Why volunteering really does matter

This article written by Janet Miles has been republished from the Chapel St Community Fund website.

This week, it’s the Wandsworth Volunteering Fair. Organised by Volunteering Wandsworth, it’s a great way for people to find out more about the various volunteering opportunities in their community. But what impact does volunteering have? Ben Richardson, Volunteering Development Coordinator for Volunteering Wandsworth shared some thoughts with us.

What most inspires you about volunteering in today’s society?

People are so passionate about volunteering and making a difference in their community. Their sense of achievement and pride is amazing.

What does Volunteering Wandsworth exist to do?

At Volunteering Wandsworth, it’s our job to inspire and support volunteering in the borough. There are all sorts of community needs and opportunities with which to get involved. We work to match up people that want to volunteer with the organisations and opportunities that suit their skills, experience and abilities. We also support organisations with their volunteer management to ensure they are running an effective programme so that everyone has a positive experience.

How does Volunteering Wandsworth help communities and community groups?

In every community, there are a variety of needs that can impact people of all ages. By finding volunteers for local projects and organisations, we are able to support local responses to local issues. That’s an exciting thing to be able to do.

Usually, organisations that are trying to make a difference in their community don’t always have the staff and resources they need to do it. By finding volunteers, with a variety of skills and experiences, charitable and voluntary groups can achieve even more than they otherwise could.

Volunteering helps people find employment

There are lots of talented and experienced people out there. In times of economic cut backs, we’ve seen lots of capable people struggling to find work. But through volunteering, people have can create routes back to work or change career. Whether it’s by networking with people in a new field, gaining new experiences, or ensuring there are no gaps on their CVs, volunteering provides all sorts of returns for people.

One volunteer wrote: ‘It really feels great to do something useful. I feel much more involved in the working world and it has given me the confidence to start applying for jobs, and now I have something current to add to my CV. I would recommend volunteering as a positive thing to do, as a lot of activities wouldn’t happen if people didn’t volunteer.

Volunteering Wandsworth supports the volunteering opportunities Chapel St’s MumPlusMum project, and other charities.