The life-changing work of the voluntary groups, which belong to the alliance would be impossible without the army of volunteers who give their time for free to help others.
Volunteering has the following seven benefits
1. Reduce Stress
Meaningful connection can take our mind off our worries when we put our attention on someone or something else. The richer the experience, the more we feel satisfied with giving of our time and talents, and that results in improved mood and less stress.
2. Combats Depression
Volunteering can keep the mind distracted from a destructive habit like negative thinking or being overly critical (especially of oneself). It can also increase motivation by providing a sense of accomplishment. We think, “If I can do this, what else is possible?”
3. Prevents Feelings of Isolation
While volunteering, we can also make new friends growing our social network and possibly even our professional one. Picking an activity that we enjoy gives us a higher chance of meeting people who share our values and worldview. Like-minded, like-hearted people come together over common interests. Whether it’s building a community garden, campaigning for a specific political movement or giving tours at a museum, the key is to show up with some consistency and warmly introduce ourselves. It’s possible to create friendships that can last long after the volunteering ends. And, especially for those of us who are naturally more introverted, a volunteer activity can help break the ice while helping others.
4. Increases Confidence
Some volunteering activities require learning new skills. Gaining a new ability coupled with being in an unfamiliar environment can provide mental stimulation that we would otherwise not experience. Also, in growing our skillset to make a difference for others, we can gain a sense of pride and identity, which can lead to having a more positive view of oneself.
5. Gives a sense of purpose and meaning
Regardless of our age, whether we are still in our prime income-earning years or in retired, volunteering can give meaning, purpose, and fulfilment in ways different from what we do or have done for work. The willingness to do what’s needed in the moment no matter how humbling the task can put things in perspective and help grow compassion for others while expanding our mids and worldview.
6. Ignites Passion
Volunteering is also a fun way to explore different interests or even perhaps work alongside a master. It can be an energising escape from your daily routine especially if you sit in front of a computer all day and long to be more active and in the outdoors.
7. Makes you happy
Research shows that feel-good hormones and brain activity spike during volunteer activities. Humans are designed to be in a community, serving one another. It’s impossible not to impact a community when you volunteer. Just being there and doing whatever is needed is contributing to the greater whole. Volunteering makes the world a better place by aiding a community in need and helping others provides immense pleasure.
The power of volunteering
"Volunteering as a Befriender for Dorset Mind is such a rewarding experience. The people I have been working with have already grown in confidence and developed new strategies for coping with challenges."
"Befriending has added something very precious to my life, it is a rewarding and enriching experience to connect with others in a way that helps them with their wellbeing."
"I love volunteering at the Gap project. I'm meeting new people, enjoying my time out in the fresh air, and learning a lot about how to grow plants! The reason I wanted to volunteer at the Gap project is because I recognise that it is a great, safe and friendly place to go for people who are struggling with their mental health."
"It gives me a feeling of well-being, if I can do good and help someone else it makes me feel happy" - Simon
Bournemouth Church Housing Association
"The project has allowed me to become involved in something that has benefitted myself and peers, using skills I know to pass to others. I have learnt new skills, which have been a great deal of support for me, I am very happy to be part of the project."
Bournemouth Churches Housing Association