The Power of Thinking Local
We should all consider becoming more involved with our local community; social connections, a sense of place, and having a voice in local decision-making all lead to an improvement in our environment as well as our personal wellbeing. We take you through the reasons to reach out, and the best ways to do so.
Loneliness and social isolation can have a huge impact on our mental health, and finding local connections can help buffer against an over-reliance on social media. Our local areas are bursting with a tonne of opportunities to get involved with, so even if you're lucky enough to not suffer from loneliness, you may be in a position to help others who do.
Consider your passion, and look for opportunities in the community that allow you to use it. Is it art? Dance? Teaching? Search for volunteering opportunities that include your interests, whether they're aimed at elderly people suffering from loneliness, or young people who need a reliable mentor. Volunteering doesn't have to be limited to indoor activities; if you prefer spending your free time outdoors, why not volunteer at a local football training session for children with special needs? Once you've narrowed down your passions, begin scouring local networks to find relevant roles.
Before signing up you need to decide on a few other factors. How many hours a week can you volunteer? Don't stretch yourself beyond what's possible, and be realistic in offering what you think is a sustainable amount of time. Are you looking for roles near work or home? On your own or as part of a group?
It's worth delving into some online research to search for local opportunities, and we've scoured the web for some resources to get you started:
National Council for Voluntary Organisations is the best place to start your search. They provide a tool that allows you to find your local voluntary action group - usually working closely with your local council. The local group will list a wide range of opportunities in your local community where you can give a portion of your time.
Neighbourly provide a directory of local charities, community groups and organisations that you may be able to offer your volunteering time to. The location-based search makes this easy.
Volunteering Matters support 85,000 volunteers nationally in community programmes.
If you're unable to commit time in-person, there are still a range of ways you could increase your connectedness virtually. The United Nations provide an excellent Online Volunteering service that aims to connect skilled individuals with not-for-profit, eligible organisations.
Volunteering should be fun, fulfilling, and a fantastic learning experience for everyone involved. If you have any suggestions on how best to be active in your community, message us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts.