Volunteering for Wellbeing

Volunteering for wellbeing has been at the forefront of our minds this week at the Volunteer Centre. Partly this is due to preparing for the Health Festival (which has just begun at time of writing), but partly it is also because of some of the feedback we have been getting recently from volunteers.

Usually, volunteering is thought of as doing something for someone else – an individual or a group – but in the past few weeks it has really been brought home just how much difference being a volunteer can, and does, make to someone’s life.

At its core, volunteering is about meaningful connection. You can interpret that in a number of ways: connecting someone to a service, connecting with a community, connecting with an individual. But however we connect, being connected to someone or something else, something outside of ourselves, is a key component to being well and living well.

Scientists have been studying the importance of good relationships and connections, whether with family and friends or the wider community, for decades. It is the only piece of advice I would ever feel confident in offering to someone struggling with depression, for example, or anxiety, because it has worked for me and I have seen how it has worked for countless hundreds of other people over the years.

One of he really beautiful things about the voluntary, community, and faith sector is that yes, you can volunteer if you wish, to help yourself and others, but you can also be the person being helped by a volunteer, or you can take part in an activity or service as a participant, just joining in. Not quite confident enough to be a participant? No problem, because chances are you can move at your own pace and stay well within your own comfort zone. All of these spaces are welcoming and friendly and built around the idea of helping people to make positive connections.

We would love to be able to help you connect with a better way of living, so if you think that volunteering, or the voluntary sector, might make a difference in your life, get in touch and find out how meaningful connection can improve your wellbeing.