the values of volunteering and that they will help you as much as they can.
From there your adviser can help you find a suitable volunteering placement in your local area that involves the kind of things you are interested in. You can also drop in and have a chat with one of our advisers at VANL’s south office in Wishaw.
For more information about becoming involved in volunteering, please contact Voluntary Action North Lanarkshire on 01698 358866, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.