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Author Liz Smart
Category Adult Social Care
Resource type Blog
Publishing body Pernicious Anaemia Society

The Importance of Volunteering

The importance of Volunteering

What is a Volunteer?

A volunteer is someone who dedicates their time and effort to a cause or organization without expecting financial compensation. They are essentially unpaid helpers who contribute their skills and labour for the benefit of others or a particular cause. Volunteering can be done for a variety of organizations, including:

  • Charities: These organisations work on social issues like poverty, homelessness, or animal welfare.
  • Non-profit organizations: These groups focus on a variety of causes, such as the environment, education, or healthcare.
  • Community groups: These organizations work to improve neighbourhoods and local communities.

There are many different ways to volunteer, so you can find an opportunity that fits your interests and skills. Here are some examples of volunteer activities:

  • Serving meals at a soup kitchen
  • Tutoring children
  • Walking dogs at an animal shelter
  • Cleaning up a park
  • Helping with fundraising, supporting or running events
  • Being a trustee (a voluntary role with legal responsibility for a charity)
  • Campaigning
  • Giving advice, guidance or information
  • Administrative support.

Why are volunteers so important generally?

Volunteers are the backbone of many essential services and initiatives in society. Their contributions hold value in a number of ways:

  • Supporting Communities: Volunteers fill gaps in social services, education, healthcare, and environmental protection that governments or paid staff might not be able to fully address. They provide companionship to the elderly, tutor children, clean parks, and organize community events.
  • Strengthening Social Bonds: Volunteering brings people together from different backgrounds, fostering empathy, understanding, and a sense of community. This social connection strengthens the community as a whole and creates a more supportive environment.
  • Personal Growth: Volunteering isn’t just about helping others; it benefits the volunteers themselves. It provides opportunities to learn new skills, gain experience, and build confidence. It can also combat loneliness and provide a sense of purpose, especially for retirees or those going through life transitions.
  • Boost Well being: Helping others has been shown to improve mental and physical health. Volunteering can reduce stress, increase happiness, and give you a sense of purpose.
  • Economic Impact: The value of volunteer work can be measured in financial terms. The hours they contribute translate to a significant cost saving for organizations and allows them to offer services that might not otherwise be affordable.

Overall, volunteers are a powerful force for positive change. They make our communities stronger, more vibrant, and more caring places to live.

Why are volunteers so useful to small charities like PAS?:

They help make best use of our limited resources, reduce the cost of running the organisation

What our volunteers do:

They help PAS run the management committee, the trustees, the helpline staff and support groups. There are many reasons why you might find volunteering with PAS to be a rewarding experience.

Here are some personal benefits to consider:

  • Make a Difference: You’ll be directly contributing to a cause you care about, develop new skills or gain experience in a particular field. This can be valuable for your personal and professional development. Seeing the impact of your efforts can be incredibly motivating.
  • Learn more about Pernicious Anaemia: you may not know much about Pernicious Anaemia so you have an opportunity to develop your knowledge about the condition
  • Explore Careers: Volunteering with PAS can be a good way to test the waters of a particular career path before committing to paid work.
  • Learn and Grow: Volunteering often involves opportunities to develop new skills or gain experience in a particular area such as administration or I.T. as well as meeting or communicating with our members
  • Useful for developing your CV: As well as helping to equip you with the skills that many companies look for in staff, volunteering can give you the opportunity to hone a range of important workplace attributes, including communication, teamwork and using your initiative.
  • Improve employment chances: the best way to get a new job is often through experience and the right volunteering opportunity is a rewarding way to achieve this. In certain sectors such as health or social care volunteering may even be considered a prerequisite. By demonstrating that you take part in meaningful activities in your spare time you will show an employer that you are a well-rounded person with some interesting life experience.
  • Volunteering is a great way of standing out from the crowd. PAS is well aware that many people volunteer to gain experience so don’t be afraid to be honest about your motives and use volunteering as a stepping stone to further your career.
  • Social Connection: Volunteering can be a great way to meet new people who share your interests and values. It can help you combat loneliness and build a stronger sense of community.
  • Increase your social skills: Some people are naturally outgoing, others are shy and have a hard time meeting new people. Volunteering with PAS gives you the opportunity to practice and develop your social skills e.g. within our support groups, meeting regularly with a group of people with common interests.
  • Making new friends: Sometimes life changes leave us a little isolated. Maybe you’ve recently moved to a new area. Perhaps you’ve lost a partner or you might just have lost touch with people as circumstances change. Volunteering with local support groups can reconnect you with your community and helps create new friendships that keep loneliness at bay.
  • If you have limited mobility or unable to travel far: If you have a good knowledge of Pernicious Anaemia and a good listener you may want to volunteer from home on our Helpline. Be a part of a small committed team answering the helpline: listening to people’s concerns and providing a friendly supportive ear. We route the calls to your mobile or landline at pre-arranged times so you can help from anywhere in the UK. You will get training, ongoing support from the team and you will have access to a manual that you can refer to.
  • Giving something back: Maybe you’ve benefited from volunteering services at some time in your life, or you’ve recently had first-hand experience of the support PAS can offer. Perhaps you just feel like you’ve been fortunate, and you’d like to share that with others. Volunteering gives you that opportunity to ‘pay it forward’ or to give something back.
  • Give PAS the benefit of your experience: You may suffer with pernicious anaemia yourself and developed knowledge and expertise on the condition that you can share; you may have been employed/are employed in the health service and have developed knowledge on pernicious anaemia. You may have other skills e.g. in I.T., working with other charities, business experience and many other skills that can help.

How would you like to volunteer? Things to consider:
Do you prefer to work alone or as part of a team?
Better behind the scenes or prefer to take a more visible role?
How much time are you willing to commit?

As well as helping others, volunteering has been shown to improve volunteers’ well being . Ultimately, the decision to volunteer is a personal one. But if you’re looking for a way to make a positive impact, learn new skills, and meet great people, then volunteering with our charity is a fantastic option. Training is provided as required.