Volunteering and local projects

Let’s face it, life is busy and it’s not easy to find time to volunteer, but if we think about it volunteering is not only about what we can do for others  it’s also about the benefits we would gain from it.

The benefits of volunteering are huge not only to you and the organisation you’re involved in but to your family, friends and your community.  Through volunteering you will get to know new people who share the same interests, help you learn and develop news skills, advance a career or starting a new one and help you reach out to your community.  Volunteering is also invaluable for your mental health, physical health and self-confidence.  It is not only restricted to you; you can also get the whole family involved in a community project where the children would get active and feel proud to do good things in their community.

Why volunteering?

  • Volunteering connects you with others
    The best way to make new friends is by doing things together.  If you are new to your neighbourhood, volunteering is a great way to connect you with others.  It also strengthen the existing ties to your community and connects you to people with common interests.
  • Volunteering develops your social and interpersonal skills
    Some people are naturally outgoing, and some of us are shy and find it difficult to meet new people. Volunteering provides the opportunity to practice and develop your social skills.  You can always start reaching out to those with the same interest as you and then you can widen your network.
  • Improving your community
    By volunteering in your neighbourhood, you are making your locality a better place. Whether you’re helping an elderly neighbour, cleaning the street, leading a neighbourhood planning project or whatever you might be doing, you are making a difference and making your neighbour a desirable place.
  • Volunteering increases your confidence
    While you’re doing good things for others you will provide a sense of pride and accomplishment that would boost your self-confidence, self-esteem and life satisfaction. The better you feel about yourself the more likely you will have a positive view of your life and future goals.
  • Volunteering provides a sense of drive and purpose and fights depression
    People who are going through challenging times will find it refreshing to be involved in a community project or being part of local activity.  Volunteering to help others can help volunteers deflect their mind from their own worries and keep them mentally motivated and help them find new meaning and purpose to life.
  • Volunteering helps you stay fit 
    Some volunteering activities, such as an environmental project in open spaces, can be good for any individual but especially for the older citizens.  Some studies found that volunteers have lower mortality rate than those who have never volunteered, studies also found that volunteering reduces the symptoms of chronic pain and heart disease.
  • Volunteering can provide career experience 
    With volunteering you have a chance to try out a new career or gain new experiences in a new line of work without making a long time commitment.  It also provides an opportunity to build on and develop your existing skills and expertise such as public speaking, communication, marketing skills and others.

How to volunteer?

To get started, think about what you want to do or what you want to achieve by volunteering your time, for example,

  • Do you want to make it better around where you live?
  • Do you want to meet new people the same as you are or even from different background?
  • Do you want offer your professional expertise?
  • Do you want to be physically active?
  • Do you want to try a new line of work?
  • Do you want to improve your skills and build on them?
  • Do want to do more with your interest and hobbies?

In short, knowing what you want to get out of it is a very important first step. If you are still not sure what you want to achieve but you have the will to volunteer get in touch with Voluntary Action Coventry or your local community centre.

Where to volunteer?

  • Voluntary Action Coventry – VAC has a volunteering centre for Coventry for both volunteers and organisations.  VAC supports and develops voluntary and community activity in Coventry.
  • CUSU – Coventry University Student Union is a student led, active organisation that engages with, empowers and represents the diverse student population of Coventry University.
  • Time Union, Coventry – A catalyst for people to connect through and exchange their time, skills, and passions.
  • Do it – Do it, is the UK’s national volunteering database.
  • Project dirt – Project Dirt is the UK’s most active network connecting and resourcing community projects. At the moment there are no projects in Coventry on project dirt, so yours could be the first one of many. You can start your own project now.