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Some of the most unhappy people I have met are those who would never consider helping others out, and conversely, some of the happiest are those who offer their services free of charge to others regularly.

I wonder what you think of as voluntary work; the first image it conjures up might be working in a charity shop. Interestingly, I think more of us do voluntary work than is commonly realised; for example, do you
support/care for someone in your family, or a friend? In my book, that’s voluntary work. You are probably not paid, and you don’t HAVE to do it, but you choose to. Alternatively, you might help at a local club or society, and even if you regard the activity as a hobby of yours, for example, amateur dramatics, book club or gardening, it involves a form of volunteering, albeit for pleasure.

This week is National Volunteers week – you might be interested in
taking a look at this link: Volunteers’ Week 2023 Launched | Community Relations Council

Of course, there are benefits and downsides to being a volunteer. I list some of the upsides below:

  • Sense of purpose
  • Belonging
  • Mental stimulation
  • Enhances self-esteem
  • Reduces loneliness
  • Enjoyment
  • Leads to further opportunities
  • Benefits other people
  • Brings community connection
  • Boosts physical and mental health
  • Gives us more opportunity to develop skills

On the other hand it:

  • Can be tiring
  • Can be frustrating
  • Takes up time

One of the main things to bear in mind when taking up volunteering is not to overdo it. Start gently and build up gradually. Always schedule in breaks to prevent the possibility of becoming over tired.

Someone who is a voluntary Lived Experience Trustee for a local charity whom I know well recently said to me ‘I find it really enjoyable, Rachel’.
Wise words.

Of interest?
Benefits of Volunteering | Royal Voluntary Service
5 Surprising Benefits Of Volunteering (
Local volunteering opportunities near Houghton Regis, Bedfordshire – Get Volunteering

Rachel Honeyford

I work by providing a safe, confidential space where people can bring their feelings and thoughts and work at their own pace. My aim is to be supportive and compassionate while helping people see aspects of their situation they haven't already considered. I aim to adapt my approach to every unique individual's particular wishes, needs and circumstances. For example, I offer the opportunity to work creatively and/or look at past experiences or how someone thinks and feels in 'the here and now'.

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